Memory Lane: ‘The Battle of New Orleans’

Well, I got Newswithviews done, my head is hot, and this is my second attempt to publish this post. *Sigh*

Johnny Horton’s Battle of New Orleans was the No. 1 hit song in 1959. Remember? I heard a snatch of a rap “song” today, “Silent, Violent, livin’ it up in the city,” and the cultural contrast was downright painful. Imagine a song about our country’s history being No. 1 today. If it ever got published at all, Democrats would be apologizing for winning the battle.

Meanwhile, in 5th grade, my friend Craig (who, years later, had a tryout with the Cincinnati Reds) and I  used this song as the basis of a classroom puppet show: we had all been assigned to make papier-mache hand puppets and put on little shows with them. My puppet was named Cheeko, on account of a certain asymmetry in his features. Our two puppets sang this song. It was already so popular, a couple of misshapen puppets couldn’t do much damage to it.

It was a wonderful year in which to be 10 years old.

(Gee, I hope this post works, this time!)

13 comments on “Memory Lane: ‘The Battle of New Orleans’

  1. I remember this song well. That must have been fun doing the puppet show in school. Bet all the kids loved it.

    1. With that song, we couldn’t miss.

      BTW, that tryout Craig had with the Reds–I covered that as a reporter, and there he was in center field: I hadn’t seen him since 5th grade, but I recognized him right away–although I couldn’t believe my eyes at first.

      I wish I could say he made the team, but the Baseball Encyclopedia would prove me wrong.

  2. Now that’s memory lane! Thanks, Lee. And I love your puppet show story. What fun! 🙂

  3. Great memory. That song was played a lot when I was a kid and I loved it. That was one heck of an episode in the history of the US, complete with pirates and all sorts of interesting vignettes. In many ways, this was the point when the US really established itself as a force to be reckoned with.

  4. Yes, Unknowable, it evoked emotions of patriotism whenever we heard
    songs and stories like this. I still feel that way, no matter what the “crowd”
    may think.

  5. “Oh they ran through the briars and they ran through the brambles, and they ran through the forest where a rabbit wouldn’t go….
    they ran so fast that the hounds couldn’t catch ’em.. down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.”

  6. Wow! I remember this so well that I started singing it in my head before I even played the video! Unfortunately, I’m going to keep singing it in my head over and over for the next couple of days, whether I want to or not…. 🙂 What a great song. And no, there’s no way a song like this would be allowed today, alas.

    1. That’s the problem, we need more banjo. Popular music has been overdoing the cowbell for decades; bring back the banjo! 🙂 Actually, it did add a lot to the song.

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