Lyrics to A Boy Named Sue (Live, from San Quentin Prison)
by Johnny Cash

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[edit]Song titleA Boy Named Sue (Live, from San Quentin Prison)
[edit]Artist nameJohnny Cash
[edit]Lyrics languageEnglish
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Cash:I want you to, um, I want you to, to, if you don't mind,
Carl3, I'd like you to stay out and help us on some songs.
Play the guitar.

I'd love to.

Cash:One of the greatest guitar players, as well as songwriters and
singers that I've ever seen. Appreciate a little help on the guitar,

Love to.

Well, my daddy left home when I was three,
And he didn't leave much to ma and me,
Just this old guitar and an empty bottle of booze.
Now, I don't blame him cause he run and hid,
But the meanest thing that he ever did,
Was before he left, he went and named me "Sue."

Well, he must of thought that it was quite a joke.
And it got a lot of laughs from a-lots of folk,
It seems I had to fight my whole life through.
Some gal would giggle and I'd get red,
And some guy'd laugh and I'd bust his head,
I'll tell ya, life ain't easy for a boy named "Sue."

Well, I grew up quick and I grew up mean.
My fist got hard and my wits got keen.
I'd oam from town to town to hide my shame.
But I made a vow to the moon and stars,
That I'd search the honky-tonks and bars,
And kill that man that gimme that awful name.

Well, it was Gatlinburg in mid-July,
And I just hit town and my throat was dry,
I thought I'd stop and have myself a brew.
At an old saloon on a street of mud,
There at a table, dealin' stud,
Sat the dirty, mangy dog that named me "Sue."

Well, I knew that snake was my own sweet dad,
From a worn-out picture that my mother'd had,
And I knew that scar on his cheek and his evil eye.
He was big and bent and gray and old,
Find more similar lyrics on I looked at him and my blood ran cold,
And I said, "My name is 'Sue!' How do you do?
Now you gonna die!!"

Yeah, that's what I told him.

Well, I hit him hard right between the eyes,
And he went down, but to my surprise,
He come up with a knife and cut off a piece of my ear.
But I busted a chair right across his teeth,
And we crashed through the wall and into the street,
Kickin' and a' gougin' in the mud and the blood and the beer.

I tell ya, I've fought tougher men,
But I really can't remember when,
He kicked like a mule and he bit like a crocodile.
I heard him laugh and then I heard him cuss,
An' he went for his gun and I pulled mine first,
He stood there lookin' at me and I saw him smile.

And he said, "Son, this world is rough,
And if a man's gonna make it, he's gotta be tough.
And I knew I wouldn't be there to help ya along.
So I give ya that name and I said goodbye,
I knew you'd have to get tough or die.
And it's the name that helped to make you strong."


He said, "Now you just fought one hell of a fight.
And I know you hate me, and you got the right,
To kill me now, and I wouldn't blame you if you do.
But ya oughtta thank me, before I die,
For the gravel in yer guts and the spit in yer eye,
'Cause I'm the son-of-a-bitch4 that named you, "Sue.'"

Yeah, What could I do? What COULD I do?

I got all choked up and I threw down my gun,
I called him my pa, and he called me his son,
And I come away with a different point of view.
And I think about him, now and then,
Every time I try and every time I win,
And if I ever have a son, I think I'm gonna name him...
Bill or George! Anything damn5 thing but Sue!
I still hate that name!
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Johnny Cash A Boy Named Sue (Live, from San Quentin Prison) Recording details & track overview

Written by: Shel Silverstein{1} Performed by: Johnny Cash Appears on: At San Quentin-1969{2}, This is Johnny Cash-1973, Biggest Hits-1984, The Essential Johnny Cash-1992 & 2002, The Line: Walking with a Legend-2008, et al. {1} Sheldon Alan "Shel" Silverstein (September 25, 1930–May 10, 1999), was an American poet, songwriter, musician, composer, cartoonist, screenwriter and author of children's books. {2} Transcribed from the track on this album. {3} Carl Lee Perkins (April 9, 1932–January 19, 1998), was an American pioneer of rockabilly music, a mix of rhythm and blues and country music, recorded most notably at Sun Records in Memphis, beginning in 1954. An outstanding performer, his touch on rock and roll music is still heard to this day, especially through his fine compositions and guitar playing. His best known song is "Blue Suede Shoes." {4} In the censored version, Cash sings, "...I'm the dirty, mangy dog that named you... {5} In the censored version the word "damn" is left .....MORE.....(all A Boy Named Sue (Live, from San Quentin Prison) track/recording details)

Johnny Cash biography

Johnny Cash, born February 26, 1932, as J. R. Cash, in Kingsland, Arkansas, to Ray (1897-1985) and Carrie (née Rivers) Cash (1904-1991), and raised in Dyess, Arkansas, was an American singer, songwriter, actor, author, and Biblical scholar, who was one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century. Although he is primarily remembered as a country music artist, his songs and sound spanned many other genres including rockabilly and rock and roll, especially early in his career, as well as blues, folk, and gospel. Late in his career, Cash covered songs by several rock artists.

Cash was known for his deep, distinctive bass-baritone voice, for his demeanor and for his dark clothing, which earned him the nickname, "The Man in Black." He traditionally started his concerts by saying, "Hello, I'm Johnny Cash."

Much of Cash's music, especially that of his later career, echoed themes of sorrow, moral tribulation and redemption......MORE.....(full Johnny Cash biography)

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Lyrics to A Boy Named Sue (Live, from San Quentin Prison)
by Johnny Cash

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