The Ballad of Jed Clampett

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"The Ballad of Jed Clampett"
Single by Flatt and Scruggs
from the album Hard Travelin' featuring the Ballad of Jed Clampett
B-side "Coal Loadin' Johnny"
Released November 26, 1962
Genre Bluegrass
Label Columbia
Writer(s) Paul Henning
Producer(s) Don Law
Frank Jones
Flatt and Scruggs singles chronology
"The Legend of the Johnson Boys"
(1962)
"The Ballad of Jed Clampett"
(1962)
"Pearl Pearl Pearl"
(1963)

"The Ballad of Jed Clampett" was the theme song for The Beverly Hillbillies TV show and movie, providing the back story for the series. The song was written and composed by Paul Henning, and sung by Jerry Scoggins, who was accompanied by bluegrass musicians Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs. When the theme was released as a single, Flatt sang lead vocals instead.

The single version, released to radio and retail sale, merged both the opening and closing lyrics of the theme song from the television series. The first two verses (starting with "Come and listen to a story about a man named Jed" and "Well the first thing you know, old Jed's a millionaire") comprised the opening theme, while the closing theme ("Now it's time to say goodbye to Jed and all his kin ...") served as the third verse. A banjo-led bridge serves as the fill between verses and as the fade-out coda.

Although the first two seasons of The Beverly Hillbillies lapsed into the public domain, "The Ballad of Jed Clampett" did not and is typically edited out of public-domain releases of these episodes.

Charts[edit]

The song spent twenty weeks on the Billboard country singles charts, reaching a peak of number one for three weeks[1] and reached #44 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1962.

Adaptations[edit]

During the original run of The Beverly Hillbillies, special lyrics were written and inserted into the closing theme, advertising regular sponsors such as Kellogg's cereals and Winston cigarettes.

"Weird Al" Yankovic merged the first two stanzas of the Ballad with the instrumentals to the Dire Straits song "Money For Nothing" in his 1989 single "Money for Nothing/Beverly Hillbillies*", which was written for his film UHF.

In the late 1970s, Saturday Night Live did a spoof on the "Beverly Hillbillies," in a sketch about a wealthy family from an oil-rich Mideastern country moving to Southern California. The theme song in the sketch was called, "The Bel-Arabs."

Banjo virtuoso Béla Fleck often plays the Ballad in concert. Fleck also accompanied Scoggins on a re-recording of the song for the 1993 film adaptation of The Beverly Hillbillies.

Country music artist Neal McCoy uses a rap version of the song as part of his "Hillbilly Rap," which also features elements of "The Banana Boat Song" and "Rapper's Delight."

In his 2005 tour, Kid Rock included a sample of the song in the middle of "Hillbilly Stomp."

During the Bill Clinton Presidential administration, Saturday Night Live staged a spoof of the Ballad, substituting Clinton's name for Jed Clampett's and changing the destination from Beverly Hills to the White House.

On August 13, 2009, national broadcaster Q&A featured a spoof version of the song lampooning the leader of the Australian Liberal Party Malcolm Turnbull by Stefan Sojka - Bellevue Hillbilly - making fun of his wealth, his unpopularity as a leader and his admission that he once tried cannabis.

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1962–1963) Peak
position
U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles 1
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 44

Media[edit]

Listen to a part of this song.

Problems playing this file? See media help.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book Of Top 40 Country Hits: 1944-2006, Second edition. Record Research. p. 122. 
Preceded by
"Don't Let Me Cross Over" by Carl Butler and Pearl
"Don't Let Me Cross Over" by Carl Butler and Pearl
Billboard Hot Country Singles number-one single
January 12, 1963
February 2-February 9, 1963
Succeeded by
"Don't Let Me Cross Over" by Carl Butler and Pearl
"Don't Let Me Cross Over" by Carl Butler and Pearl