Bonaparte's Retreat (Pee Wee King song)

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"Bonaparte's Retreat"
Single by Glen Campbell
from the album Houston (I'm Comin' to See You)
B-side "Too Many Mornings"
Released July 15, 1974
Genre Country
Length 2:48
Label Capitol
Songwriter(s) Pee Wee King
Producer(s) Jimmy Bowen
Glen Campbell singles chronology
"Houston (I'm Comin' to See You)"
"Bonaparte's Retreat"
"It's a Sin When You Love Somebody"

"Bonaparte's Retreat" is a song written by American country music artist Pee Wee King. Various versions of the melody themes exist as traditional fiddle tunes dating back to before the turn of the 20th century, and probably well before that. The obvious origin of the title was Napoleon Bonaparte's disastrous retreat from Russia in 1812, and some earlier British folk songs told of that event. But the lyrics of King's version are about dancing and romance, not history.

King's version was released as a single in 1950 and peaked at number 10 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart. Kay Starr recorded the song[1] later in 1950. Her version peaked at number 4 on the Billboard Hot 100. Glen Campbell then covered the song for his 1974 album Houston (I'm Comin' to See You). It was released in July 1974 as the album's second single. Campbell's version peaked at number 3 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart.[2] It also reached number 1 on the RPM Country Tracks chart in Canada.[3] Willie Nelson also covered the song as a bonus track on the reissue of his 1975 concept album Red Headed Stranger. In addition, the song was covered by Michael Nesmith and the Second National Band's album Tantamount to Treason Vol. 1.

On March 23, 2016 it was announced that W. H. Stepp's version of the song, from the 1930s field recordings in Kentucky by Alan Lomax, will be inducted into the Library of Congress's National Recording Registry.[4]

Stepp's version of the song was used as a major component of Aaron Copland's song "Hoe-Down" from the ballet Rodeo, which was used in the Beef. It's What's For Dinner campaign for beef by the National Cattlemen's Association.

Chart performance[edit]

Pee Wee King[edit]

Chart (1950) Peak
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[5] 10

Kay Starr[edit]

Chart (1950) Peak
US Billboard Hot 100[6] 4

Glen Campbell[edit]

Chart (1974) Peak
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[7] 3
US Billboard Hot 100[8] 42
Canadian RPM Country Tracks 1


Preceded by
"I Love My Friend"
by Charlie Rich
RPM Country Tracks
number-one single

October 19, 1974
Succeeded by
"I See the Want To in Your Eyes"
by Conway Twitty