Down in the Boondocks (song)

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"Down in the Boondocks"
Single by Billy Joe Royal
from the album Down in the Boondocks
B-side"Oh, What a Night"
GenreCountry, Rock, Beat
LabelColumbia 43305
Songwriter(s)Joe South
Billy Joe Royal singles chronology
"Down in the Boondocks"
"I Knew You When"

"Down in the Boondocks" is a song written by Joe South, with sampling from Gene Pitney's "Twenty Four Hours from Tulsa",[1] and recorded by American artist Billy Joe Royal. It was a hit in 1965, reaching number 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.[2] In the UK, it hit number 38 on the Record Retailer chart.[3] In Canada, the song reached #1 on the RPM Magazine charts, August 9, 1965.[4] The song comes from the album Down in the Boondocks.[5]


The song is sung from the perspective of a self-proclaimed "boy from down in the boondocks." He sings of a girl who lives nearby, for whom he feels love and he steals away with occasionally. The people who live or are born in the boondocks are suggested to be a lower class than those in the city. The girl's father is the singer's boss man, which, along with the social division, prevents him from proclaiming his love and connecting with them, despite the shared feelings (which is the basis for the line "but I don't dare knock on her door/for her daddy is my boss man"). The singer proclaims that "one fine day, I'll find a way, to move from this old shack," presumably to be able to join the higher class members of society and finally be able to date the girl within the public eye.


Session musicians on this recording included Reggie Young on electric guitar, Bill Hullett on acoustic guitar, Sam Levine on horns, Clayton Ivey on piano, Bob Wray on six string bass, and Greg Morrow on drums.

Cover versions[edit]

Penny DeHaven's 1969 version reached No. 37 on the Billboard country chart.[6] The song was covered in 1978 by Kenny Loggins on his Nightwatch album,[7] and twice in 1980, first by Ry Cooder, included it on his album, Borderline[8] and by D.L. Byron, featuring backing vocals by Billy Joel.[9] It was also recorded by Depeche Mode member Martin Gore for his first solo CD Counterfeit E.P. in 1989 but was ultimately left out of the final track listing. In 2012 the band U.S. Girls covered the song on their album Gem. The country vocal group Home Free covered the song for their album Country Evolution. Holy Sons (Emil Amos) covered the song on the album Decline of the West Volumes 1 and 2.


  1. ^ "Sample: Billy Joe Royal 'Down in the Boondocks' Gene Pitney 'Twenty Four Hours From Tulsa'". Who Sampled: Exploring the DNA of Music. Retrieved 2018-05-11.
  2. ^ Billy Joe Royal's Down in the Boondocks' Chart Position Retrieved September 22, 2012.
  3. ^ British Hit Singles & Albums. Guinness World Records, 17th ed 2004.
  4. ^ [1] Retrieved May 25, 2017
  5. ^ Billy Joe Royal, Down in the Boondocks Retrieved September 22, 2012.
  6. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2012). Hot Country Songs 1944 to 2012. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research, Inc. p. 98. ISBN 0-89820-203-5.
  7. ^ Kenny Loggins, Nightwatch Retrieved September 22, 2012.
  8. ^ Ry Cooder, Borderline Retrieved September 22, 2012.
  9. ^ D.L. Byron, "Down in the Boondocks" Retrieved September 22, 2012.

External links[edit]