Geronimo's Cadillac (Michael Martin Murphey song)

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"Geronimo's Cadillac"
Murphey Gerominos single.png
Single by Michael Murphey
from the album Geronimo's Cadillac
B-side "Boy From the Country"
Released July 31, 1972
Format 45 rpm single
Recorded 1972
Genre Country folk
Length 3:21
Label A&M
Songwriter(s)
  • Charles Quarto
  • Michael Murphey
Producer(s) Bob Johnston
Michael Murphey singles chronology
"Geronimo's Cadillac"
(1972)
"Calico Silver"
(1973)
"Geronimo's Cadillac"
(1972)
"Calico Silver"
(1973)

"Geronimo's Cadillac" is a song co-written and recorded by American country music artist Michael Martin Murphey then billed as Michael Murphey being the title cut of his 1972 debut album Geronimo's Cadillac which was an A&M Records release.

Background and impact[edit]

Murphey was inspired to write "Geronimo's Cadillac" by a photograph showing Apache chief Geronimo at the wheel of a luxury roadster: this photograph was reproduced as a drawing on the back album cover of Geronimo's Cadillac and also on the picture sleeve of the single. The July–August 1987 issue of American Songwriter quotes Murphey as saying: "the two images together Geronimo and a Cadillac just struck me as a song title. It was every irony I could ever think of about our culture in two words. Their attempt to make of him what we would define as a civilized person. That was the reason they put him in a Cadillac in the first place. He was actually in jail at the time." The photograph was taken at a show for the US press held June 11, 1905 at a ranch located southwest of Ponca City, Oklahoma: Geronimo, then imprisoned at Fort Sill, is actually posed in a Locomobile rather than a Cadillac.[1]

Released July 31, 1972 as a single which edited the track's original 4:39 length to 3:21 "Geronimo's Cadillac" reached number 37 on the Hot 100 in Billboard magazine.[2] The track also charted in Canada with a peak of number 30 on the Top Singles chart in RPM magazine. "Geronimo's Cadillac" afforded Murphey his sole Hot 100 charting until "Wildfire" on Epic Records reached number 3 in 1975. The success of "Wildfire" caused A&M to re-issue "Geronimo's Cadillac" with a new B-side: "Blessing in Disguise" a track from Murphey's 1973 album Cosmic Cowboy Souvenir, replacing "Boy From the Country." However this re-issue of "Geronimo's Cadillac" did not chart, failing to deflect interest from Epic's follow-up single release to "Wildfire": "Carolina in the Pines", which just fell short of the top 20.

Chart performance[edit]

Original release[edit]

Chart (1972) Peak
position
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 37
Canadian RPM Top Singles 30

Cover versions[edit]

A cover version by Jeff Stevens and the Bullets peaked at number 53 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart in 1987.[3] "Geronimo's Cadillac" has also been recorded by Hoyt Axton, Cher, Claire Hamill, Jacques Kloes, Lost Gonzo Band, Manfred Mann's Earth Band, Dick Gaughan, Mary McCaslin, Chris Leslie and Johnny Rivers. Native Indian singer Bill Miller performs "Geronimo's Cadillac" on his 1992 live album Reservation Road. A wonderfully 'folky' version can be found on Chris Leslie's solo album "Origins". Leslie, a singer-songwriter member of Fairport Convention, usually plays his own songs but his natural affinity with North American Indians draws him to this tale.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Geronimo's Cadillac". Austin Business Computers website. Archived from the original on March 25, 2013. Retrieved January 16, 2013. 
  2. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1996). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits, 6th Edition (Billboard Publications)
  3. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2013). Hot Country Songs 1944–2012. Record Research, Inc. p. 322. ISBN 978-0-89820-203-8.