Old Hippie

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"Old Hippie"
Single by The Bellamy Brothers
from the album Howard & David
B-side "Wheels"
Released April 1985
Format 7" single
Recorded March 1985
Genre Country
Length 4:03
Label MCA/Curb 52579
Writer(s) David Bellamy
Producer(s) Emory Gordy, Jr. and Jimmy Bowen
The Bellamy Brothers singles chronology
"I Need More of You"
"Old Hippie"
"Lie to You for Your Love"

"Old Hippie" is a song written by David Bellamy, and recorded by American country music duo The Bellamy Brothers. It was released in April 1985 as the first single from their album Howard & David.

The song reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart in July 1985[1] and No. 1 on the RPM Country Tracks chart in Canada.[2] In June 2014, Rolling Stone magazine ranked "Old Hippie" 95th in their list of the 100 greatest country songs.[3]

Song background[edit]

The title "Old Hippie" refers to the unnamed title character, an aging hippie who uses marijuana, listens to the Woodstock-influenced rock music of the late 1960s and for years refuses to let go of his lifestyle, despite societal changes around him. It is also explained that, sometime prior to Woodstock, he was drafted to Vietnam and forced to "become a man while he was still a boy." Afterward, he began waiting for something good to happen in his life, before adopting his way of life. Eventually, the man does change, taking up such interests as jogging while staying away from parties and nightclubs.

The song's lyrics reference the Woodstock Music and Art Fair, which took place in August 1969, and the December 1980 shooting death of John Lennon.

Two versions of the song exist. In addition to a slightly different guitar lick at the end, the major difference comes at the line "He's got young friends into new wave ... ". The album version follows with the line, "but he's just too friggin' old," while the single version replaces the word "friggin'" with "damn."


A decade after the song's release, the brothers recorded a sequel song titled "Old Hippie (The Sequel)".[4] The song follows the same unnamed title character 10 years after the original. Just as with "Old Hippie," the sequel sees the man—now with a thinning hairline—continuing to struggle with his memories of Vietnam and changes in society, only with updated references. In the song's final verse it is alluded that he has married, started a family, adopted an optimistic view of the future, and taken on more conservative values.

The lyrics make references to President Clinton, country music singers including Merle Haggard, George Jones, Billy Ray Cyrus and Garth Brooks; and Woodstock '94.

"Old Hippie (The Sequel)" appeared on the 1995 album Native American. Released in early 1996, the song failed to chart on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart.

Howard and David re-visited the "Old Hippie" character once again on their 1996 holiday release, "Tropical Christmas." The chorus in the "Old Hippie Christmas" version goes, "It's an Old Hippie Christmas, weather's cold and hearts are warm. Mama smokes the turkey, while Daddy smokes the farm. It's an Old Hippie Christmas, just full of yuletide fun. Jesus must've been a hippie, peace and love to everyone..."

In 2007, on the gospel-flavored album "Jesus is Coming",The Bellamys sang about the hippies conversion to Christianity in the song "Old Hippie III (Saved)".

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1985) Peak
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[5] 2
Canadian RPM Country Tracks 1
Preceded by
"Dixie Road"
by Lee Greenwood
RPM Country Tracks
number-one single

August 10, 1985
Succeeded by
"40 Hour Week (For a Livin')"
by Alabama

See also[edit]


External links[edit]