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Song of the Moment: North to Alaska

The rush is on.

*

Released: 1960, featured in the John Wayne movie of the same name.

Artist: Johnny Horton, known for the historical ballad and at one time married to an ex-wife of Hank Williams.

Charts: Reached No. 1 on Billboard's country singles chart and No. 4 on the pop chart.

Amazon: While Louisiana Hayride star Johnny Horton's 1956 Top 10 debut "Honky Tonk Man" strode the line between rockabilly and honky-tonk minimalism, he found his niche in 1959 with a short-lived phenomenon known as the saga song: newly penned tunes, based on or inspired by historical events. The song that rendered Horton immortal? A rousing rendition of folksinger Jimmie Driftwood's War of 1812 number "The Battle of New Orleans," which topped both the country and pop charts for weeks. Riding a winner, Horton kept the momentum going with the Civil War-themed "Johnny Reb," and "Sink the Bismarck," based on a World War II naval battle. He died in a Texas car crash in early November 1960, days before his next single, "North to Alaska" (from the John Wayne film of the same name), hit the charts. While saga tunes understandably dominate this [greatest hits] collection, it also includes "Honky Tonk Man" and the ballads "Whispering Pines" and "The Mansion You Stole." There's no better introduction to Horton's seminal recordings. - Rich Kienzle

Lyrics:
Way up north, (North To Alaska.)
Way up north, (North To Alaska.)
North to Alaska,
They're goin' North, the rush is on.
North to Alaska,
They're goin' North, the rush is on.

Big Sam left Seattle in the year of '92,
With George Pratt, his partner, and brother, Billy, too.
They crossed the Yukon River and found the bonanza gold.
Below that old white mountain just a little south-east of Nome.

Sam crossed the majestic mountains to the valleys far below.
He talked to his team of huskies as he mushed on through the snow.
With the northern lights a-running wild in the land of the midnight sun,
Yes, Sam McCord was a mighty man in the year of nineteen-one.

Where the river is winding,
Big nuggets they're finding.
North to Alaska,
They're goin' North, the rush is on.

Way up north, (North To Alaska.)
Way up north, (North To Alaska.)
North to Alaska,
They're goin' North, the rush is on.
North to Alaska,
They're goin' North, the rush is on.

George turned to Sam with his gold in his hand,
Said: "Sam you're a-lookin'at a lonely, lonely man.
"I'd trade all the gold that's buried in this land,
"For one small band of gold to place on sweet little Ginnie's hand.

"'Cos a man needs a woman to love him all the time.
"Remember, Sam, a true love is so hard to find.
"I'd build for my Ginnie, a honeymoon home.
"Below that old white mountain just a little south-east of Nome."

Where the river is winding,
Big nuggets they're finding.
North to Alaska,
They're goin' North, the rush is on.
North to Alaska,
They're goin' North, the rush is on.

Way up north, (North To Alaska.)
Way up north, (North To Alaska.)
Way up north, (North To Alaska.)

YouTube:

-

Previously in Song of the Moment:
* Iron Man
* The Story of Bo Diddley
* Teach Your Children
* Dream Vacation
* When The Levee Breaks
* I Kissed A Girl
* Theme From Shaft
* Rocky Mountain High



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Posted on September 1, 2008


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