Big Rock Candy Mountain (2:16)

Cover of O Brother, Where Art Thou?

From O Brother, Where Art Thou? and 10 other releases

“Big Rock Candy Mountain” is a song about a hobo’s idea of paradise - a modern version of the medieval concept of Cockaigne, and similar to the cavalryman’s concept of Fiddler’s Green.

The song describes a hobo’s vision of utopia, a place where the “hens lay soft boiled eggs” and there are “cigarette trees”. The song is also rather ironic and satirical in that it additionally describes modified versions of things that one wouldn’t think should exist in paradise at all, such as police (with wooden legs) and jails (made of tin), but sound appealing to someone whose lifestyle runs afoul of the law.

The song was first recorded in 1928 by Harry McClintock, also known as Haywire Mac. The Haywire Mac version peaked at #1 in 1939 country music charts printed by Billboard magazine. It is probably best remembered for its recording by Burl Ives in 1949, but it has been recorddfghdged by many artists throughout the world. A version recorded in 1960 by Dorsey Burnette reached #102 in Billboard, the biggest success for the song in the post-1954 “rock era”.

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