Shel Silverstein is known for his whimsical and also twisted children's poetry, compiled in books such as Where the Sidewalk Ends and also A irradiate in the Attic. However, the Chicago indigenous had numerous talents: He also wrote and also illustrated the lover children's publication The giving Tree and was a prolific songwriter, particularly for country artists.
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In fact, Silverstein's songs were recorded in the 1960s and '70s by Johnny Cash, Bobby Bare, Kris Kristofferson, Waylon Jennings, Emmylou Harris, Judy Collins and dozens more artists. Multiple musicians exit de facto consist of albums featuring only Silverstein songs; Bare and also his son, Bobby ceiling Jr., also released a 2010 tribute album, Twistable, Turnable Man: A musical Tribute to the songs of Shel Silverstein, featuring luminaries extending Silverstein's songs.
It's straightforward to hear why Silverstein's songs were so popular: Not just are they clever and funny, however they're additionally rife v melancholy and heartbreak, and also feature vivid characters that might be sometimes down on their luck -- however still maintain their pride and dignity. Silverstein never mocked his protagonists; he merely tried to empathize v them.
Below, learn an ext about 10 country songs you could not have actually realized were composed by Silverstein:
Tompall Glaser"s "Put one more Log top top the Fire (Male Chauvinist national Anthem)"From 1975"s "Tompall (Sings the songs of Shel Silverstein)"
Outlaw nation artist Glaser had some boy success in the mid-'70s, and also even appears on the seminal Wanted! The Outlaws LP. But his highest-charting single was "Put an additional Log on the Fire" (subtitled "Male Chauvinist national Anthem"), which, appropriately, very first appeared ~ above his 1975 album Tompall (Sings the song of Shel Silverstein). The song is a classic instance of burying the lede: The male protagonist is blithely ordering his mam to wait on him hand and also foot, v no self-awareness, but then says, "Then put an additional log ~ above the fire, babe / and come and tell me why you're leaving me." The tune peaked at No. 21 on the country singles charts.
Lester Flatt"s "February Snow"From 1972"s "Foggy hill Breakdown"
"February Snow" has been tape-recorded by many artists, consisting of Bobby Bare. However, Flatt's version, discovered as the lead-off track on his 1972 LP Foggy mountain Breakdown, is an especially evocative. Fiddle, banjo and intricate multi-part harmonies incorporate to develop a wistful backdrop for text detailing a couple parting in (bitter)sweet sorrow.
Kris Kristofferson"s "Son that a Scoundrel"From 1970"s "Ned Kelly" Soundtrack
Silverstein composed music because that the soundtrack that the 1970 movie Ned Kelly, i beg your pardon stars rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger. One of the an ext colorful song is the Kristofferson-sung "Son of a Scoundrel," a gruff waltz full of vivid (and proud unsavory) characters that feels choose a PG-13 version of Silverstein's children's poetry.
John Prine"s "This guitar Is because that Sale"From 2010"s "Twistable, Turnable Man: A musical Tribute to the songs of Shel Silverstein"
Another song taped by Bobby Bare, "This guitar Is for Sale," was covered by Prine on a Silverstein tribute album that additionally features Lucinda Williams, Nanci Griffith, Kris Kristofferson and many others. Prine take away a sparse approach to the three-hanky song, which finds an artist reminiscing about his past successful music career, i beg your pardon he's reluctantly providing up.
Emmylou Harris" "Queen of the silver Dollar"From 1975"s "Pieces of the Sky"
"Queen of the silver Dollar" features a protagonist who is the belle that the ball at her neighborhood watering hole. The tune insinuates some of her exterior glamour is a put-on -- perhaps since she's had her heart broken by the omniscient narrator, who seems a little guilty together he intones, "She was when an plain girl / with ordinary dreams / 'Til I found her and also I won she / and also I lugged her to this world." In any kind of case, "Queen of the silver Dollar" is deeply empathetic toward the titular queen, which makes it rather the moving song.
Waylon Jennings" "The Taker"From 1971"s "The Taker/Tulsa"
Written v Kris Kristofferson, the nation Top 5 fight "The Taker" details every the ways the sketchy protagonist is going to take benefit of a mrs -- largely by charming her and also then pulling the rug out from under she feet and also wounding she pride: "And after he's take away the body and soul she gives him / He'll take she for granted / take it off and also leave her." The worldplay in the song is vintage Silverstein, together it sets up a script that's both playful and also heartbreaking.
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Bobby Bare"s "Sylvia"s Mother"From 1972"s "What Am i Gonna Do?"
Bare recorded a huge number of Silverstein songs, however his an initial big fight came with "Sylvia's Mother," which got to No. 12 on the country singles chart. The tune details a guy desperately make the efforts to reach an ex, due to the fact that she's up and leaving town, yet who is stonewalled by she mother and the truth that he demands to put more money into the payphone. That begs and pleads for the possibility to speak goodbye -- but as the tune ends, it never ever comes.
Loretta Lynn"s "One"s ~ above the Way"From 1971"s "One"s ~ above the Way"
Lynn's 1971 No. 1 hit is a wry look in ~ the nascent sexual transformation and the emphasize of motherhood. The song's lyrics comparison celebrity glitz and also glamour in large cities with the harried life that a Topeka, Kan.-living protagonist juggling number of kids and also (as the location infers) another "on the way." although ostensibly lighthearted, the tune does offer pointed social commentary: "And the pill may readjust the people tomorrow, yet meanwhile, this particular day / right here in Topeka, the flies are a buzzin' / The dog is a barkin' and the floor needs a scrubbin'." For an excellent measure, Silverstein also wrote Lynn's "Hey Loretta."
Johnny Cash"s "A Boy called Sue"From 1969"s "At mountain Quentin"
Believe that or not, Silverstein wrote among Cash's most famed songs, "A Boy called Sue," which topped the country and also adult modern-day charts, and also landed in ~ No. 2 on the pop charts. The track -- which likewise won a Grammy in 1970 -- adheres to a man who is upset the his dad, that left his family, offered him what's traditionally a girl's name. Return he at some point meets his dad and also attempts to obtain revenge, the song has actually several twisted -- in true Silverstein fashion -- that finish up both heartwarming and also funny. For good measure, Silverstein additionally wrote the song's sequel, "The father of a Boy named Sue" and another track Cash recorded, "25 minutes to Go."