John Henry Lyrics

Bruce Springsteen


publisher: ©Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.
writers: Waymon Glasco, Morris Levy, Clarence Lewis
album: Track 5 in album We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions
release date: 2006-4-24
popularity : 1 users have visited this page.
length: 5:08
banjo: Mark Clifford
violin: Soozie Tyrell, Sam Bardfeld
trumpet: Mark Pender
tambourine: Bruce Springsteen
saxophone: Eddie Manion
guitar: Bruce Springsteen, Frank Bruno
accordion: Charlie Giordano
organ: Charlie Giordano
Hammond organ: Charlie Giordano, Bruce Springsteen
piano: Charlie Giordano, Bruce Springsteen
trombone: Richie "La Bamba" Rosenberg
double bass: Jeremy Chatzky
percussion: Bruce Springsteen, Larry Eagle
drums: Larry Eagle
mandolin: Bruce Springsteen
harmonica: Bruce Springsteen
assistant mix: Brandon Duncan
mix: Bob Clearmountain
assistant recording: Ross Peterson, Kevin Buell
recording: Toby Scott
background vocals: Sam Bardfeld, Richie "La Bamba" Rosenberg, Eddie Manion, Soozie Tyrell, Bruce Springsteen, Mark Pender, Frank Bruno, Mark Clifford, Larry Eagle, Jeremy Chatzky
lead vocals: Bruce Springsteen

Cover Art


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Well, John Henry was a little baby
Sittin' on his dady's knee
He pick up a hammer and a little piece of steel,
And cried, "Hammer's gonna be the death of me, Lord, Lord
Hammer's gonna be the death of me"

Now the captain he said to John Henry,
"I'm gonna bring that steam drill around
I'm gonna bring that steam drill out on these tracks
I'm gonna knock that steel on down, God, God
I'm gonna knock that steel on down"

John Henry told his captain,
"Lord, man ain't nothin' but a man
But efore I let that steam drill beat me down
I'm gonna die with a hammer in my hand, Lord, Lord
I'll die with a hammer in my hand"

John Henry driving on the right side
That steam drill driving on the left
Says, "'Fore I'll let your steam drill beat me down
I'm gonna hammer myself to death, Lord, Lord,
I'll hammer my fool self to death"

Well, captain said to John Henry,
"What is that storm I hear?"
John Henry said, "That ain't no storm Captain
That's just my hammer in the air, Lord, Lord
That's just my hammer in the air"

John Henry said to his shaker
"Shaker, why don't you sing?
'Cause I'm swigin' thirty pounds from my hips on down
Yeah, listen to my cold steel ring, Lord, Lord
Listen to my cold steel ring"

John Henry, he hammered in the mountains
His hammer was striking fire
But he worked so hard; it broke his heart
John Henry laid down his hammer and died, Lord, Lord
John Henry laid down his hammer and died

Well, now John Henry, he had him a woman
By the name of Polly Ann
She walked out to those tracks
Picked up John Henry's hammer
Polly drove steel like a man, Lord, Lord
Polly drove that steel like a man

Well every, every Monday morning
When the blue bird he begin to sing
You could hear John Henry from a mile or more
You could hear John Henry's hammer ring, Lord, Lord
You can hear John Henry's hammer ring
I say, You can hear John Henry's hammer ring, Lord, Lord
You can hear John Henry's hammer ring

Track Listing

  • 1 Old Dan Tucker
  • 2 Jesse James
  • 3 Mrs. McGrath
  • 4 O Mary Don’t You Weep
  • 5 John Henry
  • 6 Erie Canal
  • 7 Jacob’s Ladder
  • 8 My Oklahoma Home
  • 9 Eyes on the Prize
  • 10 Shenandoah
  • 11 Pay Me My Money Down
  • 12 We Shall Overcome
  • 13 Froggie Went a Courtin’