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"The Ballad of Jed Clampett" was the theme song for the television series The Beverly Hillbillies and the later movie of that name, providing the introductory story for the series. The song was composed by Paul Henning, and recorded first by bluegrass musicians Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs, with Lester Flatt singing. The single phono-album version, released for radio and retail sale, merged both the beginning and ending lyrics of the theme song of the television series. The first two verses (starting with "Come and listen to a story about a man named Jed" and "Well the first thing you know, old Jed's a millionaire") comprised the beginning theme, while the ending theme ("Now it's time to say goodbye to Jed and all his kin...") served as the third verse. A banjo-dominated sequence occurs between verses and as the ending fade-out. The song was sung by Jerry Scoggins for the beginning of the series, with instruments played by Flatt and Scruggs.

"The Ballad of Jed Clampett"
Single by Flatt and Scruggs
from the album Hard Travelin' featuring the Ballad of Jed Clampett
B-side"Coal Loadin' Johnny"
ReleasedNovember 26, 1962
GenreBluegrass
LabelColumbia
Songwriter(s)Paul Henning
Producer(s)Don Law
Frank Jones
Flatt and Scruggs singles chronology
"The Legend of the Johnson Boys"
(1962)
"The Ballad of Jed Clampett"
(1962)
"Pearl Pearl Pearl"
(1963)

Although the first two seasons of The Beverly Hillbillies lapsed into the public domain, "The Ballad of Jed Clampett" did not and is typically edited from public-domain releases of these episodes.

ChartsEdit

The song spent 20 weeks on the Billboard country singles charts, scoring a maximum of number one for three weeks[1] and scored #44 on the Billboard Hot 100 during 1962.

AdaptationsEdit

During the original run of The Beverly Hillbillies, special lyrics were inserted into the beginning theme, advertising regular sponsors such as Kellogg's cereals and Winston cigarettes.[2][3]

"Weird Al" Yankovic merged the first two stanzas of the Ballad with the instrumentals to the Dire Straits song "Money for Nothing" for his 1989 single "Money for Nothing/Beverly Hillbillies*", which was composed for his movie UHF.

During the late 1970s, the television series Saturday Night Live featured a spoof of the Beverly Hillbillies as a skit about a wealthy family from an oil-rich Mideastern country relocating to Southern California. The theme song for the skit was termed "The Bel-Arabs."

During Bill Clinton's presidential administration, Saturday Night Live staged a spoof of the song, substituting Clinton's name for Jed Clampett's and changing the destination from Beverly Hills to the White House.[4]

Banjo virtuoso Béla Fleck often plays the ballad in concert. Fleck also accompanied Scruggs for a re-recording of the song for the 1993 movie adaptation of The Beverly Hillbillies.

On August 13, 2009, national broadcaster Q&A featured a spoof version of the song lampooning the then leader of the Australian Liberal Party Malcolm Turnbull by Stefan Sojka - Bellevue Hillbilly - making fun of his wealth, his relative unpopularity and his admission that he once tried cannabis.[citation needed]

Chart performanceEdit

Chart (1962–1963) Greatest
score
U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles 1
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 44

MediaEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book Of Top 40 Country Hits: 1944-2006, Second edition. Record Research. p. 122.
  2. ^ "Beverly Hillbillies Extra Verse #2 - Kellogg's". YouTube. 2008-04-02. Retrieved 2016-09-27.
  3. ^ "Beverly Hillbillies Extra Verse #1 - Winston". YouTube. 2008-07-29. Retrieved 2016-09-27.
  4. ^ "Clinton Parodies". Yuksrus.com. Retrieved 2016-09-27.