I've Been Everywhere
Parody lyrics Copyright © 1997 Dick Jonas. All rights reserved.
Original song by Geoff Mack; Unichappell Music Inc/BMI; parody lyrics by Dick Jonas
Well, I took off from Ubon in a thick and heavy driving rain
I've been everywhere, Man, I've been everywhere
I cut my teeth on old style country music. You know, bluegrass. Roy Acuff. Flatt and Scruggs.
I learned how to use a thumb pick on a guitar by watching Carter Stanley when the Clinch Mountain Boys did a long stint at the Suwannee River Jamboree. I was a disk jockey at WNER in Live Oak, Florida, at the time.
I remember when Waylon Jennings wore a greaseball haircut.
Johnny Cash. I remember when he went into the Air Force and when he got out.
Hank Snow. His was the first rendition I ever heard of this song. He used place names around the USA.
Many years later, on an R&R down under, I heard it sung in a Sydney night club by a guy using Australian place names. Wish I could remember how he strung them Aussie burgs together. Musta been sump'n like...
"I been to Kalgoorlie, Coolgardie, Wollongong, Oodnadata...
And I thought Asian place names were tough!
When Emmit Brooks and I cut the first album in 1969, we laid down a track for the first two verses of this song. That's all there was at the time. At first, I called it The Ballad of the Old Head GIB -check the lead- in at the beginning. When we asked permission of the publisher to use the style and the tune, we were refused.
Through the years, at shows, sing-alongs, and parties, the song was extremely popular among veteran aviators of the Vietnam War. By 1988, when we cut number four, I had spent quite a bit of time elsewhere in the Western Pacific. Verses three and four had been added. Again, we asked permission to use the parody and again we were refused.
In 1995, Emmit and I began planning some new releases. The parody of Pretty Woman by 2 Live Crew had been done, resulting in a legal process which went all the way to the Supreme Court. The Court ruled no infringement, effectively sanctioning parodies as fair use so long as the original writers and publishers are paid the appropriate royalties. The rest is history. All those warrior ditties which, over the years, lived and died in the dark with 'borrowed' tunes can now join the mainstream.
As I was putting this project together, I found out it was an Aussie who wrote the original. Geoff Mack is the genius behind I've Been Everywhere. What a song! What a writer!