The Great Speckled Bird (song)

The Great Speckled Bird (song)

Infobox Standard
title=The Great Speckled Bird

writer=Guy Smith
form=AABA 12 bars
original_artist=Roy Acuff 1936
recorded_by=Johnny Cash

"The Great Speckled Bird" is a Southern hymn whose lyrics were written by the Reverend Guy Smith. The song is in the form of AABA and has a 12 bar count. It is based on Jeremiah 12:9, "Mine heritage is unto me as a speckled bird, the birds round about are against her; come ye, assemble all the beasts of the field, come to devour." It was recorded in 1936 by Roy Acuff. It was also later recorded by Johnny Cash and Kitty Wells (both in 1959), Hank Locklin (1962), Bert Southwood (1990), and Jerry Lee Lewis.

The tune is the same apparently traditional melody used in the folk song "I Am Thinking Tonight Of My Blue Eyes," originally recorded in the 1920s. The same melody was later used in the 1952 country hit "The Wild Side of Life," sung by Hank Thompson, and the even more successful "answer song" performed by Kitty Wells called "It Wasn't God Who Made Honky-Tonk Angels."

Both the song "The Great Speckled Bird" and the passage from Jeremiah may be a poetic description of mobbing behavior.

Published Versions

* March 26, 1936 Aurora, Missouri 'Advertiser'
* 1937 M.M. Cole Publishing Company, Chicago attributes music to Roy Acuff, word to Guy Smith. [Vance Randolph, 'Ozark Folk Songs' University of Missouri Press, 1980 ISBN 0826202977 OCLC 6442634]


This song is in the form of AABA and has a 12 bar count.

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