♫ Down On The Corner ♫

I have no idea why I’m playing this particular song tonight.  It hasn’t been going through my head, as is sometimes the case, and it hasn’t been mentioned by anyone that I can recall.  But, when I sat down to think about a song, there it was!  It’s got a nice beat to it, so … why not?

This song by Creedence Clearwater Revival in 1969 tells the story of a fictional jug band, Willy and the Poor Boys, who were street musicians “playing for nickels, can’t be beat.” The name of the jug band was also the name of CCR’s fourth straight million-selling album.

John Fogerty did all the singing on this. He recorded a bunch of vocal tracks that were overdubbed to create the effect that he was harmonizing with himself.

You all know how terrible I am with lyrics, for 90% of the time I mis-hear them?  Well, imagine my delight when I read that one line in this song is often mis-heard by most people!  The line is “Willy goes into a dance and doubles on kazoo”, and people often hear that last part as “Devil’s on the loose”.  A journalist named Phil Elwood made that mistake and published it in a newspaper article. John Fogerty got a big kick out of this, and as a nod to Elwood, put this line into the CCR song Run Through the Jungle

They told me, “Don’t go walking slow
‘Cause Devil’s on the loose”

The song has been covered by a few thousand artists … okay, perhaps I exaggerate just a tad … including Bo Diddley, Jerry Reed, The Osmond Brothers, Harry Belafonte, and others.  It has also been featured in Walgreens commercials since 2012, with the tagline “At the Corner of Happy and Healthy”.

Down on the Corner
Creedence Clearwater Revival

Early in the evenin’ just about supper time
Over by the courthouse they’re starting to unwind
Four kids on the corner trying to bring you up
Willy picks a tune out and he blows it on the harp

Down on the corner
Out in the street
Willy and the Poor Boys are playin’
Bring a nickel, tap your feet

Rooster hits the washboard and people just got to smile
Blinky thumps the gut bass and solos for a while
Poor Boy twangs the rhythm out on his kalamazoo
And Willy goes into a dance and doubles on kazoo

Down on the corner
Out in the street
Willy and the Poor Boys are playin’
Bring a nickel, tap your feet

Down on the corner
Out in the street
Willy and the Poor Boys are playin’
Bring a nickel, tap your feet

You don’t need a penny just to hang around
But if you’ve got a nickel, won’t you lay your money down?
Over on the corner there’s a happy noise
People come from all around to watch the magic boy

Down on the corner
Out in the street
Willy and the Poor Boys are playin’
Bring a nickel, tap your feet

Down on the corner
Out in the street
Willy and the Poor Boys are playin’
Bring a nickel, tap your feet

Down on the corner
Out in the street
Willy and the Poor Boys are playin’
Bring a nickel, tap your feet

Down on the corner
Out in the street
Willy and the Poor Boys are playin’
Bring a nickel, tap your feet

Songwriters: John Cameron Fogerty
Down on the Corner lyrics © The Bicycle Music Company

11 thoughts on “♫ Down On The Corner ♫

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