Best Bear Song Ever: The Ballad of Tiger Whitehead by Johnny Cash

There are way too many things I like about the song Tiger Whitehead by Johnny Cash. It’s catchy and singable and bizarre and true. It advocates honorable bear killing and breast feeding…of bears…by humans. Best of all, Cash thought it suitable for children since he put it on his 1975 children’s album. If you didn’t know Johnny Cash made a children’s album, you should go buy it off itunes right now. It’s one of our favorites.

The song Tiger Whitehead tells the tale of an old bear hunter and his wife Sallie Garland. Cash wrote the song after being shown Tiger and Sallie’s gravestones in Carter County, Tennessee. I love that Tiger’s grave says “We hope that he is at rest.” Given his character, it seems as much a plea as a well wish.

I found this picture at the blog Appalachian Treks which has more info on Tiger and Sallie Whitehead, including an image of Sallie’s grave. Check it out.

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