Lyrics to John Hardy

John Hardy (Traditional: Arranged by Bryan Ferry)

 John Hardy, he was a desp'rate little man,
 He carried two guns ev'ry day.
 He shot a man on the West Virginia line,
 An' you ought seen John Hardy getting away.

 John Hardy, he got to the Keystone Bridge,
 He thought that he would be free.
 And up stepped a man and took him by his arm,
 Says, "Johnny, walk along with me."

 He sent for his poppy and his mommy, too,
 To come and go his bail.
 But money won't go a murdering case;
 They locked John Hardy back in jail.

 John Hardy, he had a pretty little girl,
 That dress that she wore was blue
 As she came skipping through the old jail hall,
 Saying, "Poppy, I've been true to you."

 John Hardy, he had another little girl,
 That dress that she wore was red.
 She followed John Hardy to his hanging ground,
 Saying, "Poppy, I would rather be dead."

 I been to the East and I been to the West,
 I been this wide world around.
 I been to the river and I been baptised,
 And now I'm on my hanging ground.

 John Hardy walked out on his scaffold high,
 With his loving little wife by his side.
 And the last words she heard poor John-O say,
 "I'll meet you in that sweet bye-and-bye."

John Hardy


John Hardy was a song Bryan Ferry performed at the Harry Smith Tribute Performance at the Meltdown Festival in the Royal Festival Hall 2nd July 1999. This was a one off performace of this and a song called The Butcher Boy. Bryan has never recorded this song.

A popular ballad with a lot of different local versions. John Hardy was a murderer who was executed in 1894 in Welsh , West Virginia.
There's also a traditional round that same period about John Henry a guy who died round the same period in Virginia . As a result there are also versions of this song where the two version are mixed.
Famous version is the Leadbelly version, recorded in '40 and from The Carter Family '28 The version of Ernest V Stoneman '25 is the first known recording of this song.

The Lyrics can be a little bit different from the one Bryan sings


Song Musicians

John Hardy is on the following Roxy Music and Solo Albums