My daddy left home when I was three
And he didn't leave much to ma and me
Just this old guitar and an empty bottle of water
Now, I don't blame him cause he run and hid
But the meanest thing that he ever did
Was before he left, he went and named me "Sue"

Well, he must o' thought that is quite a joke
And it got a lot of laughs from a' lots of folk
It seems I had to fight my whole life through
Some gal would giggle and I'd get red
And some guy'd laugh and I'd bust his head
I tell ya, life ain't easy for a boy named "Sue"

Well, I grew up quick and I grew up mean
My fist got hard and my wits got keen
I'd roam from town to town to hide my shame
But I made a vow to the moon and stars
That I'd search the honky-tonks and bars
And kill that man who gave me that awful name

Well, it was Gatlinburg in mid-July
And I just hit town and my throat was dry
I thought I'd stop and have myself a brew
At an old saloon on a street of mud
There at a table, dealing stud
Sat the dirty, mangy dog that named me "Sue"

Well, I knew that snake was my own sweet dad
From a worn-out picture that my mother'd had
And I knew that scar on his cheek and his evil eye
He was big and bent and gray and old
And I looked at him and my blood ran cold
And I said: "My name is 'Sue!' How do you do!
Now your gonna die!"

Well, I hit him hard right between the eyes
And he went down, but to my surprise
He come up with a knife and cut off a piece of my ear
But I busted a chair right across his teeth
And we crashed through the wall and into the street
Kicking and a' gouging in the mud and the blood and the beer

I tell ya, I've fought tougher men
But I really can't remember when
He kicked like a mule and he bit like a crocodile
I heard him laugh and then I heard him cuss
He went for his gun and I pulled mine first
He stood there lookin' at me and I saw him smile

And he said: "Son, this world is rough
And if a man's gonna make it, he's gotta be tough
And I knew I wouldn't be there to help ya along
So I give ya that name and I said goodbye
I knew you'd have to get tough or die
And it's the name that helped to make you strong"

He said: "Now you just fought one hell of a fight
And I know you hate me, and you got the right
To kill me now, and I wouldn't blame you if you do
But ya ought to thank me, before I die
For the gravel in ya guts and the spit in ya eye
Cause I'm the son-of-a-gun that named you "Sue"

I got all choked up and I threw down my gun
And I called him my pa, and he called me his son
And I came away with a different point of view
And I think about him, now and then
Every time I try and every time I win
And if I ever have a son, I think I'm gonna name him
Bill or George! Anything but Sue! I still hate that name!

Lyrics submitted by Siddharth, edited by wz15801

A Boy Named Sue song meanings
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  • +2
    General Comment

    I love this song, haha makes me laugh. That part is definately my favourite also, "My name is Sue, How do you do, now you gonna die!" Love it.

    chusxruthon June 18, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    I remember reading the lyrics to Silverstein's follow-up song; he wrote it as an answer to Cash getting famous by Boy Named Sue. It certainly wasn't about how Sue was a wuss- it was WAY more messed up than that. It basically catalogues how the son becomes a perfect wife...yeah it gets really messed up. Look it up yourself lol

    Kenshi Rydenon May 12, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    the first time I listened to this song, I had mixed emotions..It's funny but it made my eyes a bit tearry too.

    Cash is indeed a legend!

    Yeah, shel Silverstein did write this song, he has girl name too.

    bear_hug20on November 23, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    Totally in love with him.

    ImaginaryFriendon November 18, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    (With Johnny, not with Sue of course)

    ImaginaryFriendon November 18, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    this song is awesome!!!

    d9s9123on April 20, 2010   Link
  • +1
    My Interpretation

    First of all... Great song. I've noticed how clever everyone seems to be about the author of this song, but my believe in Johnny Cash is that he wouldn't have sung this without him being able to relate or support the meaning of this song. I believe that one of the themes of this song could be a critic of the classic genderroles in the society, with only the mother to support the children, while the father go to work... Yeah you know what i mean.. perhaps Johnny wanted both a devoted father and a mother. Not just one of them.. Well, only my thoughts..

    Teuzon May 13, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    @bear hug20--- Shel Silverstein does not have a girl name his full name is Sheldon Allan Silverstein, so get your facts rights before you say something. And I am looking for annotations for a project, but nothing was useful except people saying OMG! I love this song. fml

    JordanFTWon December 09, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    I love Johny Cash's sense of humour in this song.....I laugh every time I listen to it

    bridget_aon May 10, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    I've loved this song for as long as I can remember. Cash was the first artist I loved in a big way, the first tape I can ever remember buying was 'The Storyteller'. One of my all time favourites. I always laugh out loud hearing the live version when he hits the line "my name is Sue, how do you do, now you're gonna die"

    hang on to a dreamon May 24, 2002   Link

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