"Bad, Bad Leroy Brown" as written by and James Croce....
Well the South side of Chicago
Is the baddest part of town
And if you go down there
You better just beware
Of a man named Leroy Brown

Now Leroy more than trouble
You see he stand 'bout six foot four
All the downtown ladies call him "Treetop Lover"
All the men just call him "Sir"

And it's bad, bad Leroy Brown
The baddest man in the whole damned town
Badder than old King Kong
And meaner than a junkyard dog

Now Leroy he a gambler
And he like his fancy clothes
And he like to wave his diamond rings
In front of everybody's nose
He got a custom Continental
He got an Eldorado too
He got a 32 gun in his pocket for fun
He got a razor in his shoe

And it's bad, bad Leroy Brown
The baddest man in the whole damned town
Badder than old King Kong
And meaner than a junkyard dog

Now Friday 'bout a week ago
Leroy shootin' dice
And at the edge of the bar
Sat a girl named Doris
And oo that girl looked nice
Well he cast his eyes upon her
And the trouble soon began
'Cause Leroy Brown learned a lesson
'Bout messin' with the wife of a jealous man

And it's bad, bad Leroy Brown
The baddest man in the whole damned town
Badder than old King Kong
And meaner than a junkyard dog

Well the two men took to fighting
And when they pulled them off the floor
Leroy looked like a jigsaw puzzle
With a couple of pieces gone

Lyrics submitted by kevin

"Bad Bad Leroy Brown" as written by James Croce

Lyrics © BMG Rights Management

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Bad, Bad Leroy Brown song meanings
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  • +1
    Song FactQuote from Wikipedia:
    Croce's inspiration for the song was a friend he met in his brief time in the US Army:
    I met him at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. We were in lineman (telephone) school together. He stayed there about a week, and one evening he turned around and said he was really fed up and tired. He went AWOL, and then came back at the end of the month to get his paycheck. They put handcuffs on him and took him away. Just to listen to him talk and see how 'bad' he was, I knew someday I was gonna write a song about him.

    He told a variation of this story on The Helen Reddy Show in July 1973:

    This is a song about a guy I was in the army with... It was at Fort Dix, in New Jersey, that I met this guy. He was not made to climb the tree of knowledge, as they say, but he was strong, so nobody'd ever told him what to do, and after about a week down there he said "Later for this" and decided to go home. So he went AWOL—which means to take your own vacation—and he did. But he made the mistake of coming back at the end of the month to get his paycheck. I don't know if you've ever seen handcuffs put on anybody, but it was SNAP and that was the end of it for a good friend of mine, who I wrote this tune about, named Leroy Brown.

    Croce explained the chorus reference to Leroy Brown being "meaner than a junkyard dog":

    Yeah, I spent about a year and a half driving those $29 cars, so I drove around a lot looking for a universal joint for a '57 Chevy panel truck or a transmission for a '51 Dodge. I got to know many junkyards well, and they all have those dogs in them. They all have either an axle tied around their necks or an old lawnmower to keep 'em at least slowed down a bit, so you have a decent chance of getting away from them.
    eric137371on January 05, 2017   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis is such a great song. ah, i love it when people who think they are badasses get monkey-stomped when they cross the line with someone they underestimated. guess it is just fun to see the "baddest man" get laid out by an average dude when he pushes him too far.
    ramtharon May 01, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is one of those weakling-power anthems. Leroy Brown is that big, ugly kid who got all the good-looking girls in high school just because he was tough. Literally speaking, he crossed somebody stronger than him, figuratively, I think it has more to do with the fact that people like Leroy always get left behind in life.
    loopydateon May 10, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commenta couple friends and i made a music video with this song. it went pretty well, even though we were all laughing when our 5' 2" "Leroy" was beating me up.

    yeah, this is definitely the under-rated guys anthem.

    reminds of the old saying: "the bigger they are, the harder they fall"
    montyosoison August 10, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentTo me he just seemed like he thought he was a badass and someone put him in his place. I don't see were it says it was a smaller guy, but I guess if you're a smaller guy this would be an empowering song for you.
    kmk_natashaon December 07, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentGreat song. It still gets played on the Vegas classic rock station nearly daily.
    Abq_physon May 03, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIts a badass song, but my question is, what the fuck is a treetop lover?
    teamkantneron April 30, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentNot quite sure how you guys got this is a song rooting for the underdog. It says he is 6'4 in the song, so...not exactly a shortie either.

    Leroy Brown was someone Croce knew during the war. In the song, he's a rough bad ass from the wrong side of town, down to get violent when he needs to. Everyone respects him (hence the "treetop lover" and "sir") out of fear. But when he flirts with a married woman, he gets killed by the husband.

    It's more of an "even the mighty fall" type of story. Not an underdog story at all, since the husband isn't described besides being jealous.
    BakedGoodieson August 24, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI agree most with BakedGoodies on this one. The man who took down Leroy Brown was only described as "jealous," not necessarily small, but presumably smaller than Leroy. "Even the mighty fall" is pretty accurate. I might describe it more as a story of not underestimating the power of emotion. Being big, mean, and respected was trumped by simple jealousy.
    rdpage1on May 03, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIf you read "Cirque Du Freak", you'll see that Steve was just like Leroy Brown but worse. He and Desmond Tiny would make Leroy look like an angel. Then in "Sons Of Destiny", Darren was just like the jealous husband, as he had killed Steve. Then, Steve killed him so Darren wouldn't become the Lord of the Shadows.
    seeingon March 10, 2016   Link

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