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A Boy Named Sue Chords

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"A Boy Named Sue"
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E A D G B E
End-to-end rewrite by Sliver24 on 2016-12-20

'A Boy Named Sue' by Johnny Cash

CAPO: III

NOTE: Lyrics in parentheses () are optional. Johnny is singing the song in 
San Quentin and those words are his interactions with the crowd as he sings 
the song. If you want you can skip them and simply move to the next verse.


[Intro]
G  G

[Verse 1]
        G
Well my daddy left home when I was three
       C
And he didn't leave much to ma and me
     D                                      G
Just this old guitar and an empty bottle of booze
    G
Now I don't blame him cause he run and hid
        C
But the meanest thing that he ever did
      D                                  G
Was before he left, he went and named me 'Sue'


[Verse 2]
        G                      
Well he must've thought that was quite a joke
       C
And it got a lot of laughs from a-lots of folks
   D                                  G
It seems I had to fight my whole life through
     G
Some gal would giggle and I'd get red
    C
And some guy'd laugh and I'd bust his head
  D                                        G
I tell ya, life ain't easy for a boy named 'Sue'


[Verse 3]
       G
Well I grew up quick and I grew up mean
   C
My fists got hard and my wits got keen
    D                                 G
I'd roam from town to town to hide my shame
      G
But I made me a vow to the moon and stars
    C
I'd search the honky-tonks and bars
    D                                   G
And kill that man that gimme that awful name


[Verse 4]
            G
Well it was Gatlinburg in mid-July
        C
And I'd just hit town and my throat was dry
  D                                  G
I thought I'd stop and have myself a brew
      G
At an old saloon on a street of mud
C
There at a table, dealing stud
D                                      G
Sat the dirty, mangy dog that named me 'Sue'


[Verse 5]
        G
Well, I knew that snake was my own sweet dad
       C
From a worn-out picture that my mother'd had
      D                                        G
And I knew that scar on his cheek and his evil eye
       G
He was big and bent and gray and old
      C
And I looked at him and my blood ran cold
      D                       G
And I said "My name is 'Sue!' How do you do?  Now you gonna die!"
G           
(Yeah, that's what I told him)


[Verse 6]
       G
Well I hit him hard right between the eyes
    C
And he went down, but to my surprise
   D                                              G
He come up with a knife and cut off a piece of my ear
      G
But I busted a chair right across his teeth
       C
And we crashed through the wall and into the street
D                                                      G
Kicking and a-gouging in the mud and the blood and the beer


[Verse 7]
  G
I tell ya, I've fought tougher men
      C
But I really can't remember when
   D                                         G
He kicked like a mule and he bit like a crocodile
  G
I heard him laugh and then I heard him cuss
   C
He went for his gun and I pulled mine first
   D                                       G
He stood there lookin' at me and I saw him smile


[Verse 8]
    G
And he said "Son, this world is rough
         C
And if a man's gonna make it he's gotta be tough
      D                                     G
And I knew I wouldn't be there to help you along
     G
So I give ya that name and I said goodbye
  C
I knew you'd have to get tough or die
    D                                     G
And it's the name that helped to make you strong"
G
(Yeah!)

[Verse 9]
        G
He said "Now you just fought one hell of a fight
      C
And I know you hate me, and you got the right
   D                                            G
To kill me now, and I wouldn't blame you if you do
        G
But you ought to thank me before I die
        C
For the gravel in yer guts and the spit in ya eye
      D                                     G
Cause I'm the son-of-a-bitch that named you 'Sue'"
G
(Yeah, what could I do?  What could I do?)


[Verse 10]
      G
I got all choked up and I threw down my gun
      C
And I called him my pa, and he called me his son,
    D                                     G
And I come away with a different point of view
      G
And I think about him, now and then
      C
Every time I try and every time I win
(*No guitar*)
And if I ever have a son, I think I'm gonna name him
(*No guitar*)
Bill or George, anything but Sue, I still hate that name!
G
(*No lyrics, just strumming out*)


/Sliver24
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10 comments total. Showing first comments.
+1 reply
Joshyuha 10 Jun 18, 2003 08:00 PM

This is close, but try capoing on the 1st fret, the chord progression goes A, D, E. Instead of G, C, D.

0 reply
Saschava 112 Dec 05, 2005 09:23 PM

actually Bb Eb F, or if you prefer A# D# E#

-2 reply
damienbelfast 10 Oct 25, 2006 09:30 AM

Not correct!

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