Monday, March 15, 2021

1955 – a good year for the Ballad of Davy Crockett by Kaye Spencer #classicpop #Disneysongs #classictelevision

March 26, 1955—

Bill Hayes’ version of The Ballad of Davy Crockett reached the No. 1 position in Billboard magazine on March 26th and stayed there through April 23rd. Bill Hayes, b. June 5, 1925, has an impressive musical, Broadway, Hollywood, and daytime soap opera career. Read about Hayes HERE.

The Ballad of Davy Crocket was the theme song for the Disney five-part miniseries Davy Crockett, which aired on December 15, 1954. The first episode was a major Disney success and by February 1955, singers were scrambling to record and release their versions of the song.


Four other versions of the song made it to Billboard magazine charts in 1955, but none of them reached No. 1. Fess Parker, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Burl Ives, and Mac Wiseman had the other renditions.

The ballad is listed in the Top 100 Western Songs of all Time by Western Writers of America.

I have a 45 rpm of The Ballad of Davy Crockett by the Sons of the Pioneers. The “B” Side is The Grave Yard Filler of the West. Due to a basement flood a few years ago, I lost the covers to all my vinyl records, but I salvaged the records themselves. Since I don’t have a record player anymore, I’m thankful for YouTube when musical nostalgia kicks in.

Fess Parker played Davy Crockett for the live-action Disney television miniseries, and he also sang the song as the show’s theme. Buddy Ebsen was his co-star. The show had five episodes:

Davy Crockett Indian Fighter
(aired December 15, 1954)

Davy Crocket Goes to Congress
(aired January 26, 1955)

Davy Crockett at the Alamo
(February 23, 1955)

Two more episodes aired, despite Crockett dying at the Alamo. In Disney’s alternate version, this episode fades to the ballad music with Crockett, the last survivor, shooting at Santa Ana’s soldiers.

Davy Crockett’s Keelboat Race
(November 16, 1955)

Davy Crockett and the River Pirates
(December 14, 1955)

Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier
Buena Vista Distribution Movie Poster
Fair Use

With the success of the miniseries under their production-belts, Disney forged onward and released the movie Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier, which is a compilation of the first three television episodes. It released on May 25, 1955.

George Bruns, a Disney legend, wrote the music. His film scores include Johnny Tremain, One Hundred and One Dalmatians, The Sword in the Stone, The Jungle Book, The Aristocats, and Robin Hood, to name a few.

Thomas W. Blackburn was an American author, screenwriter, and lyricist, who worked in the Disney story department. Writing the lyrics to The Ballad of Davy Crockett were his first musical lyrics. He wrote several novels and screenplays for movies and television: Raton Pass, Colt .45 The Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok, Cattle Queen of Montana, Johnny Tremain, Davy Crockett (King of the Wild Frontier), Maverick (several episodes), and single episodes for other popular television westerns of the time.

The Ballad of Davy Crockett was covered by a host of artists, and it ultimately sold ten million copies. The television show became wildly popular the world over thanks to Disney’s targeted marketing campaign in the UK to piggyback on the show’s U.S. popularity. It was called the “Crockett craze” in the U.S., particularly the Davy Crockett’s signature coonskin cap.

This image is from the television show Daniel Boone, starring Fess Parker. Apparently, if the coonskin cap was good enough for Davy Crockett and Fess Parker, it was good enough for Daniel Boone and Fess Parker. 

'Daniel Boone' 1966 Wikipedia

Here is Bill Hayes singing The Ballad of Davy Crockett. If the video doesn’t show on your device, click HERE

Until next time,
Kaye Spencer
writing through history one romance upon a time


  1. Replies
    1. It's a song that sends me back to my childhood and Sunday evenings in front of the television watching Disney shows.

  2. I recall the song well and very much remember the movies. Thanks for posting. A job well done.

    1. I think the song has reached earworm status. haha

  3. Kaye, I used to have my own little fake coonskin cap and somewhere, a picture book that had real pictures in it from that series--mine was the one with Mike Fink and the keelboat race. I think that thing was falling apart--I don't know whatever happened to it, but I loved it and I loved Davy Crockett. I learned to play the theme song on the piano when I was young (my sister had bought the sheet music) and my dad got the biggest kick out of coming in while I was playing, singing at the top of his lungs, "Kilt him a bar when he was only three!" LOL Great post, Kaye!

    1. Cheryl,
      I had a fake coonskin cap, too. I also had a pop gun rifle, and I'd sneak around 'hunting'. haha

    2. I still have 2 coon skin caps in the dress-up truck. Too bad there are no little ones to wear them.

  4. Watched every episode of Davey Crockett and remember the song well. He wasn't born on a mountain top in TN. We now live about 8 miles from the Davey Crockett Birthplace State Park in TN. He was born in a cabin along the river near the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The exact location of the cabin isn't known, just the general location. But then, historical information is often adjusted for convenience in a story, a song, or whatever.

    1. Patricia,

      This is great! I love the stories behind the story. I guess "Born in a cabin along the river" wasn't as lyrical as "Born on a mountain top" HAHAHA Thanks for stopping by.

  5. Replies
    1. Doris,

      Yes. To quote the comedian Steven Wright: Reminiscing brings back so many memories. ;-)

  6. Thank you for an interesting and entertaining post, Kaye! I remember watching that mini-series when i was a little boy. Fess Parker was unforgettable.