“Hanging Johnny”

Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1917
Keywords: shanty ship sailor
Found in: US(MA) Canada(Mar) Britain(England)


Shanty. Characteristic line: "Away, away... Hang, boys, hang!" The singer reports, "They call me Hanging Johnny... Oh they say I hang for money. They say I hung my daddy... We'll... hang together... And we'll hang for better weather."


The "hanging" in this song does not refer to execution, but to a sailor who held a rope lashed to other sailors. If this "hanger" let them go in a bad sea, they would be washed overboard and lost. - RBW



  1. Doerflinger, p. 31, "Hanging Johnny" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. Colcord, pp. 72-73,"Hanging Johnny" (1 text, 1 tune)
  3. Harlow, pp. 47-48,"Hanging Johnny" (1 text, 1 tune)
  4. Hugill, pp. 284-285,"Hanging Johnny" (1 text, 1 tune) [AbEd, pp. 208-209]
  5. Sharp-EFC, LI, p. 56, "Hanging Johnny" (1 text, 1 tune)
  6. Shay-SeaSongs, p. 54, "Hanging Johnny" (1 text, 1 tune)
  7. Smith/Hatt, p. 26, "Hangman Johnnie" (1 text)
  8. Silber-FSWB, p. 87, "Hanging Johnny" (1 text)
  10. ADDITIONAL: Captain John Robinson, "Songs of the Chantey Man," a series published July-August 1917 in the periodical _The Bellman_ (Minneapolis, MN, 1906-1919). Hanging Johnny" is in Part 2, 7/21/1917.
  11. Roud #2625
  12. BI, Doe031