37 - Hanging Johnny

Words by Traditional
Tune by Traditional

With a double pull, this shanty was probably used for the halyard or a long drag. A classic example of a 'stringing-out' shanty - one where the shanty singer could make up as many verses as required to get the job done. Sung at a session, it's important to read the room and think carefully about how many verses to include if there are lots of people who would like a sing - it would be totally historically in keeping to shorten (or even lengthen!) the song to match the occasion.

They call me hanging Johnny,

Away, boys, away!

They say I hang for money!

So hang, boys, hang down!

They say I hanged my mother,
My sisters and my brothers

They say I hanged my granny,
I strung her up so canny

They say I hung a copper,
I gave him the long dropper

I’d hang the mates and skippers,
I’d hang 'em by their flippers

A rope, a beam, a ladder,
I’ll hang ye all together

Hang 'em from the yardarm,
Hang the sea and buy a pigfarm

They say I hang for money,
I hang because it’s funny

They call me hanging Johnny,
Ain’t never hanged nobody