Western Song: The Rebel (Johnny Yuma)
The Rebel (Johnny Yuma) is the theme song of The Rebel — a 76-episode American western television series, composed by Richard Markowitz and lyrics by Andrew J. Fenady. The song is included in the Western Writers of America‘s list of Top 100 Western songs of all time.
Johnny Cash recorded the song and was released as a single in April 1961, soon before the show went off the air. Nick Adams recorded the theme that was released on Mercury Records in March 1960. During the syndication, the theme got replaced by the instrumental track of DeWolfe Music Library, “Dodge City No. 1” by Jack Trombey.
About the Song
Cash was requested to perform the theme song to the TV western The Rebel, which starred Nick Adams and ran from 1959 to 1961. The theme of the series must have pleased Cash. And even though he did not write it, you would never know it. In 1961, the song reached number 24 on the country chart, shortly before the series was canceled.
The song is about the story of a young Confederate soldier who was left to roam aimlessly across the West two years after the Civil War. The song perfectly captures the grief the soldier experiences as he wanders alone in a lawless land.
Many artists have covered the song. Some of the most notable versions were recorded by:
- Johnny Cash
- Cowboy Copas
- Faron Young
- Johnny Doe
- Nashville Country Singers
- Gene Summers
- Lee Conway
- Johnny Western
- Tonic Sol-fa
- How’s Bayou
- Don Wilson
The Rebel (Johnny Yuma) In Albums
The song has also been released in the tracklist of the albums below:
- Opry Star Spotlight on Cowboy Copas
- Faron Young Aims at the West
- Johnny Doe Sings More Big Country Hits Made Famous by Johnny Cash
- Hits of Johnny Cash
- Rock a Boogie Shake
- Lee Conway Big Iron
- Johnny Western Sings 20 Great Classics & Legends
Listen (Johnny Cash Version)
The Rebel (Johnny Yuma) Lyrics
Away, away, away rolled the rebel Johnny Yuma Johnny Yuma was a rebel He roamed through the west And Johnny Yuma, the rebel He wandered alone. He got fightin' mad This rebel lad He packed no star As he wandered far Where the only law Was a hook and a draw. The rebel, Johnny Yuma. (Away, away, away rode the rebel Johnny Yuma) Johnny Yuma was a rebel He roamed through the west Johnny Yuma, the rebel He wandered alone. He searched the land This restless lad He was panther quick And leather tough 'Cause he figured that He had been pushed enough. The rebel, Johnny Yuma. (Away, away, away rode the rebel Johnny Yuma) Johnny Yuma was a rebel He roamed through the west Johnny Yuma, the rebel He wandered alone. Fightin' mad This rebel lad With a dream he'd hold 'Til his dyin' breath He'd search his soul And gamble with death. The rebel, Johnny Yuma. (Away, away, away rode the rebel Johnny Yuma)