Sterling Hayden
Tom Russell Lyrics


Sterling Hayden on a barge in Amsterdam
One of those backwater Dutch canals
A bottle of Johnny Walker between his legs
Drunk but articulate as hell

He was saying, "Yeah, I ratted on people
During the McCarthy hearings, huh, you haven't the foggiest notion
Of the contempt I have for myself, maybe that's why we drink, eh?
Some damn thing, shipwrecks the heart, huh? Yah"
Sterling Hayden on a three-masted schooner
Kidnapped his kids and sailed 'round the globe
But a man can sail around in one big circle
And not escape his wounded sailor's soul

So heave her up the main sail, boys
Heave her up and away we'll go
We're bound for the bay where the white whale plays
In the midnight straits of Jericho

And if ever I return, Pretty Peggy O
All your cities I will burn, yes, I would
With your cardboard sea and your paper moon
O'er the penny arcade called Hollywood

He ran guns through the German lines in World War II
The Viking God stood six-feet-five
Played in 'Johnny Guitar and The Asphalt Jungle'
'The Killing' and 'The Long Goodbye'

I saw him once on the Johnny Carson show
Late in his troubled career
He said, "Just give me a room over lookin' the Hudson
With a mattress and a typewriter and I'll write you
A helluva novel, my dears"

So here's to all the tough guy actors
And the false gods who made 'em
And wherever he sails tonight on the Seven Seas
May the Lord sail with Sterling Hayden

Contributed by Zachary S. Suggest a correction in the comments below.
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