STUNG RIGHT (JOE HILL) (1913)
Tune: "Sunlight, Sunlight" (W. S. Weeden)

Any copyrighted material on these pages is used in "fair use", for the purpose of study, review or critical analysis only, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s).

In three songs, Hill echoed the I.W.W. policy which condemned war. His own ideas concerning war were reflected in a letter to Sam Murray. "Well war certainly shows up the capitalist system in the right light. Millions of men are employed at making ships and others are hired to sink them. Scientific management, eh, wot?"....73
"Stung Right" chronicles the lament of a worker enticed into joining "uncle Sammy's fleet" by promises of a trip around the world. According to Hill, the Navy, rather than improving his situation, worsens it by offering only hard work and bad food.

73Hill to Murray, 9 September 1915, in "The Last Letters of Joe Hill," p. 54; also in Foner, Letters of Joe Hill, p. 56.

Gibbs M. Smith, Labor Martyr Joe Hill, New York, NY, 1969, p. 36.

First published in the 6 Mar 1913 edition (fifth edition) of the Industrial Worker "Little Red Songbook."

When I was hiking 'round the town to find a job one day,
I saw a sign that thousand men were wanted right away,
To take a trip around the world in Uncle Sammy's fleet,
I signed my name a dozen times upon a great big sheet.
CHORUS:
I was stung right, stung right, S-T-U-N-G,
Stung right, stung right, E. Z. Mark, that's me
When my term is over, and again I'm free,
There'll be no more trips around the world for me.
The man he said, "The U. S. Fleet, that is no place for slaves,
The only thing you have to do is stand and watch the waves."
But in the morning, five o'clock, they woke me from my snooze,
To scrub the deck and polish brass, and shine the captain's shoes.

One day a dude in uniform to me commenced to shout,
I simply plugged him in the jaw, and knocked him down and out;
They slammed me right in irons then and said, "You are a case."
On bread and water then I lived for twenty-seven days.

One day the captain said, "Today I'll show you something nice,
All hands line up, we'll go ashore and have some exercise."
He made us run for seven miles as fast as we could run,
And with a packing on our back that weighed a half a ton.

Some time ago when Uncle Sam he had a war with Spain,
And many of the boys in blue were in the battle slain,
Not all were killed by bullets, though; no, not by any means,
The biggest part that were killed by Armour's Pork and Beans.

TO TOP OF PAGE
TO JOE HILL PAGE
TO I. W. W. PAGE
TO LABOR MOVEMENT PAGE
TO HISTORY IN SONG PAGE
TO STARTING PAGE

You can email me at
manfredh@mainz.netsurf.de