Sitting on Top of the World

Overjoyed, happy, ecstatic that he made it to the top of this rock and found this great resting spot where he could look at the oceanside town far below, Jack reflected on his life and thought about what a lucky man he was.  His woman had just left him, but he wasn’t fazed, as he knew that he could find another.  He was tired of working on the farm and he was thinking about catching a freight train out of town.  He had his health, his whole life was ahead of him and he felt that no matter what he did, that things were going to work out fine for him.  It was a beautiful day and Jack was sitting on top of the world.

On April 28, 1930 The Mississippi Sheiks recorded ‘Sitting on Top of the World’.  This song was written by Walter Vinson and Lonnie Chatmon who were both members of the prominent African American string band.  Vinson claimed to have composed the song one morning after playing at a white dance in Greenwood, Mississippi.  It was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2008 and in 2018, it was selected for preservation in the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or artistically significant.”  The Sheiks lived around Jackson, Mississippi and they were farmers when they weren’t making music.  Two years after the original release, Big Bill Broonzy covered the song, as did a number of other performers, including early blues legend Charley Patton.  In 1957, Howlin’ Wolf recorded a famous blues version of the song.  This song appeared on Doc Watson’s self-titled debut album in 1964.  In 1967, The Grateful Dead’s self-titled debut album included a country-infused, upbeat version of the track, and one year later, Cream, continuing to pay homage to their biggest influences, recorded a famous version of the song for their Wheels of Fire album.

One summer day, she went away
Gone and left me, she’s gone to stay.
She’s gone, but I don’t worry,
I’m sittin’ on top of the world.

All the summer, worked on this farm
Had to take Christmas in my overalls.
She’s gone, but I don’t worry,
I’m sittin’ on top of the world.

Going down to the freight yard,
Gonna catch me a freight train.
Gonna leave this town,
Work done got to hard.

She’s gone, but I don’t worry,
I’m sittin’ on top of the world.

One summer day, she went away
Gone and left me, she’s gone to stay.
She’s gone, but I don’t worry,
Cause I’m sittin’ on top of the world.

All last summer, worked on this farm
Had to take Christmas in my overalls.
She’s gone, gone, but I don’t worry, no
Cause I’m sittin’, sittin’ on top of the world.

Going down to the freight yard, yeh, yeh, yeh
Gonna catch me a freight train.
Gonna leave this town, yeh, yeh, yeh
Work done got to hard.

She’s gone, but I don’t worry,
Cause I’m sittin’, I’m sittin’on top of the world.

Written for Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #102.

7 thoughts on “Sitting on Top of the World

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