“Jeopardy!” icon Ken Jennings appreciates a good pop culture reference, even if it’s nearly a hundred years old. And his recent tweet took shots at all the songwriters of the past century.
Jennings accuses the pop music industry of struggling to write anything as good as the 1928 Harry McClintock classic, “Big Rock Candy Mountain.”
A folk song from the early twentieth century, “Big Rock Candy Mountain” has some serious staying power. Obscure as the “Jeopardy!” stars knowledge and that era of early music can be, most will have heard the familiar tune. McClintock’s song follows along as a wandering hobo describes a paradise “where the handouts grow on bushes.”
In the opening scene of “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” the song plays as the main characters escape from a chain gang.
The fourth verse of the song goes:
“In the Big Rock Candy Mountains
You never change your socks
And the little streams of alcohol
Come trickling down the rocks
The brakemen have to tip their hats
And the railroad bulls are blind
There’s a lake of stew
And of whiskey too
You can paddle all around them
In a big canoe
In the Big Rock Candy Mountains”
The “Jeopardy!” legend’s Twitter following naturally had to chime in on the hot take.
“honestly lakes of stew and whiskey too is what modern pop music is missing.,” one Twitter user replied to the “Jeopardy!” star.
‘Jeopardy!’ Ken Jennings’ Song Reference Is A Real Place
McClintock’s song mentions cigarette trees, dogs with rubber teeth, and cops with wooden legs. But despite all of the whimsical details, “Big Rock Candy Mountain” is a very real place.
The colorful hills of south-central Utah were named by railroad workers in the late 19th century. One of those workers just so happened to be Harry McClintock himself. His catchy tune describing the location gained major popularity in the late 1930s, and it made the hills along the Sevier River a major tourist destination.
Hopefully “Jeopardy!” legend Ken Jennings’ call out can finally inspire a better song.