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Man Who Shot Liberty Valance Lyrics

Artist: Gene Pitney


When Liberty Valance rode to town the womenfolk would hide, they'd hide
When Liberty Valance walked around the men would step aside
'cause the point of a gun was the only law that Liberty understood
When it came to shootin' straight and fast---he was mighty good.

>From out of the East a stranger came, a law book in his hand, a man
The kind of a man the West would need to tame a troubled land
'cause the point of a gun was the only law that Liberty understood
When it came to shootin' straight and fast---he was mighty good.

Many a man would face his gun and many a man would fall
The man who shot Liberty Valance, he shot Liberty Valance
He was the bravest of them all.

The love of a girl can make a man stay on when he should go, stay on
Just tryin' to build a peaceful life where love is free to grow
But the point of a gun was the only law that Liberty understood
When the final showdown came at last, a law book was no good.

Alone and afraid she prayed that he'd return that fateful night, aww that night
When nothin' she said could keep her man from goin' out to fight
>From the moment a girl gets to be full-grown the very first thing she learns
When two men go out to face each other only one retur-r-r-ns

Everyone heard two shots ring out, a shot made Liberty fall
The man who shot Liberty Valance, he shot Liberty Valance
He was the bravest of them all.

The man who shot Liberty Valance, he shot Liberty Valance
He was the bravest of them all.
Comments/Interpretations
by Preston Pena on 6/5/2008 2:40pm
A terrific ballad , put to song , about a fictional account of a legendary confrontation between good and evil in the Old West .
The lyrics are superbly descriptive and the melody hauntingly memorable . A standard that will stand the test of time .
by Annie sue on 7/12/2008 11:21pm
Great only tho in teh moive the man who show liberty valance john wyanes person did not jimmy stewart
so it should have a verse doing
Soon we found out that he did't shoot him it was whoever johnwyane played so the eastman was not the braverst of them all it was whoever john wyane played.
but overalll pretty good
by JOE WALLBANK on 8/10/2008 1:05am
I THINK THIS SONG WAS SO GOOD I HAD A SCREAMING HOT ORGASM IN MY DOGS FOOD BOWL
by Patricia Gwatkin-Higson on 11/3/2008 10:20pm
I'm doing this song is a year six play and, when ever I hear it, it get's stuck in my head for days after!
by Chris on 12/4/2008 11:04am
My parents had this song on 8-Track when I was a kid. I used to make them play it all the time in 70's. Still a great song and lots of fun to listen to.
by Charlz on 12/19/2008 8:03pm
This song is more addictive than crystal meth mixed with heroin and crack spread on Lays potato chips and soaked in habit-forming sleep aides.
by therese lentz on 1/11/2009 11:36am
hey you guys,

in the last chorus, you wrote "a shot may made Liberty fall". It's "what" shot, not 'a' shot. the point of the movie is that everyone thinks jimmy stewart's character shot LV. that's why he gets the girl, the government appointment, full and complete happiness except that he knows it's john wayne's character that kills LV. sooo, "everyone heard TWO shots ring out, WHAT shot made Liberty fall?" It's a question. thanks for reading.
by Doug Weirich on 1/27/2009 9:00am
I'm glad to see the last writer got the point of the whole story behind the song. Jimmy Stewart's character was mighty brave for standing up to LV; but his life (and his whole future) depended on the "real shot that killed LV." It's a great story and a great song as well.
by Rusty Sunshine on 3/14/2009 2:50pm
The way I see it, we had two examples of courage here. Each man was out of his comfort zone. The lawyer picked up a gun because no-one else would and risked losing his life. The gunman hid in the shadows and didn't seek attention for himself; he had made it a point not to borrow someone else's trouble, but this time he got involved and eliminated a varmit. And for that he lost the centerpiece of his life. And we are left to understand that he was privately enraged about his loss, but never breathed a word to anyone. This was the lawyer's fight, not the shooter's. The shooter could have kept what he wanted most, and he lost it to another man for doing the right thing. One lesson I took from this is the cost of decency. Life's not fair, and decency isn't cheap.
by Darius on 5/14/2009 8:28pm
Kudos on a fine analysis Rusty. I like this song so much I'm adding it to my repertoire.
by Ron Phoenix on 5/25/2009 4:24pm
This song is one of the all time best Western Ballads. Few know that the song is NOT from the movie soundtrack. It was released after the John Ford's movie was completed. Too bad Ford couldn't have incorporated into the film later. The song and the movie examine 2 opposites that, in reflection, share a common virtue, namely courage in the face of evil, each risking what he values most (the rule of law & a man's love for a woman).
by Marsha in Indiana on 7/31/2009 1:33pm
How can you lose? John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart, Lee Marvin, and a Gene Pitney song! Love it!! The cruel and dark Liberty, the sad and dark Tom, the mild and optimistic Ransom, and the "prickly" cactus flower, Hallie. What a character study! This song is so superb--Gene had to love this movie as a vehicle for his melody and lyrics about two guys who are destined to fight it out, and the inevitable love between Hallie and Ranson. Too bad Gene's song never made it into the movie. I have it on my iPod, so it's all good!
by Duane M. Peterson on 8/16/2009 2:23pm
I love the song and the movie. John Wayne is my hero. The best line in the film was "Try it Liberty. Just Try it." The music in the ballad is damn good, I can hear both the music and the lyrics in my head.
by Kurt in New Jersey on 10/16/2009 10:21am
I have a great respect for the Ford Westerns and always thought this movie didn't get a fair shake by the critics. It's a classic good vs evil, and the song, although slightly different from the theme of the story line is hauntingly mystical. "That was my steak Valance" is my favorite line.
by Ken from SE Pennsylvania on 12/4/2009 11:10am
Both the movie and the Gene Pitney song are outstanding. And Ransom Stoddard was truly
teh bravest of them all" because he went out to face a cowardly bully, bever having shot a gun until John Wayne's charater tried to teach him. And yes, it was John Wayne's character that shot Liberty Valance from a darkened alley, Wayne's character knew he could take Valance out, but he alos knew Stoddard was man enough to stand up for the town when no man from the town had that same courage. Here is a life-lesson from which all could learn the meaning of defending the defenseless when cowardly bullies move in to take advantage of the weak. This was very much the theme of many good westerns, such as "The Magnificent Seven" or the long running series "Gunsmoke."
by Brian from Nebraska on 2/9/2010 12:25am
Don't forget the John Wayne movie El Dorado, which is my favorite john Wayne movie of all time. Favorite part is when they make the drunken sheriff unable to drink anymore liquor with gun powder and a few other things in a drink that they force down his throat! well, that and the fight scene lol!
by Guy from St. Paul on 2/22/2010 10:06pm
can you believe it was written by Burt Bachrach and Hal David?
by peggy on 4/19/2010 5:09pm
The movie should be remade...it has a great story and is a classic

As for the song, yeah it should be incorperated into the remake

Should be Christian Bale and Russel Crow again like in 3:10 to Yuma :)
by inugami on 5/20/2010 7:57pm
Wrong Annie...Jimmy was the bravest. He faced Liberty in a fair(?) fight he couldn't hope to win turning his back on what he thought was right (the rule of law). John Wayns stood in the shadows and shot a man in cold blood turning his back on the things he believed to be right.
by lucyy on 8/21/2010 5:58am
i love this song, i used to know it obh coz my dad and me used to sing along in the car :P i decided to watch the movie one day it was on telly, and tbh i think the song pretty matched up with the movie, and as therese said the last part is a question its reverting attention to john waynes character, who essentialy is 'the bravest of them all' talked about in the song' but you could rival that the lawyer is the bravest, but both characters stood to loose everything so should be given equal praise. and i was very disappointed that it wasnt in the soundtrack, i sat and watched till the very end of the credits :o reake would be epic if done right :)
by Listen on 9/6/2010 11:50pm
Listen to Cary Sheldon sing it with the Henry Kaiser Band on archive.org.
by Frith on 9/27/2010 12:36am
This song is indeed unforgetable. Pitney has such a hauntingly beautiful voice, long vocalizations, inflections, etc. I haven't heard this song since about 1962, which is when I lost my hearing. 50 years later I still "hear" every nuance of that beautiful voice and the lyrics of this song.
by Timothy on 11/25/2010 11:34pm
John Wayne was the bravest, because he shot Liberty Valence, saved James Stewart and made the town safe -- at great cost. He knew he was giving up the woman and his dreams.

It was Wayne's rifle shot, and not Stewart's pathetic attempt with the pistol, that terminated Valence. That made the rule of law possible, and Wayne knew that Stewart would get the credit. That's why he fired from concealment.
by IDT on 4/17/2011 6:20am
I read somewhere with interest that John Ford could not stand the song and when it was presented to him with a proposal that it should be incorporated in the movie he refused point blank and blanked it completely.
by Law2001 on 5/10/2011 8:26pm
Rush Limbaugh played a parody of Bin Laden vs Obama. Here are some paraphrases: ...when it came to shooting straight and fast Obama was no good...Obama brought people from the left for a trial, but the only law that Bin Laden understood was at the point of a gun...(Obama voice says)I had to get these people out on a weekend, somebody promised me a fruit cup, where is the fruit cup?...
by WillyD on 8/13/2011 12:47pm
Wrong inugami. LV was a monster and thats how you kill monsters.
by steve w on 9/3/2011 4:00pm
Regarding Peggy's suggesting a remake. It cannot be remade properly. Nobody can act the part like John Wayne

by Bern on 10/3/2011 7:04pm
Love the song, knew the words by heart for lo these many years. That being said, think the movie is even better. So many shades of grey as they say. So glad Hallie put the cactus rose on Tom's casket at the end and admitted it openly to Ranse: great love triangle. Favorite line: "Think back, pilgrim."
by Susan on 11/1/2011 2:58pm
Great song, great movie. Had to buy the DVD. TCM will televise it but not often. "That's my steak. You, Liberty, you pick it up."
by Jon on 11/1/2011 3:01pm
No remakes please. Nothing's too good for the man who shot Liberty Valance.
by Herb on 11/26/2011 3:45pm
This song is one of my all time favorites.
by Gunostalgia on 2/6/2012 5:54am
Long before it became a worn out saying, "No good deed goes un-punished" is the moral of this story.
All the events that took place hinged on the fact that John Wayne's character saved the life of Stewart's character by shootin' Liberty with the Winchester. Greatest western ever made, never will be duplicated.
by epepper on 7/2/2012 6:33pm
I don't think I could pick up a steak for anybody. John Wayne was not necessarily a good actor, he was a good character for the parts he was chosen to play. A remake would most likely screw the story line up. People can't leave a good thing alone.
by jtb162psu on 9/16/2012 12:34am
The song is not in the movie.
by michelle limbert on 11/5/2012 6:00pm
i really think that he was singing about a man who shot liberty valance
but i really like this song my step dad has the record
by Jim H on 4/18/2013 5:42pm
Great version of this song by James Taylor, much more contemplative and wistful than Gene Pitney's.
by stu Morrison on 6/10/2013 5:41am
Great song.classic line up of "Western" actors. An age old question spanning ALL WESTERNS, How do you draw,aim and fire a frontier colt FAST and still hit what you aim at?
by Jedi Knight on 9/11/2013 10:48am
inugami introduces a valid point for consideration, although I don't agree with the "in cold blood" assessmet. If Tom Donovan hadn't sot ad killed LV, the every-man hero, portayed by Stewart, would have surely died. Ths is a seldom, if ever, seen sequence in clssic westerns.
by John H. on 9/22/2013 7:36am
I am not a John Wayne fan. his movies are all the same. Kill the bad guy and get the girl. Ho hum.
But Jimmy Stewart and Lee Marvin are always good amd Wayne does not get the girl. Andy Divine was in this one as Link Appleyard the Sheriff afraid of his shadow. Pompey was Tom Donovan's black sidekick a rare combination for an early 60's movie. The Big Country is a better western but this one was novel for its time with a twist at the end.
by Tlyna on 9/28/2013 6:04pm
Wrong John H. Watch Donovan's Reef and The Quiet Man. Both are very different.
by Robert Wallace on 10/29/2013 12:31pm
Liberty Valance though a bad boy hero was gay. Thats why John Wayne shot him. It was over the bartender
by Destry on 1/20/2014 10:37pm
It was George Bush's fault!
by Linda P. on 6/28/2014 7:53pm
Thanks a lot.Heard this song on oldies station.Hadn't heard it in awhile.Jogged my memory,and had to know all the words.
by Joan Lawson on 7/20/2014 9:49pm
Stu Morrison look up SASS.....find a club near you then go see people shooting 1860's - 1890's guns with real ammo....then your question will be answered.


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