The Ballad Of Ira Hayes Lyrics - Bob Dylan

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Gather round you people and a story I will tell
About a brave young Indian you should remember well
From the tribe of Pima Indians, a proud and a peaceful band
They farmed the Phoenix Valley in Arizona land
Down their ditches for a thousand years the sparkling water rushed
Till their white man stole their water rights and the running water hushed
Now Ira's folks were hungry and their farms wene crops of weeds
But when war came he volunteers and forgot, the white man's greed
Call him, Drunken Ira Hayes, he won't answer anymore
Not the whiskey-drinking Indian or the marine who went to war
Yes, call him, Drunken Ira Hayes, he won't answer anymore
Not the whiskey-drinking Indian or the marine who went to war.

They started up Iwo Jima Hill, 250 men
But only 27 lived to walk back down that hill again
And when the fight was over and the old glory raised
One of the men who held it high was the Indian Ira Hayes
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Call him, Drunken Ira Hayes, he won't answer anymore
Not the whiskey-drinking Indian or the marine who went to war
Call him, Drunken Ira Hayes, he won't answer anymore
Not the whiskey-drinking Indian or the marine who went to war.

Now Ira returned a hero, celebrated throughout the land
He was wined and speeched and honored, everybody shook his hand
But he was just a Pima Indian, no money crops, no chance
And at home nobody cared what Ira had done and the wind did the Indian's dance
Call him, Drunken Ira Hayes, he won't answer anymore
Not the whiskey-drinking Indian or the marine who went to war
Call him, Drunken Ira Hayes, he won't answer anymore
Not the whiskey-drinking Indian or the marine who went to war.

And Ira started drinking hard, jail was often his home
They let him raise the flag there and lower it like you'd throw a dog a bone
He died drunk early one morning, alone in the land he had fought to save
Two inches of water in a lonely ditch was the grave for Ira Hayes
Call him, Drunken Ira Hayes, he won't answer anymore
Not the whiskey-drinking Indian or the marine who went to war
Yes, call him, Drunken Ira Hayes, he won't answer anymore
Not the whiskey-drinking Indian or the marine who went to war.

Yes, call him, Drunken Ira Hayes, but his land is still as dry
And his ghost is lying thirsty in the ditch where Ira died
Call him, Drunken Ira Hayes, he won't answer anymore
Not the whiskey-drinking Indian or the marine who went to war
Yes, call him, Drunken Ira Hayes, he won't answer anymore
Not the whiskey-drinking Indian or the marine who went to war.








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Moving tribute to a forgotten hero | Reviewer: Steve Borrow | 3/21/2008

This haunting ballad recounts the story of forgotten Native American war hero, Corporal Ira Hayes, who died penniless and forgotten in 1955, a decade after featuring in the famous flag hoisting photograph following the victory at Iwo Jima. The story of that photo and the fate of Ira Hayes is movingly presented in the Clint Eastwood directed film, Flag of Our Fathers.

The song is the one redeeming feature of Bob Dylan otherwise forgettable 1973 LP, Dylan. It is not a Dylan original, but composed by Peter Lafarge, also Native American, who was a talented singer, songwriter and actor, and an important member of the Greenwich Village folk movement in the 1960s. It was recorded by Johnny Cash way back in 1964, a year before Peter’s tragic death at the age of 34.





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------ Performed by Bob Dylan

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