HE WAS A FRIEND OF MINE

Posted on Posted in Breedloves's Folk Songs

HE WAS A FRIEND OF MINE

“He Was a Friend of Mine” is a traditional folk song in which the singer laments the
death of a friend. It has been recorded by Bob Dylan, The Byrd’s, Dave Van Ronk, Bobby
Bare, Mercury Rev, The Mitchell Trio, Willie Nelson, Nanci Griffith and Cat Power. The
version recorded by Willie Nelson was used in the film Brokeback Mountain and is
credited to Dylan, who arranged an early version of the tune in 1962. In the Byrds’
version, John F. Kennedy was the friend whose death was lamented. The melody is
changed considerably and Roger McGuinn takes a songwriter’s credit. Dave Van Ronk
sang the song at the memorial concert for Phil Ochs in New York City’s Madison Square
Garden Felt Forum in May 1976, after Ochs’ suicide.
He was a friend of mine
He was a friend of mine
Every time I think about him now
Lord I just can’t keep from cryin’
‘Cause he was a friend of mine
He died on the road
He died on the road
He never had enough money
To pay his room or board
And he was a friend of mine
I stole away and cried
I stole away and cried
‘Cause I never had too much money
And I never been quite satisfied
And he was a friend of mine
He never done no wrong
He never done no wrong
A thousand miles from home
And he never harmed no one
And he was a friend of mine
He was a friend of mine
He was a friend of mine
Every time I hear his name
Lord I just can’t keep from cryin’
‘Cause he was a friend of mine.