LONG BLACK VEIL
“Long Black Veil” is a 1959 country ballad about a man suspected of murder. The alleged
refuses to provide an alibi, because he was having an affair with his best friend’s wife at
the time, and would rather die than reveal this. Subsequently, he is executed by hanging,
taking their secret to the grave. The chorus describes the woman’s mourning visits to his
gravesite in her long black veil. The song is sung from the point of view of the executed
Originally recorded in Nashville in 1959 by Lefty Frizzell and produced by Don Law, it
reached #6 on the U.S. Country chart. The song was written by composer and singer
Danny Dill with Marijohn Wilkin in a folk music style in 1959. Wilkin also played piano
on the original recording by Frizzell. The writers later stated that they drew on three
sources for their inspiration: Red Foley‘s recording of “God Walks These Hills With Me”;
a contemporary newspaper report about the unsolved murder of a priest; and the legend
of a mysterious veiled woman who regularly visited Rudolph Valentino‘s grave. Dill
himself called it an “instant folksong”.
Ten years ago on a cold dark night,
someone was killed ‘neath the town hall lights.
There were few at the scene, but they all agreed,
that the slayer who ran looked a lot like me.
She walks these hills, in a long black veil.
She visits my grave, when the night winds wail.
Nobody knows, nobody sees, nobody knows, but me
The Judge said son, what is your alibi,
if you were somewhere else, then you won’t have to die.
I spoke not a word, though it ment my life,
for i’d been in the arms of my best friends wife.
Now the schaffold is high, and eternity’s near.
She stood in the crowd, and shed not a tear.
But some times at night, when the cold wind moans
In a long black veil, she cries over my bones
Chorus ~ She walks these hills, in a long black veil.
When the cold winds blow, and the night winds wail.
No body knows, no body sees.
No body knows, but me