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Jimmy Dean’s P.T. 109

P.T. 109 by Jimmy Dean

Pop Songs

The song, written by Marijohn Wilking and Fred Burch, tells the story  PT-109 (Patrol Torpedo boat), which was sliced in half by the Japanese destroyer Amagiri during World War II on August 1, 1943.  Lieutenant, Junior Hrade John F. Kennedy commanded PT-109 and helped to save his surviving crew. In 1962, the song went to #8 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, #2 on the Hot Country Singles chart, and #2 on the Easy Listening chart. Dean had a #1 hit with “Big Bad John” in 1961, and you can hear a reference to that song at the end of “P.T. 109.”

Here are the lyrics to “P.T. 109” by Jimmy Dean:

In ’43 they put to sea, thirteen men and Kennedy
Aboard the P.T. 109, to fight the brazen enemy
And off the isle of ol’ Lusana, in the strait beyond Nehru
A Jap destroyer in the night cut the ‘109 in two

Smoke and fire upon the sea
Everywhere they looked was the enemy
The heathen gods of old Japan
Yeah, the thought they had the best of a mighty good man

And on the coast of Kolombangaro, looking through his telescope
Australian Evans saw the battle for the crew had little hope
Two were dead, some were wounded, all were clinging to the bow
Fighting fire and a-fighting water trying to save their lives somehow

Smoke and fire upon the sea
Everywhere they looked was the enemy
The heathen gods of old Japan
Yeah, they thought they had the best of a mighty good man

McMahon the Irishman was burned so badly, he couldn’t swim
Leave me, here go on, he said ’cause if you don’t we’ll all be dead
The PT skipper couldn’t leave him, a man to die alone at sea
And with a strap between his teeth, he towed the Irishman through the sea

Smoke and fire upon the sea
Everywhere they looked was the enemy
The heathen gods of old Japan
Yeah, they thought they had the best of a mighty good man

He led his men through waters dark, rocky reefs and hungry sharks
Braved the enemy’s bayonets, a .38 hung ’round his neck
Four more days and four more nights a rescue boat pulled into sight
The P.T. 109 was gone but Kennedy and his crew lived on

Now who could guess or who could possibly know
That this same man named Kennedy

Would be the leader of the nation, be the one to take command?
The P.T. 109 was gone but Kennedy lived to fight again

Smoke and fire upon the sea
Everywhere they looked was the enemy
But JFK and his crew lived on

Which proves it’s hard to get the best of a man named John

For More Golden Oldies Music

The Daily Doo Wop Rec Room has daily featured doo wop music, rock and roll hits, R&B, or rockabilly songs that were hits during the first era of rock and roll (that is, from about 1952 until the British invasion in 1964). After a song is featured, it then goes into the juke box. You are welcome to listen to any of the 40+ selections there. Every weekend, there is a Golden Oldies Juke Box Saturday Night, and the juke box is full of song requests from the 1950s and 1960s.

Please click here for the Daily Doo Wop YouTube channel, to which you can subscribe. Thank you for stopping by The Daily Doo Wop. Hope you enjoyed “P.T. 109” by Jimmy Dean.

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