Jim Reeves – Distant Drums

Originally recorded by Reeves  in 1961,  and subsequently by others, it is the redubbed Jim Reeves version of “Distant Drums” which is considered the definitive version.

On this the 50th anniversary of the song reaching No.1 and holding that position on the hit parade for 5 weeks  – it is remembered.

Distant Drums provided Reeves with his only UK No. 1 hit – posthumously –  some two years after his death in a plane crash in July 1964.

Composed by prolific Texan singer and song writer Cindy Walker it had been dismissed by both the RCA record company and Chet Atkins as unsuitable for wider public release.

The song’s success is considered as being possibly due to the continuation of  the Vietnam War and an increased public awareness of that conflict.

The song’s lyrics talk of the desire of a soldier wanting to marry his beloved Mary quickly  before he is called to battle.

The song stayed in the UK Singles Chart for almost a full year  – 45 weeks.

The single also topped the US country chart for four weeks, becoming his most successful posthumous single.

Lyrics

I hear the sound of distant drums
Far away, far away
And if they call for me to come
Then I must go and you must stay

So Mary marry me, let’s not wait
Let’s share all the time we can before it’s too late
Love me now for now is all the time there may be
If you love me Mary, Mary marry me

I hear the sound of bugles blow
Far away, far away
And if they call, then I must go
Across the sea, so wild and grey.

So Mary marry me, let’s not wait
For the distant drums might change our wedding date
And love me now, for now is all the time there may be
If you love me Mary, Mary marry me

Written by Cindy Walker • Copyright © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

 

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