On This Date: Buck Owens’ ‘I’ve Got A Tiger By The Tail’ Was Topping The Country Album Chart In 1965

Buck Owens smiling in front of a magazine

Man, I love me some Buck Owens.

“I’ve Got A Tiger By The Tail” was the first song I’d ever heard by him and it’s stuck with me forever.

I was actually at a Sunoco gas station with my mom and they were passing out wearable tiger tails and for some reason we turned the radio on and that song was playing. I know it sounds untrue, but I promise you it happened… what makes my story ever weirder, Buck once said he got the idea for the song because he heard a slogan for Esso, a gas station, which was “Put a tiger in your tank.”

Anyway…

“I’ve Got A Tiger By The Tail” was the title track to his 1965 album which went to Number One on the Country Charts and was actually named Billboard’s first ever Country Album Of The Year. It also contained “Cryin’ Time,” one of his most underrated songs by far.

“I’ve Got A Tiger By The Tail” is classic Buck… a funny spin on a serious subject. In the song, he’s dating a woman who’s dragging him through life and running him absolutely ragged.

He knows it’s going to end poorly, but is helpless to stop it.

Well, every night you drag me where the bright lights are found
There ain’t no way to slow you down
I’m about as helpless as a leaf in a gale
And it looks like I’ve got a tiger by the tail

I’ve got a tiger by the tail, it’s plain to see
I won’t be much when you get through with me
Well I’m a-losing weight and I’m turning mighty pale
Looks like I’ve got a tiger by the tail.”

Bucks Owens is an absolute legend of the genre and deserves more respect than he gets.

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