Do You Know All Of These Classic Fiddle Tunes Mentioned During Johnny’s Solo In “Devil Went Down To Georgia?”

Charlie Daniels
Charlie Daniels

By now everybody knows the story of Johnny and his epic fiddle battle with the devil.

The Charlie Daniels classic “The Devil Went Down To Georgia” was not only his biggest hit, but also remains a country music staple and one that’s frequently mentioned among the greatest country songs of all time.

By now pretty much everybody (at least everybody reading this) knows all the words to the song. But did you realize that Johnny’s fiddle solo is actually a tribute to some of the classic fiddle tunes that came before it?

Now, there’s a lot of debate over whether Johnny ACTUALLY won the battle. But when you dig a little deeper, you realize that the guy definitely knew his fiddle songs.

It all starts with Johnny’s intro to his fiddle solo:

“Fire on the mountain, run boys run
The devil’s in the house of the rising sun
Chicken in the bread pan pickin’ out dough
Granny does your dog bite, no child no”

And these aren’t just random words that are thrown together: They’re all allusions to well-known fiddle tunes.

“Fire on the mountain, run boys run” is a tribute to the 19th century bluegrass song “Fire On the Mountain.”

And “Devil’s in the house of the rising sun” is, of course, a reference to “House of the Rising Sun,” a folk song that dates back to the early 1900s in Appalachia but likely goes back even further than that to 17th century Europe. The song has since been transformed from a folk song to a more bluesy version that was made most famous by The Animals, but it has its roots firmly in Appalachian bluegrass.

Then we get to “Chicken in the bread pan, pickin’ out dough,” which is a line from a song by Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys called “Ida Red.”

“Chicken in the bread tray, pecking out doughGranny will ya dog bite no child noHurry up boys and don’t fool aroundGrab your partner and truck on down”

And in addition to being a line from “Ida Red,” “Granny does your dog bite” is also a tribute to another traditional folk tune, “Granny, Will Your Dog Bite,” which was recorded by the Floyd Country Ramblers way back in 1931 and has since been included in the Library of Congress.

The entire song is full of Easter eggs paying tribute to some of the great fiddle music of the past – little nuggets that casual fans probably won’t catch.

That’s just part of what makes it such a timeless classic.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock