Today we listened to the song “Sixteen Tons,” and talked about how we might interpret the lyrics to tell us something about cultural stories of coal mining.
Here’s a website that gives some insight into the history of the song, why it was written, how it became popular, and why it was controversial.
Here’s a YouTube video that provides the version of the song as performed by Tennessee Ernie Ford, which is the one we listened to in class.
We focused on two questions:
- What do Travis’ lyrics suggest about what it’s like to work in a coal mine?
- How do Travis’ lyrics connect with what was said in our early Working readings about the culture of working-class life?