#1072: Igmoo by Stonewall Jackson

Peak Month: July 1959
5 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN chart
Peak Position #9
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 #95

In 1959 country and western singer, Stonewall Jackson, had a Top Ten hit in the spring of that year called “Waterloo” that spent 13 weeks on the record survey on CKWX peaking at #4. Jackson was born in Tabor City, North Carolina, about 35 miles northwest of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, on the border dividing the Carolinas. After serving for four years in the US Navy, Stonewall Jackson moved to Nashville and in time he got an audition with the Grand Ole Opry. He got a break when he recorded a song written by George Jones called “Life to Go“. The song Stonewall Jackson sung was from the perspective of a murderer who has been in jail for eighteen years and will remain for life. It peaked in 1958 at #2 on the Billboard Country chart.

Stonewall was named after the Confederate General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson. After the US Civil War of 1861-65, Stonewall Jackson became an iconic figure of the Lost Cause of the Confederate South and a romantic view of slavery most famously portrayed in the movie Gone With the Wind. This view held that with slavery, slaves were ‘family’ and slavery was just a way of bringing Christianity to illiterate negroes and providing them a better way of life prior to the Civil War than after African-Americans gained the right to be free from slavery. General Stonewall Jackson is remembered throughout the states of the Old South, including West Virginia’s Stonewall Jackson State Park, and in Virginia’s state holiday, Lee-Jackson Day. The towns of Stonewall in Virginia, North Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas and Kentucky are named in his honor, as are Jackson County in Oklahoma and Stonewall County in Texas. Country singer Stonewall Jackson’s being named after a Confederate general was all part of a way of honoring the “noble cause” of the South against the greedy North during the Civil War. Stonewall was not an uncommon name given to a male child in the Deep South after the Civil War and during the years of Jim Crow and racial segregation.

 

Stonewall Jackson - Igmoo(The Pride Of South Central High) 45 (Columbia Canada).jpg

Two four six eight!
Who do we appreciate!
Igmoo! Igmoo! we love Igmoo!

With his jeans swung low
Hangin’ on his hips
Last night’s lipstick still upon his lips
Who makes the girls all do backover flips
Igmoo the pride, of South Central High

It’s the morning class looking like a ‘rangutan
Twelve minutes after the last bell has rang
The girls all sigh, “ain’t he the cutest thing?”
Igmoo the pride, of South Central High

Then it’s Saturday’s big game
When the band begins to play
And the scores are all the same
Who’s the guy that saves the day? (Igmoo! )

With his football suit hanging on his hips
Last night’s lipstick still upon his lips
Who makes the girls all do backover flips
Igmoo, the pride of South Central High

Who names a child Igmoo? Unlike Stonewall Jackson who was named after a Confederate general, his song about Igmoo is an enigma. A search for baby names on several sites results in a “no name found” outcome. Is Igmoo just an very rare name for someone who might live in the back country in the Deep South? Did Igmoo seem like a funny name to tell a story about cause the name sounded like igloo? All we can tell from the song is that he looks like the reddish-brown orangutan, an ape cousin of the gorilla, which might come in handy as he’d be formidable on the football field. Igmoo saves the day when he plays football for South Central High School and he has all the girls in the school all do backflips. At the very least, Igmoo was exotic and very kissable. The song peaked at #95 on the Billboard Hot 100, but it climbed into the Top Ten to #9 in Vancouver on the CFUN chart.

Stonewall Jackson pretty much disappeared from the pop charts after Igmoo. But between 1958 and 1971 he had 35 Top 40 hits on the Billboard Country charts. This included his teen tragedy tune “BJ the DJ” that went to #1 on the country charts in 1964. Jackson has been a member of the Grande Ole Opry since 1956 and settled a lawsuit out-of-court against the Opry for age discrimination in 2008. He became a member of the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame in 2012 and lives in Tennessee.

For more song reviews visit the Countdown.

Sign Up For Our Newsletter