Murder Ballad Monday: Olivia Newton-John, “Banks of the Ohio”


I feel guilty about liking this ballad, which I first heard on a Bill Monroe album. In its traditional form, it’s about a man who murders his girlfriend in a seemingly senseless fit of temper, after which he explains that it was because she wouldn’t marry him. This scenario is not so entertaining when you consider how many women are battered and killed by possessive partners. So when I found this Olivia Newton-John version with the genders reversed, I felt a little bit more justified in posting it. But only a little. Violence is bad, m’kay?



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