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Buck Owens and the Buckaroos talks of a cautionary tale in “I’ve Got a Tiger By the Tail”

Buck Owens and the Buckaroos +I've Got a Tiger By the Tail

Buck Owens and the Buckaroos made the song “I’ve Got a Tiger By the Tail” famous when it was released in December 1964. The song’s structure is the classic Western style with a memorable hook that sticks even after being heard. An idea sparked when Buck Owens saw the company slogan of the gas station Esso, “Put a tiger in your tank.” After he got an idea, the rest was history. 

In February 1965, “I’ve Got a Tiger By the Tail” was the sixth number-one hit of Buck Owens and the Buckaroos on the Billboard magazine Hot Country Singles Chart. It is also one of Buck Owens’ best hits on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at 25. The song was inducted in 1999 into the Grammy Hall of Fame. 

Meaning Behind The Song

“I’ve Got a Tiger By the Tail” describes a man’s relationship with a wild, unpredictable woman. As he compares her to a tiger, he feels as though she is tiring him out. He says his weight is slipping, and his health is deteriorating because of his partner’s behavior. 

The lyrics suggest that his partner is dragging him into a lifestyle he can’t keep up with. She keeps luring him into a world of bright lights and a frenzied pace. Feeling helpless, he is tossed around by things beyond his control. 

RELATED: Buck Owens’ “Act Naturally,” The Song That Established His Name

It’s a song that tells a cautionary tale about the reality of getting caught up in a whirlwind romance and the trouble that comes with biting off more than one can chew. 

Check out the legendary Buck Owens and the Buckaroos’ fun spin on an otherwise serious topic on a whirlwind romance in this music video of “I’ve Got a Tiger By the Tail.” 

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