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The Shocking Meaning Behind The Kingston Trio’s ‘Tom Dooley’

The Kingston Trio Tom Dooley

The song was considered to be the first ever hit song by the band The Kingston Trio. ‘Tom Dooley’ was able to hit the charts landing at no. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. Other than that, the song was also able to appear in both the Billboard R&B chart and Cashbox Country Music Top 20.

The song was sung by many artists before The Kingston Trio. However, the band’s version was considered to be the most successful of them all. 

There were a lot of speculations about who was behind the artistic words of the song’s lyrics. Throughout the years, sources were able to introduce different names of songwriters. 

But, one of the earliest ones recorded was Thomas Land, a poet who was known to have written the first poem about the inspiration behind the song. But, reports said that the song was written by Frank Warren and the folklorists John and Alan Lomax.

There is no doubt that the song is one of the greatest throughout the century. But if you’re wondering what is actually the meaning behind the song? Then we’ve got you covered. 

Meaning Behind the Song 

Many people, not only those from North Carolina, listen to this well-known North Carolina folk tune.

You won’t believe it, though, because the backstory of this top-charting song is dark and unsettling. Consequently, it ranks among the most intriguing tunes ever created. The words of the song were inspired by true accounts of events from North Carolinians.

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The song was about Tom Dula, whom people frequently call “Tom Dooley.” The song revolves around the story of Tom Dooley’s murder of Laura Foster, his lover’s cousin. 

It was stated that Tom was actually in love with Anne Foster, who is Laura’s cousin. And since Tom and Laura fell in love with each other one day, when Laura was on her way to meet Tom, she never came home alive ever again.

It was believed that Anne might have killed her cousin over jealousy. But on some other accounts, Tom was said to have murdered Laura when he found out she was bearing their unborn child.

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Nonetheless, this true-to-life event was eventually turned into a folk legend due to the national publicity it got from papers all throughout the country. 

So, if you want to spice up your playlist, then you might want to check out The Kingston Trio’s version of the song “Tom Dooley.” You may view it down below.