A traditional American folk tune, “Man of Constant Sorrow” was first put to paper in 1913. Fourteen years later, in 1927, the song was recorded. However, it took decades for it to bloom and its fame to peak.
Its popularity even soared when it was one of the main songs featured in the 2000 film O Brother, Where Art Thou? This song was first published by Dick Burnett, a partially blind fiddler from Kentucky. Originally, this folk song was called “Farewell Song” as named in Burnett’s songbook circa 1913. And in 1928, Emry Arthur’s recording of the song paved the way to the song’s current title.
The Rise and Popularity of the Song
“Man of Constant Sorrow” was even more popularized when vocalist Dan Tyminski rendered his Grammy-winning rendition. It is the version that most people know and are familiar with today. It is logical to be an award-winning song since it was the main part of the story of O Brother, Where Art Thou? in which it was performed numerous times in the film.
The first time that the song plays is when the three lead characters stop by a recording studio. Since they are escaped criminals, they decide to record a song using the name the Soggy Bottom Boys. Much to their surprise, the song ends up becoming a huge hit.
Later in the film, the Soggy Bottom Boys perform the song in disguise at a campaign event. The crowd goes wild for their performance and the boys have a fun time cutting up on stage.
During the scene, characters Pete and Delmar dance behind lead singer Everett whenever it isn’t their turn to step up to the mic. Even though they wore disguises, the fellas decided to throw caution to the wind at some point by lifting their hats and playing with their fake beards.
All of this made for what was one of the most comedic scenes in the movie.
The Patrol Officers Act
Both performances of “Man of Constant Sorrow” in O Brother, Where Art Thou? are instantly recognizable. So when some North Carolina State Highway Patrol officers decided to use the song for a lip sync challenge video, they clearly studied the scenes so they could mimic them.
In case you didn’t know, a challenge has been going around on social media between various police departments. The point of the challenge is for the officers to lip sync to a popular song and record a video to go along with it. Many of these videos have gone viral and for good reasons.
The North Carolina State Highway Patrol definitely caught some attention with their “Man of Constant Sorrow” lip sync, mainly because they expertly mirrored the two scenes from the movie. These officers deserve a pat on the back for a job well done. Their video is so entertaining, you can’t help but sing along!
Watch them here:
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Man of Constant Sorrow, North Carolina State Highway Patrol officers