Big Bad Bill (Is Sweet William Now)

Words & Music by Jack Yellen and Milton Ager, 1924
Recorded by Leon Redbone, 1978

D      A7      D       B7
In the town of Louie-ville

E7     Bm7-5            G   G/F# E7
Lived a man they called Big Bad Bill;

A7        Em7      G    A7  A7+5  	D
I want to tell you,  he sure was tough --

   Cdim           Em7         A7
He certainly did strut that stuff.

D      A7      D        B7
He had folks scared to death;

E7           Bm7-5      G   G/F#    E7
When he walked by they held their breath.

E7       Bm7-5    E7  Em7/9 Fdim   A7
He was a fightin' man, sure  e - nough.

G             B7        E7
Now Bill took himself a wife,

G/B      A7    G/B  Cdim  A7
Just to lead a dif'frent life.

D   Em7  D   A7   G   Em7  A7  D    G  D  A7
Big Bad Bill is Sweet William now;

D   Em7  D   A7   D     Cdim      A7
Married life has changed him somehow.

G        G/F#          Em7         Gdim
He's the man that they all used to fear

         D              F#7         B7        
Now the people call him sweet Papa Willy Dear

E7            Bm7-5   B7    E7
Stronger than Samson, I declare,

      A7           G/B     A7          Em7   A7
Til a soft-skinned Delilah bobbed his hair.

D   Em7  D   A7      D   Em7  A7  D     G  D  A7
Big Bad Bill don't fight an - y - more;

D     Em7   D    A7  D          F#7     B7
Wash - es dish - es and he mops up the floor.

G                 Em7       C#7
Used to spend his ev'nings lookin' for a fight;

D               F#7           B7
Now he's got to see his momma ev'ry night.

G        Em7    A7    Em7  A7  D
Big Bad Bill is Sweet William now.

Thanks once again to frequent visitor Mal Ginn -- for the request, the audio source, and even a chart to work from. I transposed it and then fiddled with it a good deal more than necessary (to tell the truth, it didn't need tweaking, but I can't leave anything alone.) I did take a couple of liberties with the lyrics, relying in part on a Doris Day version that is slightly more politically correct.

The lyric and guitar chord transcriptions on this site are the work of The Guitarguy and are intended for private study, research, or educational purposes only. Individual transcriptions are inspired by and and based upon the recorded versions cited, but are not necessarily exact replications of those recorded versions.