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Tom Dooley is a folk song from Wilkes County in North Carolina, that by implementing The Kingston Trio in 1958 all of a sudden international fame. The song was a number one hit in many countries and went more than six million copies.
Tom Dooley is a corruption of the name Tom Dula. Dula was a former soldier from the army of the Confederation, which in 1866 his fiancee Laura Foster murdered and then buried. When the neighbors started searching for Laura and accused him of murder, he fled of Wilkes County to Tennessee, where he worked on the farm of James Grayson. Grayson offered help with the arrest of Dula. In the stories he later bandied about Tom Dula grew out to fellow lover. His name is mentioned in the song. Shortly after the arrest was found the corpse of Laura and could start the trial of Dula. If his Defender joined Zebulon Vance , the former (and later) Governor of North Carolina.Both the judge and the Supreme Court of North Carolina Dula condemned to death. He was hanged on 1 May 1868. The case did quite a bit of buzz and there remained always doubts about the exact circumstances of the murder and even on the debt question.
Shortly after the find of Laura's corpse wrote Captain Thomas Land in Wilkes County, a famous poet, a ballad about the murder. The song which goes back the version of The Kingston Trio, was written in 1867, when the process was under way. The maker is unknown. The song shows compassion with both the killer as the victim:
- Hang down your head Tom Dula,
- Hang down your head and cry,
- You killed poor Laura Foster,
- And now you're bound to die.
Different texts were circulating In Wilkes County, but always on the same melody. The first records recording was made in 1929 by Gilliam Banmon Grayson (1887-1930, a cousin of James Grayson), violin and vocals, and Henry Whitter (1892-1941), guitar.  the following that took up the number, was Frank Warner, a collector of American folk songs. He had learned the song of the singer and banjo player Frank Proffitt (1913-1965), who in turn had learned from an aunt, whose mother was Tom Dula and Laura Foster had known personally. In 1938, Warner with a tape recorder a recording of Proffitt. Before he took up the song itself in 1952, he gave the text to the folklorist Alan Lomax, who published him in his bundle Folk Song USA of 1947, but in a truncated version. So is the name of the victim is omitted.
The song was recorded in February 1958 for the first LP album of the trio, which was called simply The Kingston Trio . The plate was a great success and reached the first place in the Billboard Album 200. Two songs from the album were released as first single: Scarlet Ribbons and then Tom Dooley. The latter single was also a huge success in november 1958 and reached the first place in the Billboard Hot 100. 
The song scored high in other countries:
Tom Dooley , the Kingston Trio in 1959 a Grammy Award for the ' Best Country & Western Recording ' on. In 2009, the song was added to the National Recording Registry, at the same time as the version that Frank Proffitt in 1938 had sung on the tape recorder by Frank Warner.
In 1959 the trio put a live version of the song on the LP album Stereo Concert.
In the wake of Tom Dooley took a number of artists a answer song on Merle Kilgore came with Tom Dooley Jr., Russ Hamilton with The Reprieve of Tom Dooley and The Balladeers with Tom Dooley Gets the Last Laugh, in which Tom Dooley putting up survives. In 1959 made the Director Ted Post the movie The Legend of Tom Dooley with The Kingston Trio song as title song. Michael Landon played the role of Tom Dooley.Also the story of the film has little more to do with the reality, al dies Tom Dooley at the end though.
- In addition to Grayson & Whitter and Warner is the number before 1958 also recorded by The Folksay Trio in 1953. The Group took the name in 1956 The Tarriers in 1957 to Tom Dooley took over and again.
- Another early version is that of Paul Clayton from 1956.
- The English singer Lonnie Donegan made in 1958 after The Kingston Trio also a recording of Tom Dooley. Donegan skiffle singer and was in its version is also significantly higher than the rate than that of The Kingston Trio. The plate reached the third place in the UK Singles Chart.
- Line Renaud and Les Compagnons de la chanson names both in 1959 a French-language version on: Fais ta prière, Tom Dooley.
- The song names the Nilsen Brothers in 1959 on in German. The song was seven weeks on first place in the German charts and was then relieved by the version of The Kingston Trio. 
- Bobbejaan Schoepen took a Dutch version in 1959 on.
- The Danish duo Jan & Kjeld in 1959 also brought its own version of the song.
- Frank Proffitt, the man who the song had passed to Alan Lomax, took in 1962 an lp on Traditional Songs and Ballads or Appalachia , with its own version of the song.
- Doc Watson put the song on his first lp Doc Watson. He grabbed it back to the version of Grayson & Whitter.
- The Irish folk group Sweeney's Men took the song for his first lp Sweeney's Men in 1968.
- The Incredible Bongo Band took a parody of Tom Dooley on: Hang Down Your Head Tom Dooley, Your tie's Caught In Your Zipper. The song can be found on the album Return of the Incredible Bongo Bandfrom 1974.
- Macabre took the song for the album Macabre Minstrels: Morbid Campfire Songs from 2002.
- Neil Young made in 2012 along with a Crazy Horse album Americana with a more than eight-minute version of Tom Dooley. The song is called here Tom Dula.
In episode 702 of the tv series Mystery Science Theater 3000 is parodied as Tom Dooley Hang down your head, Tom Dewey. Episode 18 of season 5 of the television series Ally McBeal is called Tom Dooley.Describes the song played by a Mexican band.