The song that introduced a generation to English folk music

If you grew up in America in the 1960’s, your first exposure to old English traditional music was most likely this version of John Barleycorn Must Die by the English band Traffic.

The character of John Barleycorn in the song is a personification of the important cereal crop barley and of the alcoholic beverages made from it, beer and whisky. In the song, John Barleycorn is represented as suffering indignities, attacks and death that correspond to the various stages of barley cultivation, such as reaping and malting.

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