Pop Life

John Wayne: Let The Duke Be Your Muse, Pilgrim

Icon. Racist. Legend. Badass. Song inspiration.

All of these are phrases that could describe Marion Mitchell Morrison. John Wayne is another. Loved by millions, hated by Public Enemy, he became an iconic image of what being an American meant. He's also responsible for planting the creative seed in a pair of songwriters that led to one of the greatest songs in rock history.

It was during a 1956 screening of The Searchers that Buddy Holly and Jerry Allison heard Wayne speak four words that would change their lives forever: "That'll be the day." The duo would turn that phrase in to a track that became Holly's best-known song.

Muses show up in the strangest forms.


Over his career, Wayne starred in 142 movies. If he had 300 lines of dialogue per movie, and Rocks Off's math is correct, then there are 42,599 potential song ideas out there just waiting to be used.

Looking for that next great song or album title? Rocks Off dug through The Duke's classics to find some words of wisdom to help you on your way.

The Duke's Guide To Song Titles:

For The Romantically Inclined:

"She Reminds Me Of Me" "No Locks Or Bolts Between Us" "A Ranch Across The Border" "A Girl Coming Through The Fields (With Sun In Her Hair)"

For Those Looking To Start A Fight:

"I Intend To Die Right Here" "I Don't Believe In Surrenders" "Out Here A Man Settles His Own Problems" "Big Mouth Don't Make A Big Man" "Fill Your Hand"

For When "I Love You" Just Won't Be Enough:

"Sorry Don't Get It Done" "Get Down On Your Knees (And Get It)"

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Cory Garcia is a Contributing Editor for the Houston Press. He once won an award for his writing, but he doesn't like to brag about it. If you're reading this sentence, odds are good it's because he wrote a concert review you don't like or he wanted to talk pro wrestling.
Contact: Cory Garcia