Johnny Horton’s “North to Alaska” is a classic country song that tells the story of a man who heads north to Alaska during the Gold Rush of 1896. Released in 1960, the song quickly became a hit and remains one of Horton’s most beloved tunes.
The lyrics describe the narrator’s journey to Alaska in search of gold. He sings, “North to Alaska, go north, the rush is on / North to Alaska, go north, the rush is on / Big Sam left Seattle in the year of ninety-two / With George Pratt, his partner, and brother Billy too / They crossed the Yukon River and found the bonanza gold / Below that old White Mountain just a little southeast of Nome.”
These lines capture the excitement and adventure of the Gold Rush era. The narrator is driven by the promise of riches and the opportunity to start a new life. He and his companions endure harsh weather conditions and difficult terrain as they make their way to Alaska.
The chorus features some of the song’s most iconic lines: “North to Alaska, go north, the rush is on / North to Alaska, go north, the rush is on / Way up north, way up north.”
These lyrics express the idea that the journey to Alaska is both exciting and perilous. The phrase “the rush is on” emphasizes the sense of urgency and competition that characterized the Gold Rush era.
Overall, “North to Alaska” is a fun and upbeat song that speaks to the spirit of adventure and exploration. It’s a reminder that sometimes we have to take risks and pursue our dreams in order to find success and happiness. The song has resonated with listeners for over 60 years because of its catchy melody and timeless message.
In interviews, Horton revealed that he was inspired to write the song after watching the 1960 John Wayne film “North to Alaska.” As he stated in an interview with Country Music Television, “I saw an advance screening of the movie, and I liked it so much that I decided to write a song about it.”
In conclusion, “North to Alaska” is a classic country song that continues to capture the imagination of listeners today. Its message of adventure and determination has made it a favorite among fans of the genre and beyond. The song reminds us that sometimes, the greatest rewards in life come from taking risks and chasing our dreams.