Lee Harvey Oswald Was a Friend of Homer Henderson

Lee Harvey Oswald Was a Friend of Homer Henderson

Homer Henderson's assassin ode "Lee Harvey Was a Friend of Mine" stands alone in Lone Star lore. The sympathetic tune recounts a childhood friendship with the alleged JFK gunman: "Lee Harvey was a friend of mine. He used to take me fishin' all the time. He used to throw the ball to me when I was just a kid. They say he shot the president, but I don't think he did."

Lee Harvey Oswald Was a Friend of Homer Henderson

The track first appeared on a 1985 vinyl 7-inch by Homer Henderson & the Dalworthington Garden Boys. The bandleader, then based in Dallas, co-wrote the tune with friend Jay Cotton.

"I think we wrote most of it while we were driving around drinking Slurpees and smoking weed," chuckles Henderson. "We'd pass by Oswald's house, the Texas Theatre, and Marsalis Avenue in Oak Cliff, where Jack Ruby had lived. Thirty years ago people didn't give a damn about it, but we knew all those places."

Though he considers the song something of a cheap shot, it's stood the test of time, having been covered by T. Tex Edwards, the Asylum Street Spankers, Laura Cantrell, and even Oswald's old girlfriend, Judyth Vary Baker, author of the recent book Me & Lee: How I Came to Know, Love, and Lose Lee Harvey Oswald. Baker's atonal version alters the lyrics to support her claim that Oswald was a secret agent trying to prevent JFK's assassination.

Henderson, 62, now mostly a one-man-band in Austin, returns to Dallas on Saturday to celebrate the release of Norton Record's Tragic Songs From the Grassy Knoll, on which his anthem appears. He'll be at Top Ten Records, where Dallas policeman J.D. Tippit used the phone just minutes before he was gunned down by Oswald. In the evening, Henderson and Cramps drummer Miriam Linna lead an afterparty at a popular South Dallas bar called ... Lee Harvey's.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Bobby Patterson
Texas Platters
Bobby Patterson
I Got More Soul! (Record Review)

Scott Schinder, Aug. 29, 2014

More by Kevin Curtin
Crucial Concerts for the Coming Week
Crucial Concerts for the Coming Week
Women of Antone's, underground MCs, FuckEmos, and more recommended shows

March 24, 2023

Hearing the Imperceptible as Laraaji Collaborates With Plants in a Church
Hearing the Imperceptible as Laraaji Collaborates With Plants in a Church
Welcome to the most curious performance of SXSW Music 2023

March 19, 2023


Bobby Patterson, Lee Harvey Oswald, JFK, Homer Henderson, Warren Commission, Vegas Club

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle