Van Halen - Big Bad Bill (Is Sweet William Now) Lyrics

Well,way down yonder in Louisville,
Lived a cat named Big Bad Bill,
I wants to tell ya,
Ah the cat was rough and tough and would strutt his stuff
Had the whole town scared to death,
When he walked by they all held their breath,
He's a fighting man, sure enough
And then Bill got himself a wife,
Now he leads a different life...
Big Bad Bill is sweet William now,
Married life done changed him somehow,
He's the man the town used to fear,
Now they all call him sweet pappa Willie dear,
Stronger than Samson I declare,
Til the brown skinned woman,
Bobbed his hair
Big Bad Bill dont fight any more,(No he dont)
Doing the dishes,mopping up that floor (Yes he is)
Well he used to go out drinking,
Looking for a fight,
Now he gotta see that woman,everynight,
Big Bad Bill is sweet william now
Ah Play it boys.
I likes that jazz.
Big Bad Bill dont fight any more,(No he dont)
Doing the dishes,mopping up that floor (Yes he is)
Well he used to go out drinking,
Looking for a fight,
Now he gotta see that woman,everynight,
Big Bad Bill is sweet william now (doing the dishes)
Big Bad Bill is sweet william now (mop up dat floor)
Big Bad Bill is sweet william now
Cha........ Yeah!

Other Lyrics by Artist

Rand Lyrics

Van Halen Big Bad Bill (Is Sweet William Now) Comments
  1. Christian Garcia

    In my opinion this just shows Van Halen’s superiority above any other rock group. Great musicality from VH!

  2. marilyn manson is fat

    55 people hate music and love shoving goat metal up their ass.

  3. mindeloman

    Too bad the boys did not take Pops on tour with them to do this. To my knowledge i've never heard them do this live. I think the reality is, they loved their dad but there was some strain there. Read an interview of an early childhood friend of the VH brothers. He concluded it was a pretty violent home with a lot of abuse. Dave Roth really respected Mr. Van Halen and really wanted to put something fun together. Dave always struck me as a good human being. As a side note: this was one of the first times Jan Van Halen had picked up a clarinet after losing a finger. He was unhitching a trailer to move it and it came down on his finger, crushing it. Evidently it wasn't even his trailer. It was a neighbor that had parked and blocked his car in.

  4. Kennedy Crevoiserat

    Well, I went down yonder in Louisville
    Lived a cat named Big Bad Bill
    I wants ta tell ya
    Ah, the cat was rough and tough he would strut his stuff
    Had the whole town scared to death
    When he walked by, they all held their breath
    He's a fightin' man, sure enough
    And then Bill got himself a wife, now he leads a different life
    Big Bad Bill is Sweet William now
    Married life done changed him somehow
    He's the man the town used to fear
    Now they all call him Sweet Papa Willy Dear
    Stronger than Sampson I declare
    Till a brown-skinned woman's bobbed his hair
    Big Bad Bill don't fight anymore (No, no, no)
    He's doin' the dishes an' moppin' up that floor (Yes he is)
    Well he used to go out drinkin' lookin' for a fight
    Now he gotta see that sweet woman every night
    Big Bad Bill is Sweet William now
    Aw, play it boys
    Aw, yeah!
    I likes that, yeah ("Yeah, " say I)
    Ah, why-well, Big Bad Bill don't fight anymore (No, he don't)
    He's doin' the dishes 'n moppin' up that floor (Yes he is)
    Well he used to go out drinkin' lookin' for a fight
    Now he gotta see that sweet woman every night
    Big Bad Bill is Sweet William now (Doin' the dishes)
    Big Bad Bill is Sweet William now (Moppin' up that floor!)
    Big Bad Bill is Sweet William now

  5. HotTub Removal


  6. atomic punk

    Moppin up that floor............................

  7. Nola Joe

    Daaaaaave 🤷🤷

  8. Chris CJC

    I can still remember My Dad hearing this coming out of My Room one Night in the early 80's , He asked Me , What you doing , Listening to Jazz Now ..? lol

  9. Purple Daze

    Hey Billy the kid ...miss your grandpa terribly..always here for you just say the word...KOOKOOKACHOO BITCHES STAY UPRIGHT.

  10. Privacy Guru

    Jan Van Halen SHREDS The Clarinet !

  11. Privacy Guru

    The Original Recording from 1924 by Billy Murray -

  12. Haze The Hedgehog

    Anasui still can't marry jolyne

  13. Rob Simpson


  14. mazpr2025

    Wonderful, timeless track!

  15. Silhouetto of a Man

    I had to do a double take to see if this was really Van Halen at first. I was caught so off guard by this!

  16. james Laskowski

    Vosssburg hammer...4 ××Allyson ^s noggin

  17. andrew cozine

    I had a BIG orange cat. Named him Big Bad Bill.

  18. Mgkman13

    I love this song. Really reminds me of me. A big asshole, who met a girl, and is trying to do right by her.

  19. Kevin Darrell

    I likes that !!!!

  20. Owen Quinn

    Amazing song. Van Halen were so versatile and ahead of their time with various musical arrangements not just limited to hard rock but an appreciation of the roots of music. David Lee Roth carried this appreciation of big band and jazz with his solo career such as songs like I'm Just A Gigolo and I'm Easy. Awesome job Dave, he should tour the jazz circuit

  21. Mike J

    Jan VH... what a legend!

  22. Rob Fiduccia

    Audio error near 1:24 ! Great song.

    dan B

    and again at 2:15.

  23. Whiplash_DR


  24. joe Pipe

    Dave can sing different style..
    Hagar can do it ?

  25. Jaime Acosta

    That's what I always loved about Dave. Even at the top of his "Pop" fame, he never shied away from his roots for styles of music that influenced him. I remember being at one of their early shows, and he broke out with his acoustic guitar. And the majority of the crowd booed him. In all Dave glory he said "If you don't like it, fuck you!" and proceeded to tear shit up on guitar. Long live Dave!

    Regina Scruggs

    People are idiots.

  26. Redbug 3

    Lol. So good!

  27. Sacos Fernández

    Clarinete por Alex Van Halen

  28. Patrick Foster

    FFS people this isn't 'gypsy jazz' it was written in 1924 and is Dixieland jazz, in other words New Orleans jazz.

  29. Kevin Fairburn

    Written in 1924 by Jack Yellen, VH do a great shortened version and DLR's vocal style is a great fit. Check out the second verse of the full song in Billy Murray's release from 1924 for a good laugh.

  30. Bill Hayes

    Bill is still here

  31. Plooker Ville

    People rag on DLR's singing...but then you hear this and he sounds awesome on a jazz tune.

    Bleb Han

    His debut solo album were pretty much period covers. So he fitted right in.

    Howard White

    Dave was a lounge singer in a rock band... ...who thought he was a rock god!

  32. jameshope1199

    here we go...bobbed his head.... only a woman can tame.

  33. Christopher Hamilton

    This needs to be dedicated to my dad, William Roger Hamilton, until he met some brown sugar woman for a while, after Vietnam. Now he is another Robert Mueller.

  34. gspendlove

    This song was on a tape I bought at a thrift store some years ago―a homemade tape with only "Dr. Demento" on the label. It was, of course, a recording of one of Dr. Demento's shows from the '80s. When I found out this song was by VH, you could've knocked me over with a feather. Life continues to hold magnificent discoveries.

  35. Chris Corcione

    Big Bad Billy Dean I love ya!!!

  36. Rene ROCK N ROLL

    I have pictures of VH playing in my neighbors back yard. Before any albums. Great shots

  37. Tyler Pucella

    best song ever

  38. Perfect Light Photography

    I could totally see Asleep at the Wheel covering this song. With DLR and Ray Benson jointly on lead vocals.

  39. Flamestar320 power to the people

    This is my favorite of the covers from this album. Heck, maybe my favorite from this whole album. David's vocal style really fits this song very well. And of course, aside from Rock music, Jazz is my favorite music genre.

  40. pumasgoya

    If you guys like this Dixieland style of tune, check out Nobody's Sweetheart, but Captain Sensible from the Damned. Yes, the Damned, the first Punk band to have released a single.

    Harold Foltmer


  41. Bruningable

    Van Waits.

  42. Elizabeth Wiley

    I wish the Van Halens had done more cuts with Dad Van Halen..............

  43. anonymous bigshot

    are you guys talking about Bill Brasky? He's a son of a bitch!!

  44. Heiner Böllenfalltor

    Really great stuff!

  45. Joel Emmett

    Alex was born in Holland in 1953 and didn't move to the United States until 1962. His father, Jan, was a jazz saxophonist and clarinet player who made sure both his sons were classically trained on the piano. You can hear him play alongside his sons on 'Big Bad Bill (is Sweet William Now)' from 1982's 'Diver Down.'

  46. Hartschaum

    I have a strange desire to watch Toy Story now...

    Hen Dawg

    Hartschaum shouldn’t have read this comment cause now me too

    David Mirzo

    Hartschaum jajajajajajajaja

    Shelby Webster

    Weird 'I wanna be like you' jungle book vibes too!


    Sounds more like the main theme from Monsters Inc.

  47. paperpinup

    I'm a huge fan of the Gypsy Jazz sound and I love that Van Halen did this!!! So cool.

  48. Nigel Mikaele

    This is where Ed n Al get there swing influence's from... good ole dad :)

  49. stringbender11672

    "Well way down yonder in Louisville, lived a cat named Big Bad Bill"
    \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ /////////// ////////// ///////////////////////////////////
    \\\ /// /// ///
    \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ /// /// ///////////////////////////////////
    \\\ /// /// ///
    \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ /// /// ///////////////////////////////////
    \\\ /// /// ///
    \\\ /// /////////////////////
    \\\ /// /// ///
    \\\ /// /// ///
    \\\ /// /// ///
    \\ // /// ///
    \\// /// ///
    V /// ///
    /// ///
    V ///


    What the-

  50. CG GG

    Papa Van Halen should've recorded a clarinet version of Eruption

    Brian Pfaucht

    Dude your a savage

    Mark Rose

    AGREED! FO.....SHO!


    I wrote sheet music for that once.

    Dass e

    Should have put the clarinet up your a hole

  51. chrisslooter

    Jan Van Halen sounds incredible on this tune.. so glad they recorded this this.

    Jeff Smith

    chrisslooter They got him wasted to do it

  52. JT Gerlach

    holy shit person thanx for the  post. Not too many will get or enjoy this. Thanx

  53. H Wells Lucas

    Dedicated to James Eli Van Gilder III (The Original Billy Badass) R.I.P. and thank you.

  54. Goldy Motors

    I once heard this song on a classical music station and I thought to myself that only VH could have pulled off being a hard rock act playing a Jazz/Swing tune on a classical music station and get away with it as if it was never in doubt.

    Robert Thomson

    This is a very respectable version of this tune, however the real chameleon of Rock to Jazz was the late, great Jeff Healey. Check out his work with his Jazz Wizards. Brillaint stuff.

    Matooley O'Brien

    Exactly...mophead sammy didnt and dont have the charisma like Diamond Dave

    Privacy Guru

  55. Donnie Hamato

    Why does this song remind me of @Raphael Hamato?

  56. circlecloud11

    The ultimate tribute to their dad. How great it must have been for all them to play together, father, son and son and do something that would be shared with everyone.  Makes me think of my Dad and how great and inspirational he was to me. 

  57. BROOKS 74

    This is the shit only VH could make this sound cool... and reminds me of someone I

  58. cooky monster

    A lot of this LP was Dave's idea's (which is probably why Eddie Van Halen says he hates it ! ) He got the Van Halen's father to play the clarinet on this track. The album swings from start to finish. It is definitely the most diverse mix of music they ever did. There is a lot of variety and different styles here.
     I read somewhere that Dave wanted to do this song as a little 'dig' at Eddie, because he'd recently got married and he no longer wanted to be the wild and crazy guitar hero.

  59. astralplainer

    I'll say what's been said a million times already...only VH! ;-)

  60. Raining Galaxy

    My name is HALEN!

    Bryan Lachance

    you name is mud

  61. james allen

      hot hot hot...louis A meets louis P, they had a baby and gave it to the van halen family.

  62. Anton Smith

    "Diver Down" was my first Van Halen record and today I think it's the weakest of Classic Van Halen but still really enjoyable. I didn't think it at first but now I reccon this track is the best of all the covers on the album. It sort of represents what I like about many of the classic bands (Led Zeppelin, Queen, Deep Purple, Blue Öyster Cult, Black Sabbath, Pink Floyd etc.).. Just some completely different from what the band is famous for but still sounds totally natural. 

    ryan berg

    get a job

    Adream withinadream

    @ryan berg I got one! I actually work right now. Getting paid (indirectly) to view youtube. yay! :D

    ryan berg

    I'm jealous

    Steve Attree

    What a ninny

  63. Perry Hvegholm

    I think that Dave is one cool MF'er for finding this song and putting together the idea of getting the VH brothers together with their father to make a recording together. Only Van Halen....and Dave in particular...could have pulled of covering a song like this in the 1980's and have it get airplay on rock radio. 

    Ish Kabibble

    @squeaky chacko​ ..Yes, youre right, his writing was just, "ok", not great.

    Nate Gerard

    +squeaky chacko I doubt this got much airtime but back then fans bought the album or more importantly the tape. That meant you listened to the whole album "cover to cover" it was called so true VH fans know and love it! Wow, I just sounded old...


    This song is fucking hilarious!

    Harold Foltmer


    Greg Elchert

    A few years later, David Lee Roth covered "Just a Gigolo" - another old swing tune with a cheeky lyric - and knocked it out of the park. He really could have made a second career out of singing Louis Prima-type songs.

  64. Name

    Stefan B, Jan Van Halen is not their brother, he's the dad

  65. Chanda Ribble

    Love it

  66. DJNX4995

    This and jump are my fans from van Galen

  67. Mark Flemmer

     I really like when Dave sings in this style---soulful, smokey, bluesy and black sounding (and that's a GOOD thing), like on the beginning of "Ice Cream Man" and on "Could This Be Magic?". Andre Viegas correctly noted the similarity to Gypsy Jazz. The master of this style, and possibly the inventor of it, was the guitarist Django Reinhardt. He was a HUGE influence on many guitarists. I'm not sure if Eddie considers him an influence (likely not), but guitarists that do include Steve Howe (from Yes) and Lindsay Buckingham (from Fleetwood Mac). Reinhardt's recordings definitely sound dated, because they are, but he was a master musician, on a level with Les Paul, who is certainly one of Eddie's heroes. 

    Michael kelley

    dave provides the biscuits and gravy of van halen

    marilyn manson is fat

    That's because you like music.

  68. Collin Dorenkott

    Eddies dad is playing the flute

    Thomas Sealy


  69. ken paul Entwisle

    Great swing Dave,

    ken paul Entwisle

    great bit of ol' jazz from mr roth and co.

  70. Alex Schultes

    Is this style of music had a name gender? I like it very much but i dont know how to look on the internet for other songs like this

    Alex Schultes

    I know it is jazz but the jazz has a ot of subgenres, Im looking for the specific, like metal in rock...

    LECOULS Arnaud

    @Alex Schultes it's very similar to the New orleans Jazz style of the 30's, check it out

    Espaço de Música

    It`s actually pretty similar to what they call "Gypsy Jazz", Alex


    these people are knuckleheads. This is a homage to Dixieland Jazz.

  71. Blackopszombies33

    Eddies dad is playing the clarinet


    Jim's joke went completely over Steven's head.

    BulldogSnow 360

    Steven it's something like the guy who smells like poop in the school

    Neil Vetter

    Are ya sure it isnt mary poppins

    Sam Coral

    Jan van Halen

    Dass e

    Thanks columbo

  72. That Channel

    When I first heard this I had a hard time believing this was van Halen, but its good so it fits the band.

  73. HarpoSpoke

    Dave sounds like Louis Armstrong here.  Some claim he's not a good singer...they used to say that about Louis Armstrong too.


    Dave has got that Marge Simpson sound going on. i don't think its bad but most people are used to clear refined vocals. I think personally it sounds more like Marges sisters Patty and Selma.


    I was playing this song on a road trip recently and one of my family members asked me if it was Louis Armstrong singing. They were very surprised to hear that it was a Van Halen song.

  74. Rob Gibson

    i love van halen, its cool they let Jan Van Halen pay on this.RIP Jan Van Halen.

  75. William Asher-Law

    keep em coming love that music

  76. MrSausagess

    Got my final mortgage payment request today & if I don't pay it I am out. Bummer to get a big bad bill like that.

  77. pabloramirez716

    EVH is GOD

  78. turoniner

    Sick clarinet.

  79. Patrick Thousando

    Diver Down is their White Album, their Exile on Main Street. And 30 years later, this is probably that album's best song. Little Guitars is also still good.

  80. Bocephusly

    Way down yonder in "Loo-a-ville"

  81. ub brooks

    led zeppelin

  82. Jason Matthews

    This is a perfect example of why I love CVH. Can anyone name another band/artist that could stray so far from their "sound" and pull this off? Bands have been covering other peoples songs since the beginning of recorded music. Some are good, some are horrible and a select few succeed in surpassing the original. These guys are the only band I know of that consistently cover others and do it so well. They simply have no cover that I haven't liked.

  83. hummarstra

    Oh, the magic of classic VH. I ask, has there ever been a rock band more interesting and entertaining?

  84. SingleSpeed4Life

    You are full of shit.

  85. Steve Epps

    He's doing the dishes, mopping up that flooor!

  86. IvorThe EngineDriver

    No that's Eddie's dad Jan Van Halen on clarinet! :)

  87. Jeremy James Favors

    not what I expected with that name but fun!

  88. HaveAtakeDontSuck101

    I like most genres, I like a spectrum from classical to shred metal. Music is to be enjoyed by the consumer. Listen to whatever you enjoy!!

  89. Mikevallin2001

    Well I didn't really mean it literally

  90. HaveAtakeDontSuck101

    You make me feel old. Modern music. *sigh*

  91. doubleddrummer

    thats right kid, you are bad ass, and dont ever forget it! and there are thousands of people here who would agree! lol

  92. Daniel J. Stone

    Too bad the DNC didn't use this song when Bill Clinton walked out for his speech in Charlotte.

  93. Mikevallin2001

    I'm eleven and I can't name two rappers. I don't listen to modern music.