Shel Silverstein



Shel Silverstein was the author-artist of many beloved books of prose and poetry. He was a cartoonist, playwright, poet, performer, recording artist, and Grammy-winning, Oscar-nominated songwriter.

  • Active years
  • 67
  • Primary profession
  • Soundtrack·writer·composer
  • Country
  • United States
  • Nationality
  • American
  • Gender
  • Male
  • Birth date
  • 25 September 1930
  • Place of birth
  • Chicago
  • Death date
  • 1999-05-10
  • Death age
  • 69
  • Place of death
  • Key West
  • Education
  • University of Chicago·School of the Art Institute of Chicago
  • Knows language
  • English language






His best-known books, "The Giving Tree" and "Where the Sidewalk Ends" , were reissued in deluxe editions in 2004.

Music composer, author and poet.

He wrote several songs for the 1970s group Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show.

Johnny Cash recorded two of Silversteins poems, "A Boy Named Sue" which reached No. 2 on the Billboard "Hot 100". He also recorded "25 Minutes to Go", first released on his legendary comeback LP "At Folsom Prison".

He was awarded the 1983 Joseph Jefferson Award for New Work for "Gorilla" at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago, Illinois.

He wrote the song "A Boy Named Sue" after attending a judicial conference in Gatlinburg, Tennessee (a town mentioned in the song), at which a featured speaker was a male prosecutor named Sue Hicks.

Shel wrote several songs for the 1970s group Dr. Hook and The Medicine Show.


My beard grows down to my toes,I never wears no clothes,I wraps my hairAround my bare,And down the road I goes.

She had blue skin,And so did he. He kept it hidAnd so did she. They searched for blueTheir whole life through,Then passed right by-And never knew.

If you are a dreamer, come sit by my fire. For we have some flax-golden tales to spin; come in! Come in!,She had blue skin. And so did he. He kept it hid, And so did she. They searched for blue Their whole life through, Then passed right by - And never knew.

And the tree was happy,I was hoping that perhaps I could roll with you. . . ""You cannot roll with me," said the Big O, "but perhaps you can roll by yourself.

RAINI opened my eyesAnd looked up at the rain. And it dripped in my headAnd flowed into my brain,And all that I hear as I lie in my bedIs the slishity-slosh of the rain in my head. I step very softly,I walk very slow,I can’t do a handstand-I might overflow,So pardon the wild crazy thing I just said-I’m just not the same since there’s rain in my head.

He wasted his wishes on wishing.

Stand-up comics reflect less of a visual humor and more of a commentary.

To me, freedom entitles you to do something, not to not do something. .