The High and the Mighty

Words & Music by Ned Washington & Dimitri Tiomkin
Recorded by Les Baxter Orchestra, 1954 (#4)
From the movie of the same name (Academy Award nominee*)

D     F#m      D7/F#
I was high and mighty,  

      Am         B7          Gm7    A7
How I laughed at love and the stars above.

D         G          DM7   G/E D alt
Then you came like a gen - tle flame

D   E7       Bm7-5 Cdim A7sus4  A7
And helped me find  my  way.

D     F#m      D7/F#
I was high and mighty, 

      Am       B7            Gm7       A7
And I told my heart where to stop and start.

D      G       DM7 G/E D alt
Now I find that I  was blind --

    G#          C#7    F#
Iım learning it day by day.


Em   A      DM7           D
Love   can change things,

Em   A    DM7         D6
Re-    arrange things --

D7   G7      F#m           G#   Bm7  D7
Oh,    what strange things love can do.

D     F#m      D7/F#
Iım not high and mighty,

      Am          B7            Gm7       A7
But I have whatıs worth all the gold on earth.

D      G          DM7
I have you, and I give my heart

 Bm         Em7  A7  D  
Forever and ever to you.

*Friend and lyric expert Ron Hontz passed along an interesting bit of trivia about this one. It seems Dimitri Tiomkin campaigned actively for Oscar attention (he won four in his career) but couldn't get this one nominated because the lyrics were never actually heard in the movie. Tiomkin got the lyrics added to a single print of the film (which appeared only in Las Angeles) but still failed to win the award, losing out to "Three Coins In The Fountain." You can read more at

This arrangement is transposed and adapted from one recently posted by Kitch on the newsgroup. He added the following information:

From the movie The High and the Mighty starring John Wayne, about 1954. An interesting song. It originally was just to be whistled by John Wayne throughout the movie - there were no lyrics. Tiomkin wanted it nominated for the Academy Award, which requires lyrics, so he hired Washington to write the lyrics, and Johnny Desmond to record it, after which it was stuck on during the credits at the end of the movie.
Tiomkin nearly got his wish: the song received an Oscar nomination, but lost out to "Three Coins in the Fountain."

The lyric and guitar chord transcriptions on this site are the work of The Guitarguy and are intended for private study, research, or educational purposes only. Individual transcriptions are inspired by and and based upon the recorded versions cited, but are not necessarily exact replications of those recorded versions.