The Ballad of Patty Hearst and Bill Walton

Patty Hearst & Bill Walton made a striking pair
she was only five foot two, he had that much long red hair

He studied at UCLA with Wooden you know
he was following Alcindor, Wicks, Allen, Farmer and Rowe

And they be heavy brothers, reading Malcolm X
If you’re supposed to be the white Kareem where do you go next?

Big Red, you were a boy and a half
I ain’t gonna laugh at that man anymore

Patty got engaged to a liberal and a snob
even with all that money getting married was a good girl’s #1 job

But a fire burned within her some desire to be free
and one night she left him, she called him a class enemy

Tanya! You were a girl and a half
I ain’t gonna laugh at the woman anymore

Drafted up to Portland Bill got hurt in that first year:
Before I take more cortisone I’ll just set a pick on my career

He said athletes are workers, they treat us like cattle
I will not play the owners’ game, it’s just not my battle at this time

And Patty was in trouble, too, running from the law
she’d become an armed robber but what’s more she gave daddy what for

How she made him list his assets, how she made him show his face!
Their house became a tsouris trap, just like their San Simeon place

Tanya, you were a girl and a half
No I ain’t gonna laugh at that poor woman anymore

So Bill the civil servant’s son was finally makin’ bread
heard a comrade needed some, most likely said Yeah, go ahead

I bet he wrote that check out to Jack or Micki Scott
I bet he knew who it was for although I bet he swears he does not

Big Red, you got that nice soft touch
you don’t say too much to the FBI

There’s other show-biz radicals, such as Tom and Jane
Joan Baez, Julian Bond, Warren Beatty, Shirley McLaine

But Patty Hearst and Bill Walton ran a fast break with my heart
I’ll think of them as together, although they may be far apart.

Fred Gardner is the managing editor of O’Shaughnessy’s. He can be reached at