February 11: Hank Williams Lovesick Blues was released in 1949

hank williams lovesick blues

I got a feelin’ called the blues, oh Lord
Since my baby said goodbye
Lord I don’t know what I’ll do
All I do is sit and sigh, oh Lord

Hank Williams signature song was released 69 years ago today.

Wikipedia:

Single by Hank Williams
B-side Never Again (Will I Knock On Your Door)
Released February 11, 1949
Format 10″ single (MGM-10352)
Recorded December 22, 1948 (at Herzog Studio in Cincinnati)
Genre Country
Length 2:45
Label MGM Records
Writer(s) Cliff Friend and Irving Mills
Producer(s) Fred Rose

 

Lovesick Blues” is a show tune written by Cliff Friend and Irving Mills. The song first appeared in the 1922 musical Oh, Ernest. It was recorded by Emmett Miller in 1928 and later by country music singer Rex Griffin.

The recordings by Griffin and Miller inspired Hank Williams to perform the song during his first appearances on the Louisiana Hayride in 1948. Receiving an enthusiastic reception by the audience, Williams decided to record his own version despite initial push back from his producer Fred Rose and his band.

MGM Records released “Lovesick Blues” in February 1949, and it became an overnight success, quickly reaching number one on Billboard’s Top C&W singles and number 24 on the Most Played in Jukeboxes list. The publication named it the top country and western record of the year, while Cashbox named it “Best Hillbilly Record of the Year”.

hank williams

More details:

Hank Williams, who heard both the Miller and Griffin versions, started performing the song on the Louisiana Hayride shortly after joining in August 1948. Horace Logan, the show’s producer and programming director for KWKH, reported that the audience “went crazy” the first time Williams performed the song on the show.

In light of the live audience’s strong positive reaction, Williams decided to record the song. His decision was questioned by his musicians and also his producer, Fred Rose, who felt that the song did not merit a recording. Williams persisted, and the recording took place during the final half hour of a session recorded at Herzog Studio in Cincinnati, Ohio, on December 22, 1948. For this recording, Williams replaced the jazz musicians with a modern country music band, using a rhythm guitar, mandolin, string bass, drums and a steel guitar.

Williams’ session band was composed of:

  • Clyde Baum (mandolin)
  • Zeke Turner (electric guitar)
  • Jerry Byrd (steel guitar)
  • Louis Innis (rhythm guitar)
  • Tommy Jackson (fiddle)
  • Willie Thawl (bass)

With little time left, Byrd and Turner replicated the musical arrangement they previously used on an Ernest Tubb session for a cover of Jimmie Rodgers’ “Waiting for a Train”. Williams combined Griffin’s lyrical arrangement with a two-beat honky-tonk track, borrowing the yodeling and beat drops from Miller’s recording. “Lovesick Blues” was recorded in two takes.

Live version:

Release & Reception

MGM released “Lovesick Blues” on February 11, 1949, coupling it with “Never Again (Will I Knock On Your Door)”. The single sold 50,000 copies in the first two weeks. On its February 26, 1949 review, Billboard opined: “Hank’s razz-mah-tazz approach and ear-catching yodeling should keep this side spinning”.

It reached number one on Billboard’s Top C&W singles, where it remained for sixteen weeks and reached number twenty-four on Most Played in Jukeboxes. The magazine listed it as the “number one country and western record of 1949” while Cashbox named it “Best Hillbilly record of the year”.

Following the success of the song, Williams was invited to appear as a guest on the Grand Ole Opry, on June 11, 1949. After the performance, Williams received a standing ovation.”Lovesick Blues” became his signature song, which he used to close his shows. It was also his first number one hit, and garnered Williams the stage nickname of “The Lovesick Blues Boy”.

Lyrics

I got a feelin’ called the blues, oh Lord
Since my baby said goodbye
Lord I don’t know what I’ll do
All I do is sit and sigh, oh Lord

That last long day she said goodbye
Well lord I thought I would cry
She’ll do me, she’ll do you
She’s got that kind of lovin’

Lord I love to hear her when she calls me sweet da-a-addy
Such a beautiful dream
I hate to think it’s all over
I’ve lost my heart it seems

I’ve grown so used to you somehow
Well I’m nobody’s sugar daddy now
And I’m lo-o-onesome
I got the lovesick blues

Well I’m in love I’m in love with a beautiful gal
That’s what’s the matter with me
Well I’m in love I’m in love with a beautiful gal
But she don’t care about me

Lord I tried and tried, to keep her satisfied
But she just wouldn’t stay
So now that she is leavin’
This is all I can say

I got a feelin’ called the blues, oh Lord
Since my baby said goodbye
Lord I don’t know what I’ll do
All I do is sit and sigh, oh Lord

That last long day she said goodbye
Well Lord I thought I would cry
She’ll do me, she’ll do you
She’s got that kind of lovin’

Lord I love to hear her when she calls me sweet da-a-addy
Such a beautiful dream
I hate to think it all over
I’ve lost my heart it seems

I’ve grown so used to you somehow
Lord I’m nobody’s sugar daddy now
And I’m lo-o-onesome
I got the lovesick blues

Other versions

Patsy Cline:

The Little Willies – live:

 

 

Ryan Adams:

 

Check out:

-Egil

Leave a Reply