"Lovesick Blues" is a show tune written by Cliff Friend and Irving Mills, which has become a popular country song and pop standard. Published through Tin Pan Alley in 1922, the song was first recorded by Jack Shea (not the 1932 Olympic medalist speed skater) on Vocalion 14333. This recording contains a verse that no later version include. Emmett Miller recorded it on Okeh 40465, September 1, 1925. He re-recorded it on June 12 1928, accompanied by his Georgia Crackers (which included Tommy Dorsey, Jimmy Dorsey, Eddie Lang, and Leo McConville). On November 26, 1926, blues singer Bertha "Chippie" Hill recorded a different song titled Lovesick Blues (Okeh 8453). The song was a minor hit for her. The first country music version of the song was by Rex Griffin (Decca 5570), September 25, 1939. The song's most recognizable version did not come until 1948, with Hank Williams' hit rendition.
Though Williams had scored a few hits prior to "Lovesick Blues," the song was the first of many number one hits on Country radio for the singer. It also marked one of the songwriter's few cover songs. The song's monumental success led to Williams' tenure at the Grand Ole Opry and remains one of his best remembered songs. In 2004, it was one of 50 recordings chosen that year by the Library of Congress to be added to the National Recording Registry.
Since Williams' hit rendition of the song, it has been covered by a wide array of performers. Country performers including Slim Whitman (1957), Patsy Cline (1960), Glen Campbell (1974), Charley Pride (1973), and LeAnn Rimes (1999), have all recorded their own renditions of the song. Floyd Cramer's rock-and-roll cover crossed over to pop audiences in 1962, while Frank Ifield took the song to #44 in the United Kingdom in 1963. In the 1970s, Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, Arlo Guthrie, Don McLean, and Linda Ronstadt all covered the song. George Strait took his cover all the way to #24 on the country chart in 1992 with little traditional promotion of the single. Alt-country artist Ryan Adams recorded the song for Timeless, a Hank Williams tribute album.
This version ranked #61 in CMT's 100 Greatest Songs in Country Music in 2003.
|1963||Billboard Pop Singles||44|
|1962||UK Singles Chart||1|
|1992||Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks||24|
|1992||Canadian RPM Country Tracks||23|