Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Roy Acuff

The Wild Side of Life

Inspired by “Great Speckled Bird” by Roy Acuff (1936).
First recorded (as “Wild Side of Life”) by Jimmie Heap & The Melody Masters (1951).
Hit versions by Hank Thompson (C&W #1 1952), Burl Ives & Grady Martin & His Slew Foot Five (US #30/C&W #6 1952), Tommy Quickly & The Remo 4 (UK #33 1964), Freddy Fender (C&W #13 1976), Status Quo (UK #9 1976).

From the wiki: “‘The Wild Side of Life’ carries one of the most distinctive melodies of early country music, used in ‘Thrills That I Can’t Forget’ (recorded by Welby Toomey and Edgar Boaz in 1925), ‘I’m Thinking Tonight of My Blue Eyes’ (by the Carter Family in 1929), and ‘Great Speckled Bird’ (by Roy Acuff in 1936). That, along with the song’s story of a woman shedding her role as domestic provider to follow the night life, combined to become one of the most famous country songs of the early 1950s. According to Country music historian Bill Malone, ‘Wild Side’ co-writer William Warren was inspired to create the song after his experiences with a young woman he met when he was younger — a honky tonk angel, as it were — who ‘found the glitter of the gay night life too hard to resist.’

Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain

First recorded by Roy Acuff & His Smoky Mountain Boys (1947).
Also recorded by Hank Williams (1951), Elvis Presley (1976), Eva Cassidy (2008).
Hit versions by Willie Nelson (US #21/C&W #1 1975), UB40 (ARU #1 2013).

From the wiki: “‘Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain’ is a song written by songwriter Fred Rose, and first recorded by Roy Acuff in 1947. The song was also recorded in 1951 by Hank Williams for the Mother’s Best Flour Hour radio program.

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