Inspired by “Thrills That I Can’t Forget” by ‘John Ferguson’ (1925).
Inspired by “I’m Thinking Tonight of My Blue Eyes” by The Carter Family (1929).
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, using the pseudonym ‘John Ferguson’ 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 when recorded as ‘Wild Side of Life’, first by Jimmie Heap & the Melodie Masters and, then, a #1 hit by Hank Thompson.
“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.’