Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Written and first recorded by Bill Mack (1956, released 1958).
Also recorded by Kenny Roberts (1966)
Hit version by LeAnn Rimes (US #26/C&W #10 1996).

From the wiki: “‘Blue’ was written and recorded in 1956 by Bill Mack but not released until 1958. Since then, it has been covered by several artists, most popularly by Country singer LeAnn Rimes in 1996. Her recording won Rimes and Mack the 1996 Grammy Award for Best Country Song, a 1996 Academy of Country Music Award for Song of the Year, a 1997 Country Music Association Awards nomination for Song of the Year, and a 1997 Country Radio Music Awards nomination for Song of the Year. ‘Blue’ is also included on the CMT list of the Top 100 Country Songs of All Time.

“In his autobiography, and contrary to popular opinion, Mack debunks the publicity claim that he had written the song specifically for Patsy Cline. According to a self-penned article for Truckers Connection, Mack revealed that his ‘most noteworthy inspirations had been a billboard and attempting to create note changes on a new guitar.’

“Mack says he composed ‘Blue’ in 1956 within 15 minutes while simply strumming his guitar. He recorded it that evening in two takes at Nesman Recording Studios in Wichita Falls, Texas. It was released in 1958 as a single for Starday Records backed by ‘Faded Rose’. It received a limited amount of radio airplay and sold fairly well regionally, but it did not become nationally popular.

“While Mack did not write ‘Blue’ specifically for Patsy Cline, Mack’s friend, Roy Drusky, suggested he pitch ‘Blue’ to Cline in an effort to make the song a hit. So, Mack gave a tape to Cline’s husband, Charlie Dick, for him to pass along to her but Cline died in a plane crash in 1963 before she could record it.

“Kenny Roberts released ‘Blue’ in 1966 as a single, revising the song by adding the yodel to it.

“LeAnn Rimes first recorded the song when she was 11 years old on an independent album, All That (1994), under the label Nor Va Jak. The song was re-recorded for her debut album, Blue, in 1996, when she was 13. Rimes’ recording of ‘Blue’ was meant to be the B-side of her first single, ‘The Light in Your Eyes’, but a ten-second tag of ‘Blue’ on the promo record sent to radio stations drew the attention of DJs, so the A and B sides were reversed and ‘Blue’ became her first single.

“Rimes won the 1996 Grammy for Best Female Country Vocal Performance for this version, drawing the attention that earned Mack, as songwriter, that year’s Grammy Award for Best Country Song.”

Kenny Roberts, “Blue” (1966):

LeAnn Rimes, “Blue” (1996):

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