The Tennessee Waltz

"The Tennessee Waltz" is a song, belonging to both the country music and popular genres, written by Redd Stewart and Pee Wee King in 1947, popularized by Patti Page and by Les Paul and Mary Ford in 1950. Country legend Roy Acuff recorded the song before either of these artists, however. In more recent years, a number of country artists have recorded the song, among them Emmylou Harris in 1981.

The Page recording was issued by Mercury Records as catalog number 5534, and first reached the Billboard pop music chart on November 10, 1950, lasting 30 weeks and peaking at #1. It also reached #2 on the Billboard country music chart. The song became Patti Page's biggest hit and has received many awards.

The Les Paul/Mary Ford recording was issued by Capitol Records as catalog number 1316, and also reached the Billboard top 10.

Other recordings were made by Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians (on Decca Records, catalog number 27336) and by Jo Stafford (on Columbia Records, catalog number 39065). A British version was also recorded by Petula Clark.

On the Cash Box best-selling record charts, where all recordings were combined, the song first entered the chart on November 25, 1950, reached #1 on December 30, 1950, and remained #1 through the February 3, 1951 chart.

Other releases

The song was released several times in later decades, notably by Alma Cogan in the early 1960s and in later years by Eva Cassidy. Sam Cooke included the song on his 1964 album Ain't That Good News, and Otis Redding recorded a version featuring Booker T & the MGs on his classic R&B album The Otis Redding Dictionary of Soul in 1966. The popularity of this song also made it the fourth official song of the state of Tennessee in 1965. It was adopted by Senate Joint Resolution 9 of the 84th General Assembly.

One version features crooner Tom Jones backed by traditional Irish folk band The Chieftans, from 1995's Long Black Veil.

The Swedish singer Lotta Engberg covered the song on her 2000 album Vilken härlig dag. This version is also included on her 2006 compilation album Världens bästa lotta.

There was also a release by Leonard Cohen on his album Dear Heather (October 26, 2004) with a new second verse.

Additional trivia

The State of Tennessee adopted the tune as one of its state songs in 1965.

Norah Jones played it as a tribute/encore during a live show at the House of Blues in New Orleans on August 24th 2002. It is featured as extra material on the following DVD-release of the show.

The University of Tennessee Pride of the Southland Band plays "The Tennessee Waltz" at the end of every football game.

The Appalachian State University Marching Mountaineers and the Baylor University Golden Wave Band both play "The Tennessee Waltz" following the end of every home football game.

Middle Tennessee State University and their Band of Blue also play a beautiful rendition of the "The Tennessee Waltz" at the end of their football games.

Like "Roll Over Beethoven", "The Tennessee Waltz" is a self-referential metasong, i.e. a song about the song itself.


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