This day in 1949: Hank Williams made his first appearance at #1 on the Billboard country singles chart with “Lovesick Blues.”
“Lovesick Blues” is a show tune written by Cliff Friend and Irving Mills. The song first appeared in the 1922 musical Oh, Ernest. It was recorded by Emmett Miller in 1925 and 1928, and later by country music singer Rex Griffin. The recordings by Griffin and Miller inspired Hank Williams to perform the song during his first appearances on the Louisiana Hayride in 1948. Receiving an enthusiastic reception from the audience, Williams decided to record his own version despite initial push back from his producer Fred Rose and his band.
MGM Records released “Lovesick Blues” in February 1949, and it became an overnight success, quickly reaching number one on Billboard’s Top C&W singles and number 24 on the Most Played in Jukeboxes list. The publication named it the top country and western record of the year, while Cashbox named it “Best Hillbilly Record of the Year”.
In 2004, Williams’ version was added to the National Recording Registry.