Hank Williams was the hottest thing in all of country music around the turn of the 1950s. He scored three No. 1 ones on Billboard’s country chart in just over a year from May 1949 onwards, racking up an almost unbelievable aggregate of 34 weeks atop the survey with ‘Lovesick Blues,’ ‘Long Gone Lonesome Blues’ and ‘Why Don’t You Love Me’ (the latter covered by Tom Jones on his 2015 album Long Lost Suitcase).
On 18 November 1950, Hank entered the countdown yet again with the song that, in the last week of the year, would become his next No. 1, ‘Moanin’ The Blues.’ The MGM single, written as usual by Williams himself and produced by Fred Rose, was backed with ‘Nobody’s Lonesome For Me,’ a song strong enough to become a hit in its own right, with a No. 9 peak and a four-week chart run.
But ‘Moanin’ The Blues’ spent no fewer than 15 weeks on the tally, and ended 1950 by replacing another country classic, Lefty Frizzell’s ‘If You’ve Got The Money Honey, I’ve Got The Time’ as the genre’s most popular song of the week. Williams’ single went on to be the title number from his second album, but not until 1952, when it joined ‘Lovesick Blues’ (by then, three years old) and a then-new hit, ‘Honky Tonk Blues,’ on the LP.
‘Moanin’ The Blues’ was later cut by other country stars such as Marty Robbins and made a modest country chart reappearance in 1989 in a version by Vicki Bird, who regularly appeared on the TV show Hee Haw. There were versions of the tune in the 1970s by Mel Tillis and his band the Statesiders, and Merle Haggard and his, the Strangers, and it was interpreted again in 1980 by Charley Pride.
‘Moanin’ The Blues’ is on Hank Williams’ 40 Greatest Hits, which can be bought here.