Hank Williams – Your Cheatin’ Heart

***I have posted my 10 favorite covers of Beatle songs at Keith’s site nostaligicitalian ***

The man was such a great songwriter. His influences stretched from Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Rolling Stones and everyone in between…so lets hear it for The Hillbilly Shakespeare

This could be William’s best known song. Williams wrote this shortly after divorcing his wife, Audrey Mae Sheppard. They married in 1944 right after Audrey got a divorce from her husband.  The pair would go on to record several duets together (and produce a son, Hank Williams Jr.), but Williams’ drinking ultimately caused trouble in their marriage.

When Hank described his first wife (Audrey) having a cheatin’ heart to country singer Billie Jean Jones, who would soon become his second wife, he was inspired to write the song.

This song was recorded in September of 1952. He would die in January 1,  1953. This would be his last recording session. He also recorded  recording Kaw-Liga, I Could Never Be Ashamed of You, and Take These Chains from My Heart. 

His last single during his lifetime was  I’ll Never Get Out of This World Alive backed with I Could Never Be Ashamed of You which was released in November  1952.

Your Cheatin’ Heart peaked at #1 on the US Country Charts in 1953.

Billie Jean Jones (second wife) on Hank Williams saying the phrase in a car: “Then he said, ‘Hey that’d make a good song! Get out my tablet, baby, you and I are gonna write us a song,'” “Just about as fast as I could write it, Hank quoted the words to me in a matter of minutes.”

From Songfacts

Williams recorded this in September 1952 during what would be his last session at Nashville’s Castle Records. He would die just months later from heart problems (or, some say, suspicious circumstances) on the way to a New Year’s concert in Canton, Ohio. The song was posthumously released in January 1953 and topped the Country & Western Billboard Charts for six weeks.

Many artists have covered this over the years, including Louis Armstrong, Glen Campbell, Fats Domino and Jerry Lee Lewis. Ray Charles’ 1962 version was a hit in both the US and the UK, peaking at #29 and #13, respectively.

Rat Pack member Joey Bishop recorded this in the ’60s on the album Cold, Cold, Heart. Bishop was an actor, and many people considered his version so bad it was actually entertaining. On the album cover, Bishop is dressed in a rhinestone cowboy costume. It contains liner notes by fellow Rat Packer Dean Martin. 

For the line “You’ll walk the floor, the way I do,” Williams took inspiration from his friend Ernest Tubb’s “Walkin’ the Floor Over You.” He also recorded three of Tubb’s hits, which were released posthumously: “First Year Blues,” “It Just Don’t Matter Now” and “I’m Free at Last.”

This song shares its name with the 1964 biopic of Hank Williams, starring George Hamilton. Hank Williams Jr. recorded the soundtrack album.

Two versions of this hit the pop charts in 1953: Joni James’ at #2 and Frankie Laine’s at #18.

Your Cheatin’ Heart

Your cheatin’ heart
Will make you weep
You’ll cry and cry
And try to sleep
But sleep won’t come
The whole night through
Your cheatin’ heart
Will tell on you

When tears come down
Like falling rain
You’ll toss around
And call my name
You’ll walk the floor
The way I do
Your cheatin’ heart
Will tell on you

Your cheatin’ heart
Will pine some day
And crave the love
You threw away
The time will come
When you’ll be blue
Your cheatin’ heart
Will tell on you

When tears come down
Like falling rain
You’ll toss around
And call my name
You’ll walk the floor
The way I do
Your cheatin’ heart
Will tell on you