Friday, December 8, 2006

50 years ago: “Singing the Blues” hit #1 on pop charts for first of 10 weeks

Singing the Blues

Marty Robbins

Writer(s): Melvin Endsley (see lyrics here)

First Charted: September 22, 1956

Peak: 17 US, 17 HP, 113Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): --

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 2.0 radio, 1.01 video, -- streaming

Singing the Blues

Guy Mitchell

First Charted: October 20, 1956

Peak: 110 US, 17 HP, 19 CB, 18 HR, 13 UK, 16 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 1.0 US

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 2.0 radio, 2.66 video, 1.91 streaming

Awards (Robbins):

Click on award for more details.

Awards (Mitchell):

About the Song:

For a man who became “one of country music’s most unique stars,” AC Marty Robbins surprisingly didn’t show much interest in music until after entering the Navy. He started learning guitar while on a ship in the Pacific and when he got home to Phoenix, Airzona, he persuaded an old friend who owned a night club to let him sit in with the house band. After getting a chance to sing, he became a regular headliner at the club. He started charting country hits in 1952, but four years later he had only six chart entries. He had a “tremendous voice and boundless energy” AC but “didn’t know who he wanted to be” AC which kept him from narrowing in a specific direction or style.

Around this time, songwriter Melvin Endsley had dreams of coming to Nashville and writing hits for Hank Williams. After Williams’ death, Endlsey said, “In all honesty, I still was writing songs for him after he died.” AC When he and a friend drove to Nashville in the summer of 1955, he naively dreamed of hitting it big, not realizing “that a country boy just didn’t drive into town, sell a big song and become a star. That only happened in the movies.” AC

However, Endsley and his friend went to a show and ran into Marty Robbins. Ensley said he’d written some songs and Robbins asked him to play some. He then asked him to come to the studio the next day to record. Robbins asked him to hold one song – “Singing the Blues” – for six months because he thought he might like to record it. A year later, Robbins released it as a single and it dethroned Elvis Presley’s “Hound Dog”/”Don’t Be Cruel” single from the top of the country charts.

Two months after that, a Detroit-born singer named Guy Mitchell covered the song and took it to #1 on the pop charts. He racked up nine top-ten hits from 1950 to 1960, including “Heartaches by the Number,” another #1 version of a song which was originally a country hit. Around the same time as Robbins and Mitchell’s takes on the song, Tommy Steele also released it and – like Robbins’ version – hit #1 in the UK.


  • DMDB encyclopedia entry for Guy Mitchell
  • DMDB encyclopedia entry for Marty Robbins
  • AC Ace Collins (1996). The Stories Behind Country Music’s All-Time Greatest 100 Songs. New York, NY; The Berkley Publishing Group. Pages 97-99.
  • WK Wikipedia

First posted 8/27/2022.

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