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Tennessee Waltz

Updated on June 24, 2014

One of the most popular songs of the 20th century

What makes the Tennessee Waltz so beautiful?

The song is beautiful to me for its warm memories of childhood. My mother played that record, 78 rpm on shellac, and danced around holding me up high, singing along with Patti Page. But it's not just simple sentimentality that endears Tennessee Waltz to so many people.

Patti Page recorded Tennessee Waltz as the B side of a 1950 Christmas disc and since then it's been recorded more than 300 times, and won the BMI's 3,000,000 Airplay Award - the equivalent to 17.1 years of continuous playing!

In 1965, Tennessee Waltz became the fourth official song of the State of Tennessee.

The first Crossover from Country to Pop

Tennessee Waltz came from Country Music, the theme song of Pee Wee King and his Golden West Cowboys. King wrote the lyrics and they were sung by his lead vocalist Redd Stewart and first recorded in 1947.

Over 300 versions have been put down since and I've collected my six favourites here. Which one is yours?

Patti Page sings Tennessee Waltz

Miss Patti Page was the first crossover artist to take country music out of the country and onto the pop charts with the legendary Tennessee Waltz This is her 1950 recording and the first version I heard.

Patsy Cline sings Tennessee Waltz

Patsy Cline is considered one of the most influential, successful and acclaimed female vocalists of the 20th century. Posthumously, millions of her albums have sold over the past 50+ years and in 1973, ten years after her death, she became the first female solo artist inducted to the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Patsy sings Tennessee Waltz in her own heart-aching style.

Bonnie Rait and Norah Jones sing Tennessee Waltz

Norah and Bonnie with a sweet, slow version of Tennessee Waltz.

I love anything Bonnie does, and the lovely Norah Jones is a delight. These two musicians are just wonderful together!

Leonard Cohen sings Tennessee Waltz

For four decades, Leonard Cohen has been one of the most important and influential songwriters of our time. Here's his version of Tennessee Waltz, in full classic country style.

Leonard Cohen

Elvis almost sings Tennessee Waltz

Elvis joking around in a recording session. It's well worth listening to just for the backing musicians.

Tom Jones sings Tennessee Waltz

Yep, there's no mistake with the cover - this is indeed Tom Jones with The Chieftains!

Tennessee Waltz on MP3

So many to choose from!

Some of the best I could find. Shawn Colvin, Anne Murray, Floyd Cramer, Sam Cooke, Cowboy Copas and of course, Patti Page. Includes an excellent version from the Appalachian Pickers

What's the best version of Tennessee Waltz?

Which one is your pick as the best?

See results

Is there another version you prefer? Let me know.

All comments are greatly appreciated. You don't have to be a Squidoo member to leave yours.

Hum a line in my Guestbook

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    • profile image

      VillaDejaBlue 6 years ago

      Nice lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      I just wanted to invite everyone to our tribute site of the man behind the song, 'Tennessee Waltz', Redd Stewart. He co-wrote the song with Pee Wee King.

    • oldiesmusicnut profile image

      oldiesmusicnut 7 years ago

      Patti Page's version was the one I first heard as a pre-teen in the 50's, and remains my favorite. Such a beautiful song. That Elvis video is precious!! Love it! Thank you for your tribute to this wonderful song.

    • LisaMarieGabriel profile image

      Lisa Marie Gabriel 7 years ago from United Kingdom

      A beautifully presented lens on a country classic! Blessed by a Squid Angel today :)

    • profile image

      ohcaroline 7 years ago

      The Tennessee Waltz was one of my mother's favorite songs...and boy, she could really play it on the piano. It's the song I will forever remember her by. :)

    • auronlu profile image

      auronlu 7 years ago from Spira

      *fall to pieces over Patti Page*

      Oh man. I need to get some of her albums. I used to fall asleep to a "Best of Patti Page" LP when I was a wee mump.

      Thanks for this, Susanna. I am appalled to admit I had not heard this song before! Very lovely.

    • Shades-of-truth profile image

      Emily Tack 7 years ago from USA

      That is a tough one - hum a line? I can hum the entire song, and play it, too, on many different instruments. At my store, we play a lot of music from the 1920's, 1930's and 1940's. Without exception, every collection has a version of the beautiful Tennessee Waltz. Talk about a popular song, that is apparently timeless. Cannot nominate another version - there are too many! Great Lens, and great info!