Tennessee Ernie Ford is one of the famous 1950s country singers with hits such as “The Shotgun Boogie” and “Sixteen Tons.” The latter became one of Ernie Ford’s recognizable songs because of the message of the song and how he performed it.

The track was originally by Merle Travis, but the singer accidentally found the song when he was brushing up on Merle’s songbook.

ernie ford, sixteen tons

via Screengrab from YouTube

Tennessee Ernie Ford’s Hit “Sixteen Tons”

Ernie Ford’s performance of the track was a crossover hit. It spent 10 weeks on top of the country charts and seven weeks on top of the pop charts. Some would say that his performance of the song turned him into a big country star.

The singer almost didn’t record the song due to his busy schedule. However, when he saw Merle Travis’ songbook,  he chose “Sixteen Tons” for convenience. Also, he was rushing to record new songs for his album. Little did he know that it will be one of his biggest hits.

Lyrics  Breakdown

You load sixteen tons, what do you get?
Another day older and deeper in debt
Saint Peter, don’t you call me ’cause I can’t go
I owe my soul to the company store

ernie ford, sixteen tons

via Screengrab from YouTube

Ernie Ford’s song is very relevant to the working class of America right now. Just like Loretta Lynn’s song, this track is giving the spotlight to our hardworking citizens who are not getting paid well even if they work very hard. Our society was built in a way that those who work a blue-collared job earn less than those who don’t.

This struggle is still felt by our fellow citizens working a manual labor job. What could we do to help them? For starters, a better health care system and salary increase would make our hard-working citizens happy. Our legislators should prioritize them because our country is founded by their sacrifices and efforts.

Listen to Ernie Ford’s song here: