October 17

Hank Williams’ “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry”

Tunes like “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” bring back a lot of memories. There is this certain song that just speaks to us. When we dance or work out, we listen to upbeat music to boost our energy. To focus better, listening to classical music makes us accomplish tasks. And if we listen to sentimental tunes, we feel sad.

“I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” written and recorded by American country music singer-songwriter Hank Williams in 1949 was originally meant to be spoken rather than sung, as he had done on several of his previous recordings. The song about loneliness was largely inspired by his troubled relationship with wife Audrey Sheppard.

The Video and the Lyrics

Hear that lonesome whippoorwill
He sounds too blue to fly
The midnight train is whining low
I’m so lonesome I could cry

I’ve never seen a night so long
When time goes crawling by
The moon just went behind the clouds
To hide its face and cry

Did you ever see a robin weep
When leaves begin to die?
Like me, he’s lost the will to live
I’m so lonesome I could cry

The silence of a falling star
Lights up a purple sky
And as I wonder where you are
I’m so lonesome I could cry

Hank Williams' "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" 1
The face that gave feelings to “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry”

Technically, the song is made by a genius—simple yet heart-warming. Accompany it with the guitar and drums plus Hank Williams’ voice, it is perfect. That is why the song has been covered by a wide range of musicians. Elvis Presley, for example, during his Aloha from Hawaii TV-special introduced the track by saying, “I’d like to sing a song that’s…probably the saddest”.

Songwriting geniuses Kasey Chambers, Vince Hill and Bob Dylan have their own take on it.

          “It’s totally heartbreaking but you don’t want to stop listening to it. Oh God, it just makes

          you want to crawl into a hole. It has that combination of making you feel good and bad at

          the same time, which is what all great country music does.”


         “Read the words of that song. That’s as beautiful as you’ll ever want to hear the English

          language put out.”


           “Even at a young age, I identified with him. I didn’t have to experience anything that Hank

          did to know what he was singing about. I’d never heard a robin weep, but could imagine it

          and it made me sad.”

Listen with the heart that is how music works.


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