January 25

An Interesting Story From Tom T. Hall’s Single “Ballad of Forty Dollars”

A great story always comes out of one’s experience in life. Tom T. Hall is no stranger to writing amazing stories that are turned into a song. Take a look at his hit single “Harper Valley PTA,” it was a chart-topping song recorded by Jeannie C. Riley. His unique and interesting way of writing songs gave him the nickname “The Storyteller.”

Tom T. Hall
Photo Credit: Tom T. Hall/ tomthall.net

“Ballad of Forty Dollars”

One of the greatest stories Hall wrote was the “Ballad of Forty Dollars.” This song was recorded by him in 1968, as a track on his first studio album Ballad of Forty Dollars and His Other Great Songs. He released the song as a single in the same year, and it earned him his first top 10 on the country chart. Furthermore, it was his first song to enter the Canadian Country chart.

The Album

His album didn’t perform well on the chart, but other songs from his album which he released as a single did. “I Washed My Face in the Morning Dew” secured the number thirty position on the chart. In addition, “The World the Way I Want It” and “I Ain’t Got the Time” both entered the country chart, too.

Inspiration Behind “Ballad of Forty Dollars”

The “Ballad of Forty Dollars” was based on Hall’s experienced. He told CMT that his first job was mowing the grass in the cemetery. He said that there’s a lot of things that can be seen and a lot of stories can be heard there. Hall even mentioned that it is such an irony when a person dies and the people forgive his sins and say that he is a good man. Sometimes, he hears people talking about the dead man’s property and where it will go. Until one time, he heard a man said that the dead man owes him 40 bucks.

These events in Hall’s life gave him the inspiration to write the “Ballad of Forty Dollars.”

Check out Tom T. Hall’s story of a dead man who owes someone forty dollars.


tom t hall

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