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Gene Watson’s Version of “Farewell Party” is not for the Faint of Heart

Gene Watson + Farewell Party

In 1979, Gene Watson released his version of the classic country hit “Farewell Party” as part of his album Reflections. 

The song was initially released in 1960 by American country singer and songwriter Lawton Williams. It was later popularized by artists like Little Jimmy Dickens, Johnny Bush, and Waylon Jennings. Gene Watson released his version under the Capitol label. 

Watson’s version was rather successful, with the song landing at no. 5 on the US Hot Country Songs (Billboard) and no. 9 on the Canadian RPM Country Tracks. It also peaked at no. 5 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles and Tracks Chart, making it one of, or better yet, the greatest hit song in Gene Watson’s entire music career. 

Compared to the other covers released for this song, Watson is probably the only artist to use vibrato making his version unique and more heartfelt. But this doesn’t mean that his execution is not clean, in fact, listeners praise him for how he carefully places his vibratos in the right places, making his delivery neat.

But aside from that, the meaning behind the song is also worth knowing, considering it is one of the factors why the song became such a hit to many. So, let’s dive into the heart-wrenching meaning behind “Farewell Party” by Gene Watsons. 

Meaning Behind The Song 

Originally written by Lawton Williams, the song simply talks about the time we leave this world. The song has instantly become a theme song for funerals as listeners who are grieving can relate to the song. 

It conceals a feeling of loneliness whenever someone is set to say goodbye. That is why, complimented by Gene Watson’s voice, his version instantly became a hit to many to the point that it became his signature song to this day. 

Moreover, because of the undeniable success of “Farewell Party,” Watson ended up forming the Farewell Party Band, with notable musicians such as Tony Booth. 

The song also relates to Watson’s life, especially during the times he was in deep darkness after he was diagnosed with colon cancer. During those times, the idea of him suddenly leaving his loved ones behind always crossed his mind. Fortunately, he underwent surgery and survived colon cancer in 2001. 

Years later, in an interview, Watson also revealed how he felt that it didn’t seem anyone wanted him to record the song at first as they thought it was too sad. 

But after singing “Farewell Party” in clubs for years, he had the urge to record it no matter what, and thankfully, he did, as it became one of Gene Watson’s classic hits to this day. Listen to his performance in the video below.