February 20

Hank Cochran’s “A Little Bitty Tear” Made Famous by Burl Ives


You can pretend as much as you can, but eventually, the truth will come rushing in. Sometimes we try to stay tough and tell people we don’t care about anything. We try to act as if being vulnerable is a weakness. But, we are only human, and no matter what we do, we feel pain and sadness too. That is why it’s sometimes better to feel what is hurting you than pretending to be fine.

Burl Ives Hank Cochran A Little Bitty Tear
Photo Credit: Burl Ives/ Paul Popper/ Popperfoto/ Getty Images

“A Little Bitty Tear”

“A Little Bitty Tear” teaches us the lesson that as humans, we are vulnerable. The narrator of the song was certain that he can be strong even if his lover left him. He proudly says that it doesn’t bother him, but as soon as she walked away, he immediately felt the pain.

Till you walked with your grip through the door
A little bitty tear let me down
Spoiled my act as a clown
I had it made up not make a frown
But a little bitty tear let me down

Burl Ives’ Version

Hank Cochran wrote the song “A Little Bitty Tear” in 1961, but he wasn’t the first artist to record the song. Burl Ives took the song and recorded it. As a result, the song, which was part of his album The Versatile Burl Ives, secured a spot on the country and Hot 100 chart of the Billboard. It was Ives’ most successful song in his career. He had released other songs, but it was not as successful as “A Little Bitty Tear.”

Grammy Nomination

Ives had not only made the song secure a spot on the US chart, but he was also nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Country and Western Recording, and Best Male Solo Vocal Performance.

Hank Cochran’s Inspiration

If you are as great as Cochran, you can write a song without any inspiration. He told Billboard magazine that “A Little Bitty Tear” just popped up in his head while driving home from work.

Different Versions

After the success of Ives’ version, other artists such as Wanda Jackson, Hank Cochran and Willie Nelson, Skeeter Davis, and more released their rendition.



Burl Ives, Hank Cochran

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