Country singer Jim Reeves heard Billy Brown’s version of “He’ll Have to Go.” By then, he was eager to record the song. When he found out that it wasn’t a huge success for Brown, he went on to make his version. In 1959, Reeves released his recording as the B-side to “In a Mansion Stands My Love.” However, the latter wasn’t getting much attention. Therefore, his producer decided to make “He’ll Have to Go” the A-side single.

black and white photo of Jim reeves
Photo Credit: allmusic.com

Chart Performance of Jim Reeves’ “He’ll Have to Go”

Jim Reeves’ cover of “He’ll Have to Go” reached the top of the country chart. Furthermore, it entered the R&B chart at number thirteen. Reeves’ song also entered various charts outside of the US. When Reeves made the song popular, many artists decided to record it, too.

Other Covers

In 1976, Elvis Presley covered “He’ll Have to Go.” Many believed that this was the last song recorded by Presley in a studio.

Another cover of the song was by Solomon Burke in 1964. His version performed well on the chart as it secured a spot on both the US Adult Contemporary and R&B charts.

The Answer Song

“He’ll Have to Go” triggered songwriters Audrey Allison, Charles Grean, and Joe Allison to write an answer song. “He’ll Have to Stay” was recorded by Jeanne Black in 1960. The answer song reached number six on the country chart and number four on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

Songwriters

The song was written by married couple Joe Allison and Audrey Allison (both co-wrote the answer song “He’ll Have to Stay). They were inspired by their conversation on the phone, where the connection was bad that they can’t hear each other well.

The Song’s Content

Reeves’ single tells the story of a man who is in love with a woman that is already in a relationship. The narrator wanted to know if she loves him, but she wasn’t answering him because someone is with her at the moment.

Put your sweet lips a little closer to the phone

Let’s pretend that we’re together, all alone

I’ll tell the man to turn the jukebox way down low

And you can tell your friend there with you he’ll have to go

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpi8Bek6jdM