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