The Most Hurtful Thing Done in "Heartaches by the Number" 1Ray Price / (Photo credit: Screen grabbed from Youtube)

Could there be anything more hurtful than counting your heartache? Recalling the number of times your beloved has hurt you would be a terrible task. Doing so means bringing back the painful past. But this miserable situation someone could be into has been beautifully made into a song by songwriter Harlan Howard. His music sheet for the song, which was published in 1959, was a smash both in the US and Britain at the onset of 1960. On the same year that the song was published, the late country singer Ray Price first recorded it. His version reached No. 2 on the Hot Country and Western Sides chart. Surprisingly, it stayed on the chart for a total of 40 weeks.

The song portrays a man who enumerates his heartaches. He mentioned a total of three of his sorrows. All of them are quite related to each other. His partner left him and every now and then, she’s promising him to come back and stayed for good. However, none of her promises was fulfilled. And all the time, what he did was wait, but only for nothing. That only added to his heartache.

Now I’ve got heartaches by the number
Troubles by the score
Every day you love me less
Each day I love you more
Yes, I’ve got heartaches by the number
A love that I can’t win
But the day that I stop counting
That’s the day my world will end

Other Distinguished Versions

After Price, plenty of artists in the music industry began recording the song. As expected, most of them were from the country music genre. Also, a majority of these cover versions were recorded in the 1960s. In 1961, George Jones, Kitty Wells, and Buck Owens covered the song independently. Jerry Lee Lewis ended the recording of the song’s covers in the ‘60’s with his own version released in 1969. In the years and decades that follow, many other country singers recorded the song. The said recording persisted until the 21st century. Currently, it’s Cyndi Lauper who the last covered the song in 2016.

While most of the song’s covers were performed by country music artists, it’s Guy Mitchell, whose music concentrates on the pop genre, who was able to bring the song to the chart’s top. His version came out on August 24, 1959, just a few months after Price recorded it. Mitchell’s version reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in December of the same year.

Listen to Ray Price’s recording of “Heartaches by the Number” below.

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