Celebrate the Heart of Country, Americana, and Roots Music!

Drop Us A Line, Y'all

Y'all interested in advertising, partnering up, contributing stories, joining our team, or just got a question? Well, don't be shy, drop us a line!

Follow Us

Blast from The Past: Jim Reeves’ First No. 1 Hit in the 1960s, “He’ll Have to Go”


The song “He’ll Have To Go” took Jim Reeves’s career to even greater heights.

Singer Billy Brown first recorded it; however, Brown’s version failed to make waves and only got occasional airplay on the country stations. But out of those few occasions, Reeves got lucky to hear it.

The moment he heard the song, he knew he had to record it right away. Though he was advised to keep at bay and see if Brown’s version would go anywhere, still Reeves insisted – he knew that this song was the one. “This is going to be the big one. No matter what I’ve done in the past, or ever will do, ‘He’ll Have to Go’ is going’ to be the one that will live on,” Reeves said.

So, in the fall of 1959, Reeves released his version of “He’ll Have To Go” to country radio as the B-side of the single “In a Mansion Stands My Love.” And as Reeves expected, it was not long before the song became a huge country and pop hit.

Reeves’ “He’ll Have To Go” reached the top spot of the Hot Country Singles chart, where it remained for fourteen consecutive weeks. The song was a crossover success peaking at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100. In addition, it also reached No. 13 on the R&B Singles Chart. At the end of 1960, the song landed on the second spot of Billboard’s Song Of The Year.

The song also enjoyed commercial success internationally, reaching No. 1 in Canada’s pop charts for six weeks and No. 1 on the # Australian Singles chart while No. 12 on the UK Singles chart. Over the years, it has been covered by the likes of Elvis Presley, Tom Jones, Elton John, Bryan Ferry, and Mark Knopfler, to name a few.

The Story Behind The Song That Changed Jim Reeves’ Career

Written by husband and wife songwriting couple, Joe and Audrey Allison, “He’ll Have To Go” tells the tale of a man ringing the woman he loves only to realize that another man is with her. He can no longer say the intimate things he usually would because the other man is on the scene.

“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,” the song begins.

It was later revealed that though the song was not a true story and no one else was involved, it was a real phone call that inspired it.

One day when Joe was out, he called his wife to check on her. But Audrey had such a soft voice that Joe had trouble hearing what she was saying. Joe kept asking her to repeat herself and told her to put her mouth closer to the receiver so he could listen to her properly. Audrey did what Joe asked, and everything turned out fine.

When Joe finally got home, he saw a piece of paper that was always kept by the phone with a single line Audrey had written. It read, “Put your sweet lips a little closer to the phone” – that one line inspired a memorable song that it is today.

Reeves, on the other hand, made that song his own. It will absolutely make you believe that the problem was between him and the love of his life. You can see it for yourself in Jim Reeves’ breathtaking performance of “He’ll Have To Go” in the video below.


Latest Stories

Travis Tritt + Help Me Hold On

Travis Tritt Begs His Lover For One More Chance In “Help Me Hold On”

Country singer Travis Tritt scored his first number-one hit with his second release from his 1990 debut album Country Club titled “Help Me Hold On.” He co-wrote it with accomplished ...

Carrie Underwood Falls Off Stage on Tail End of South Carolina Concert

Carrie Underwood Rocks Carolina Country Music Fest Despite Rain

Country singer Carrie Underwood graced the last day stage of the Carolina Country Music Fest 2024 in Myrtle Beach and delivered one hell of a performance despite the massive downpour. ...

Billy Ray Cyrus Files for Divorce from Firerose, Seeks Annulment on Grounds of Fraud

Billy Ray Cyrus Files for Divorce from Firerose, Cites Fraud

American country singer Billy Ray Cyrus reached a breaking point with Australian singer Firerose just after seven months of marriage. According to court documents obtained by the Associated Press, Billy ...

Travis Tritt + Best of Intentions

Travis Tritt Made A Career Comeback With “Best of Intentions”

It was 2000, and it had been six years since Travis Tritt hit the top of the charts and three since his last appearance in the Top 10. The first ...

Sonny James Death

A Moment To Remember: Country Singer Sonny James’ Death At 87

Country singer Sonny James, known for his 1957 track “Young Love,” which topped both country and pop charts, passed away on February 22, 2016, at Nashville’s Alive Hospice. According to ...

Wynonna Sings Coal Miner's Daughter with Loretta Lynn's Granddaughter Emmy Russell - Idol

Wynonna Judd Joins Emmy Russell On Idol To Sing “Coal Miner’s Daughter”

Emmy Russell started her American Idol journey with an original song. She fittingly ended it with a tribute cover of “Coal Miner’s Daughter” for her late grandmother and country legend ...

Johnny Cash + Forty Shades of Green

“Forty Shades of Green”: Johnny Cash’s Ode to Ireland

Country legend Johnny Cash released an ode to Ireland appreciating its beauty with “Forty Shades of Green” as part of his album Ring of Fire: The Best of Johnny Cash ...

Randy Travis A Country Legend's Fight for His Voice and His Legacy

What Happened to Randy Travis After Massive Stroke and Dire Financial Situation?

What happened to Randy Travis? That has been the question of many of his fans after his massive stroke in 2013.  Randy Travis is a legend and an icon in ...

5 Must-Hear Lainey Wilson Collaborations

Here Are 5 Lainey Wilson Collaborations You Shouldn’t Miss Out On

Country singer Lainey Wilson’s discography isn’t just a string of solo hits. Over the years, she has also steadily stacked up her collaboration resume — earning several number ones from ...

Lukas Nelson And Sierra Ferrell + Crying Time

Lukas Nelson & Sierra Ferrell Harmonize on Buck Owens’ “Crying Time”

Buck Owen’s 1964 track “Crying Time,” popularized by Ray Charles, is making waves again after Lukas Nelson and Sierra Ferrell shared a casual snippet of their take on the song.  ...

Leave a Comment

For security, use of Google's reCAPTCHA service is required which is subject to the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.