The song “Release Me” originated from the popular music genre. Eddie “Piano” Miller, James Pebworth and Robert Yount penned its lyrics in 1949. Jimmy Heap and the Melody Masters originally recorded it in 1953. Perhaps, the artist whose name is most associated with “Release Me” was Engelbert Humperdinck who made the song very popular in the UK. His version held the topmost spot of the UK Singles chart in 1967 for six weeks. In addition, Humperdinck set the record for having the highest selling single in the same year with his cover of the song. Eventually, the song became one of UK’s highest selling singles of all time.
The Song’s Turn in Country Music
However, aside from Humperdinck, there are many other music artists who had their fair share of the song’s success. In country music, for instance, several country legends have recorded the song and performed it in various events. It was in 1954 though that the song shone the brightest in country music. A year after it was originally recorded, three of the renowned country stars covered the song one after the other. The versions of Patti Page, Kitty Wells, and Ray Price all became a hit.
Of the three, Ray Price’s record was the most significant. Prior to this, Price already had several major hits. However, “Release Me” is sometimes considered his breakthrough single. The incorporation of his signature sound, a 4/4 shuffle element, to the song brought it to success. Accordingly, the single reached No. 6 on the country chart. Its A-side, “I’ll Be There (If You Ever Want Me), was also a big hit peaking at No. 2. Since then, the song has been recorded by many more country greats such as Lefty Frizzel (1959), Roger Miller (1960s), Johnny Paycheck (1968), Dolly Parton (1968), Elvis Presley (1970), and Loretta Lynn & Conway Twitty (1973), among others.
Below is a clip of Ray Price performing “Release Me” at Willie’s Place in Carl’s Corner Texas last December 16, 2009.
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conway twitty, Dolly Parton, Elvis Presley, Engelbert Humperdinck, Jimmy Heap, Johnny Paycheck, kitty wells, Lefty Frizzel, Loretta Lynn, Melody Masters, Patti Page, ray price, roger miller