“Sixteen Tons” is a song that talks about the hardship and life of a coal miner. Also, how the coal miners work hard every single day and sacrifice a lot. But, they do not get rich or have a better life. The song was written by Merle Travis in 1946. Travis’ inspiration for the song came from his family. Some lines in the song were inspired by the words of his brother and father.
Merle Travis recorded the song first for his album Folk Songs of the Hills. It became a hit song for Travis.
Tennessee Ernie Ford’s Version
In 1955, country singer, Tennessee Ernie Ford released his version of the song “Sixteen Tons.” Ford made the song famous, and it reached the top of the charts. “Sixteen Tons” secured the number one spot on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. In addition, it entered the Billboard Hot 100 at number one.
Aside from Ford’s version, there are also other artists who recorded Travis’ song. These artists who covered the song “Sixteen Tons” are Red Sovine, Eddy Arnold, Jerry Reed, Johnny Cash, LeAnn Rimes, and many more from different genres.
LeAnn Rimes’ Version
LeAnn Rimes attempted to make an album covering songs from different known male country singers. She made the female version of well-known country songs. One of which is the song “Sixteen Tons.” Her version of Travis’ song was good. However, it did not make it to the Billboard chart.
The only songs from her album Lady & Gentlemen that made it to the Billboard chart were “Swingin’,” “Crazy Women,” and “Give.” Her album also secured a spot on the Billboard chart. Lady & Gentlemen reached number seven on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart. Moreover, it obtained the number thirty-second position on the Billboard 200. Aside from entering the charts in the US. LeAnn Rimes’ album also entered the UK and Australian charts.
Here is LeAnn Rimes’ version of “Sixteen Tons.”