Rewind 68 years ago on June 11, Hank Williams Sr.’ had his monumental debut performance at the Grand Ole Opry. The avid audience called him six times to encore the song “Lovesick Blues”, thus, making it historic. One among the best live performances, indeed! Additionally, it led to a three-year-country stardom for Williams until that fateful day of his death at age 29 due to heavy alcoholism.

Composed by Irving Mills and Cliff Friend, “Lovesick Blues” was first given the title “I’ve Got the Lovesick Blues.” In fact, about five artists made their singing versions from its release in 1922, but it was only after Hank Williams Sr. performed it at the Louisiana Hayride which resulted to its recording and release in 1949 that the song was finally given merit. Instead of jazz, Williams and his band replaced it with a honky tonk beat using a rhythm guitar, mandolin, string bass, drums and a steel guitar plus the yodeling from Emmett Miller’s version in November 1925.

“Hank’s razz-mah-tazz approach and ear-catching yodeling should keep this side spinning”
review by Billboard, February 26, 1949 –

Once released, Williams’ “Lovesick Blues” worked its magic up to the top of Country Song Charts and was listed the “number one country and western record of 1949.” Likewise, Cashbox named it “Best Hillbilly record of the year” Initially, when Williams proposed the recording, producer Fred Rose did not think much of the song as worth it. Fortunately, Williams still carried on his plan. Had he conceded, he would have missed the big opportunities which came the following years. From then on, he was dubbed “The Lovesick Blues Boy,” and he used the song to conclude all his shows.

Other successful versions were made by the following artists.

YearArtistChartPeak position
1957Sonny JamesBillboard Hot Country Singles15
1962Floyd CramerBillboard Pop Singles87
Frank IfieldUK Singles Chart1[27]
1963Frank IfieldBillboard Pop Singles44[28]
1992George StraitCanada Country Tracks (RPM)22
Billboard Hot Country Singles24

(lifted from Wikipedia)