I was dancing with my darling to the Tennessee Waltz
When an old friend I happened to see
I introduced her to my loved one
And while they were dancing
My friend stole my sweetheart from me
I remember the night and the Tennessee Waltz
Now I know just how much I have lost
Yes, I lost my little darling the night they were playing
The beautiful Tennessee Waltz
About the Song
Penned by Tennessean Redd Stewart and composed by Wisconsinite Pee Wee King, “Tennessee Waltz” was recorded and popularized by Oklahoman country and pop music singer Patti Page. It was recorded on December 2, 1947, and released in January 1948. The song became a massive hit. It sold a multi-million recording worldwide. In Japan, it was the biggest selling song as of 1974.
“Tennessee Waltz” narrates a situation wherein the person has introduced his/her lover to an old friend who then waltzes away with him/her. The lyrics are altered for pronoun gender on the basis of the gender of the singer. The song is self-referential, in that it is a song about itself. (Wikipedia)
With the popularity and success of “Tennessee Waltz“, it became the fourth official song of the state of Tennessee in 1965.
Patti Page and “Tennessee Waltz”
In 1950, two years after its release, Patti Page recorded the song and released her own version. Her recording is the most popular version. It sold over 10 million copies, making it the largest selling record by a female artist in history.
To note, “Tennessee Waltz” peaked at no. 1 concurrently on the country, pop, and R&B charts, an achievement no other artist in recording history can claim.
Originally, Page recorded the country waltz as a B-side of her Christmas novelty, “Boogie Woogie Santa Claus.” However, “Boogie Woogie Santa Claus” disappeared on the charts just weeks after its release.
In an interview, Page recalled:
“Mercury wanted to concentrate on a Christmas song and they didn’t want anything with much merit on the flip side. They didn’t want any disc jockeys to turn the Christmas record over. The title of that great Christmas song was “Boogie Woogie Santa Claus,” and no one ever heard of it.”
Overall, Patti Page’s take on this song was so popular that it led other artists to cover it, too. Jo Stafford’s and Les Paul with Mary Ford’s version both made it to the Top Ten. Meanwhile, the version of Teddy Johnson and Anita O’Day both placed no. 1 on the UK charts.
Watch the sensational rendition of Patti Page’s “Tennessee Waltz” below:
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