Going Back to the Beginning
After several dedicated attempts of landing on the chart, honky-tonk legend George Jones finally earned his first musical breakthrough in 1955. His single “Why Baby Why” peaked at number four on the Billboard country charts. Since then, his singles and albums created a noise in the country music industry.
Jones co-wrote the song with his long-time song-writing partner, Darrell Edwards. According to Edwards, the lyrics was inspired by an arguing couple in a gas station.
Lord, I can’t live without you and you know it’s true
But there’s no livin’ with you so what’ll I do
I’m goin’ honky tonkin’, get as tight as I can
And maybe by then you’ll ‘preciate a good man
Tell me why baby, why baby, why baby why
You make me cry baby, cry baby, cry baby cry
The song is an upbeat honky-tonk led by a fiddle that plays throughout the song. Having been covered by various artists, it was made known to be a country standard. The song has been labeled as a classic of “finger-pointin’ cheatin’ song.” Moreover, country music historian Colin Escott found the appeal of the song in “the way a Cajun dance number was trying to break free of a honky-tonk song.”
Remarkably, Jones himself recorded the backing vocal of the song. Engineer Bill Quinn, Jones’ friend, innovatively made things possible. The recording session happened at Gold Star Studios in Houston, Texas. The first airplay of the song was played in the same city at country music station KIKK. The song was then played in other different radio stations.
Red Sovine and Webb Pierce’s cover duet from Decca Records also rose to number one on the chart during the Christmas holiday period in 1955. Charley Pride also once again placed it on the top of the chart in 1983. Jones himself re-recorded it a number of times as a duet with various artists. Among them are Gene Pitney and Ricky Skaggs.
As we all know, George Jones earned his fame through perseverance and dedication. He knew from the very beginning that he was born to be an artist, therefore he took the risks and accepted failures until this song, “Why Baby Why” opened doors for many more glorious years in his career. May we gather inspiration from his story as we keep his songs in our hearts. Have a great day, fella!