Willie Nelson’s Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain is one of his hallmark covers which landed him back to where he could walk his path as a legend in the country music scene. While he enjoyed a good deal of success with his songwriting like Patsy Cline’s Crazy and Faron Young’s Hello Walls, he wasn’t that lucky with his own songs and performances. He only received modest success with only 2 number one hits at that time in 1962 namely, Touch Me and Willingly, which was a duet with Shirley Collie.
Willie Nelson had a 13-year drought before earning another number one hit with a cover of the 1940 song Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain. The song was written by songwriter Fred Rose and originally performed by Roy Acuff. Before Nelson, the song has been covered by various artists like Hank Williams Sr., Johnny Russell, and Charley Pride. But his cover included in his iconic 1975 album Red Headed Stranger really made a mark above everyone else. This song and this album definitely revived his country music career.
Bill Malone, American musician and historian specializing in country music and traditional American music, lauded Nelson’s version describing it as a fine example of uncluttered country music. He also noted that the spare arrangement was something that would have come out straight out of the ’40s. Rolling Stone also noted the jazz-style phrasing delivery of the song really put the song as the beating heart of the album.
Aside from being a chart-topping song, it also reached number 21 on the Billboard Hot 100. It was also named as the third-biggest song of the year. In 2004, Rolling Stone put Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain in its list of 100 Greatest Country Songs of All Time and in the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
And back in 2003, Canadian singer and songwriter Shania Twain joined Willie Nelson in a moving performance cover of the song. This was featured on Willie’s live album titled Willie Nelson: Live and Kickin, which was in honor of the legend’s 70th birthday. The star-studded album also included performances by Eric Clapton, Kenny Chesney, Toby Keith, and Sheryl Crow.
Willie Nelson’s Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain is truly one of his greatest songs in his catalogue. This is one of the Willie Nelson songs that will always be a reminder of how he deserves the title of being a legend in the country music scene. You can watch the song’s music video below.