Tennessee Waltz was written by Pee Wee King and Redd Stewart in 1946. However, Jimmy Wilkinson claims to have written the song and sold it to King. The song was not released until the end of 1947.
According to King and Stweart, the two men were driving to an appearance in Nashville when “The Kentucky Waltz” by Bill Monroe came on the radio. Stewart was inspired to write the lyrics to “Tennessee Waltz” but without any paper composed the song on a matchbox. The melody was inspired by the intro music King used for his group the Golden West Cowboys, know then as “the no-name waltz”.
The original single was recorded by Cowboy Copas. It was later recorded by Patti Page in 1950 and became a multimillion seller.
In 1965 the sing became the official state song of Tennessee.
As of 1974, it was the biggest selling song ever in Japan with a cover by Chiemi Eri. For the international audience, “Tennessee Waltz” was reorded by Petula Clark for the United Kingdom, and by Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians for Canada. Alma Cogan’s 1964 version reached made the top music charts in Denmark, Germany and Sweden.
Other recording throughout the years include:
1959; a rockabilly version recorded by both Bobby Comstock & the Counts
1964; a double time version by Sam Cooke in his Ain’t That Good News album.
1966; Otis Redding
1983; James Brown
2002; Norah Jones
Lauren Morrow, MT-BC