You Don't Know Me (Eddy Arnold song)

"You Don't Know Me" is a song written by Cindy Walker based on a title and storyline given to her by Eddy Arnold in 1955. "You Don't Know Me" was first recorded by Arnold that year and released as a single on April 21, 1956 on RCA Victor.[1] The first version of the song to make the Billboard charts was by Jerry Vale in 1956, peaking at #14 on the pop chart. Arnold's version charted two months later, released as an RCA Victor single, 47-6502, backed with "The Rockin' Mockin' Bird", which reached #10 on the Billboard country chart. Cash Box magazine, which combined all best-selling versions at one position, included a version by Carmen McRae that never appeared in the Billboard Top 100 Sides listing.

"You Don't Know Me"
Single by Eddy Arnold
B-side "The Rockin' Mockin' Bird"
Released 1956
Format 45 vinyl single
Recorded 1955
Genre Country
Length 2:34
Label RCA Victor
Songwriter(s) Eddy Arnold
Cindy Walker


In his book Eddy Arnold: Pioneer of the Nashville Sound, author Michael Streissguth describes how the song came to be:[2]

Cindy Walker, who had supplied Eddy with "Take Me in Your Arms and Hold Me" (a number one country record in 1949 and Eddy's first Cindy Walker release), recalled discussing the idea for "You Don't Know Me" with Eddy as she was leaving one of Nashville's annual disc-jockey conventions. "I went up to the Victor suite to tell Steve Sholes good-bye," she explained, "and just as I was leaving, Eddy came in the door."

Walker remembered him saying, "I got a song title for you... 'You Don't Know Me.'"

"But I know you," teased Walker.

"This is serious, replied Eddy, who proceeded to outline his idea.

The songwriter promised to let the idea stew in her head for a while. And soon, she remembered, the lyrics tumbled onto the page. "The song just started singing. It sort of wrote itself..."

Notable recorded versions

The best-selling version of the song is by Ray Charles, who took it to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1962, after releasing the song on his #1 album Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music. This version also topped the "Easy listening" chart for three weeks in 1962, and was used in the 1993 comedy film Groundhog Day. The song was the 12th number one country hit for Mickey Gilley in 1981.[3]

The song has been performed or recorded by hundreds of artists, including Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, and Willie Nelson. Charles re-recorded the song with Diana Krall on his #1 album of duets, Genius Loves Company, the only song common to both of Charles' two #1 albums. It was sung by Meryl Streep in the 1990 film Postcards from the Edge, by John Legend in the 2007 Curb Your Enthusiasm episode "The Bat Mitzvah", by Robert Downey Jr. in the 1998 film Two Girls and a Guy, and by Lizzy Caplan in the 2013 Masters of Sex episode "Phallic Victories".

Artists that released versions of the song:

  • Eddy Arnold (1955)
  • Jerry Vale (1956)
  • Jeanne Black (1960)[4]
  • Lenny Welch (1960)
  • Patti Page (1961) on album Somethin' Country
  • The Anita Kerr Singers (1962) on album From Nashville The Hit Sound
  • Ray Charles (1962) on album Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music
  • Floyd Cramer (1964) on album Country Piano-City Strings
  • Manfred Mann (1965) on album Mann Made
  • Rick Nelson (1965) on album Best Always
  • Jackie Wilson (1965) on album Spotlight on Jackie Wilson!
  • Jan Howard (1967) on album This Is Jan Howard Country
  • Elvis Presley (1967) on album Clambake
  • Ray Pennington (1970) on album Sings for the Other Woman
  • Roy Orbison (1973) on album Milestones (Roy Orbison album)
  • Steve Marriott (1976) on album Marriott
  • Bette Midler (1977) on album Broken Blossom
  • Kenny Loggins (1977) on album Celebrate Me Home
  • Mickey Gilley (1981) on album You Don't Know Me
  • Juice Newton (1984) on album Can't Wait All Night
  • Richard Manuel (1985) on album Whispering Pines: Live at the Getaway
  • Bob James & David Sanborn (1986) on album Double Vision
  • The Heptones (1986) on album Changing Times
  • Don McLean (1989) on album For the Memories Vols I & II
  • Marc Hunter (1989) on album Night and Day
  • Israel Kamakawiwo'ole (1990) on album Ka 'Ano'i
  • Charlie Rich (1992) on album Pictures and Paintings
  • Emmylou Harris (1993) on album Cowgirl's Prayer
  • Allen Toussaint (1994) on album Bluesiana Hot Sauce
  • Diane Schuur and B.B. King (1994) on album Heart to Heart
  • World Saxophone Quartet with Fontella Bass (1994) on album Breath of Life
  • Van Morrison (1995) on album Days Like This (duet with his daughter Shana Morrison)
  • David Sanborn (1995) on album Love Songs
  • Jann Arden (1997) for the soundtrack of My Best Friend's Wedding
  • Steven Houghton (1997) on album Steven Houghton
  • Roseanna Vitro (1997) on album Catchin' Some Rays: The Music of Ray Charles
  • Kenny Rogers (1999) on album After Dark
  • Patricia Barber (2000) on album Nightclub
  • Jennifer Warnes (2001) with Doyle Bramhall on album The Well
  • Anne Murray (2002) on album Country Croonin'
  • Michael Bolton (2003) on album Vintage
  • Janis Siegel (2003) on album Friday Night Special
  • Ray Charles and Diana Krall (2004) on album Genius Loves Company
  • Harry Connick Jr (2004) on album Only You
  • Peter Cincotti (2004) on album On the Moon
  • Michael BublĂ© (2005) on album It's Time ( listen )
  • John Scofield (2005) with Aaron Neville on album That's What I Say: John Scofield Plays the Music of Ray Charles
  • Willie Nelson (2006) on album You Don't Know Me: The Songs of Cindy Walker
  • Russell Watson (2007) on album That's Life
  • Leon Jackson (2008) on album Right Now
  • Michael McDonald (2008) on album Soul Speak
  • Gina Jeffreys (2010) on album, Old Paint
  • Michael Grimm (2011) on album Michael Grimm
  • Anna Wilson and Matt Giraud (2011) on album Countrypolitan Duets
  • Lulu Roman (2013) on album At Last
  • Michael Geier (2013) [5]
  • Ronnie Dunn (2014) on album Peace, Love, and Country Music
  • Alison Krauss (2017) on album Windy City


Eddy Arnold

Chart (1956) Peak
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[6] 10

Jerry Vale

Chart (1956) Peak
US Billboard Hot 100[7] 14

Lenny Welch

Chart (1960) Peak
US Billboard Hot 100[8] 45
US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (Billboard)[9] 28

Ray Charles

Chart (1962) Peak
US Billboard Hot 100[10] 2
US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (Billboard)[11] 5
US Adult Contemporary (Billboard)[12] 1
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[13] 9

Elvis Presley

Chart (1968) Peak
US Billboard Hot 100[14] 44
US Adult Contemporary (Billboard)[15] 34

Ray Pennington

Chart (1970) Peak
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[16] 61

Mickey Gilley

Chart (1981) Peak
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[17] 1
US Billboard Hot 100[18] 55
US Adult Contemporary (Billboard)[19] 12
Canada Country Tracks (RPM)[20] 1
Canada Adult Contemporary (RPM)[21] 6


  1. Second Hand Songs: You Don't Know Me.
  2. "Eddy Arnold: Pioneer of the Nashville Sound". Retrieved 2014-05-23.
  3. Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book Of Top 40 Country Hits: 1944-2006, Second edition. Record Research. p. 137.
  4. "Jeanne Black, A Little But Lonely". Retrieved November 26, 2016.
  5. "Puddles Pity Party - You Don't Know Me". 3 October 2013.
  6. "Eddy Arnold Chart History (Hot Country Songs)". Billboard.
  7. "Jerry Vale Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  8. "Lenny Welch Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  9. "Lenny Welch Chart History (Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs)". Billboard.
  10. "Ray Charles Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  11. "Ray Charles Chart History (Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs)". Billboard.
  12. "Ray Charles Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard.
  13. "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  14. "Elvis Presley Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  15. "Elvis Presley Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard.
  16. "Ray Pennington Chart History (Hot Country Songs)". Billboard.
  17. "Mickey Gilley Chart History (Hot Country Songs)". Billboard.
  18. "Mickey Gilley Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  19. "Mickey Gilley Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard.
  20. "Top RPM Country Tracks: Issue 0385." RPM. Library and Archives Canada.
  21. "Top RPM Adult Contemporary: Issue 0402." RPM. Library and Archives Canada.

External links

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