Hey, Good Lookin' (song)

"Hey, Good Lookin'" is a 1951 song written and recorded by Hank Williams, and his version was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2001.[2] Since its original 1951 recording it has been covered by a variety of artists.

"Hey, Good Lookin'"
Single by Hank Williams
from the album Memorial Album
B-side "My Heart Would Know"
Released June 22, 1951
Format 10" single
Recorded March 16, 1951
Genre Country, rockabilly[1]
Length 2:35
Label MGM
Songwriter(s) Hank Williams
Producer(s) Jim Vienneau
Hank Williams singles chronology
"Howlin' at the Moon"
(1951)
"Hey, Good Lookin'"
(1951)
"(I Heard That) Lonesome Whistle"
(1951)

"Howlin' at the Moon"
(1951)
"Hey, Good Lookin'"
(1951)
"(I Heard That) Lonesome Whistle"
(1951)

Background

The Hank Williams song was inspired by another song by the same title, which was written by Cole Porter in 1942.[3] The lyrics for the Williams version begin as a come on using double entendres related to food preparation ("How's about cookin' somethin' up with me?"). By the third and fourth verses, the singer is promising the object of his affection that they can become an exclusive couple ("How's about keepin' steady company?" and "I'm gonna throw my date book over the fence").[4]

Williams was friendly with musician Jimmy Dickens. Having told Dickens that Dickens needed a hit record if he was going to become a star, Williams said he'd write it, and penned "Hey Good Lookin'" in only 20 minutes while on a plane with Dickens, Minnie Pearl, and Pearl's husband Henry Cannon.[5] A week later Williams recorded it himself, jokingly telling Dickens, "That song's too good for you!"[6]

"Hey, Good Lookin'" was recorded on March 16, 1951 at Castle Studio in Nashville. The same session also produced the single's B-side "My Heart Would Know" as well as another pair of tunes that would be released as singles: "I Can't Help It (If I'm Still in Love with You)" and "Howlin' at the Moon", released on April 27, 1951. The "Hey, Good Lookin'" single would follow on June 22. Williams was backed on the session by members of his Drifting Cowboys band, including Jerry Rivers (fiddle), Don Helms (steel guitar), Sammy Pruett (electric guitar), Jack Shook (rhythm guitar), Ernie Newton or "Cedric Rainwater", aka Howard Watts (bass), and either Owen Bradley or producer Fred Rose on piano. [7] As author Colin Escott observes, "On one level, it seemed to point toward rock 'n' roll (hot rods, dancing sprees, goin' steady, and soda pop), but the rhythm plodded along with a steppity-step piano, and Hank sounded almost dour."[8]

Williams performed the song on the Kate Smith Evening Hour on March 26, 1952; the appearance remains one of the few existing film clips of the singer performing live. He is introduced by Roy Acuff and banters with a young June Carter. He is wearing his famous white cowboy suit adorned in musical notes. He performed "Hey, Good Lookin'" and joined in with the rest of the cast singing his own "I Saw The Light". The rare clip displays the singer's exuberance on stage while performing an up-tempo number, and he appears at ease in the relatively new broadcast medium of television. The kinescope from this show would provide the footage for the Hank Williams, Jr. video "There's A Tear In My Beer" some 37 years later.

"Hey Good Lookin'"
Single by The Mavericks
from the album From Hell to Paradise
Released 1992
Genre Neotraditional Country, Americana
Length 2:37
Label MCA
Songwriter(s) Hank Williams
Producer(s) Steve Fishell
Raul Malo
The Mavericks singles chronology
"This Broken Heart"
(1992)
"Hey Good Lookin'"
(1992)
"I Got You"
(1992)

"This Broken Heart"
(1992)
"Hey Good Lookin'"
(1992)
"I Got You"
(1992)
"Hey Good Lookin'"
Single by Jimmy Buffett with Clint Black, Kenny Chesney, Alan Jackson, Toby Keith and George Strait
from the album License to Chill
Released May 17, 2004
Format Airplay
Recorded 2004
Genre Neotraditional country
Length 3:03
Label Mailboat/RCA Nashville
Songwriter(s) Hank Williams
Producer(s) Mac McAnally
Michael Utley
Jimmy Buffett singles chronology
"It's Five O'Clock Somewhere"
(2003)
"Hey Good Lookin'"
(2004)
"Trip Around the Sun"
(2004)

"It's Five O'Clock Somewhere"
(2003)
"Hey Good Lookin'"
(2004)
"Trip Around the Sun"
(2004)
Clint Black singles chronology
"The Boogie Man"
(2004) The Boogie Man2004
"Hey Good Lookin'"
(2004) Hey Good Lookin'2004
"My Imagination"
(2004) My Imagination2004
Kenny Chesney singles chronology
"I Go Back"
(2004) I Go Back2004
"Hey Good Lookin'"
(2004) Hey Good Lookin'2004
"The Woman with You"
(2004) The Woman with You2004
Alan Jackson singles chronology
"Remember When"
(2003) Remember When2003
"Hey Good Lookin'"
(2004) Hey Good Lookin'2004
"Too Much of a Good Thing"
(2004) Too Much of a Good Thing2004
Toby Keith singles chronology
"Whiskey Girl"
(2004) Whiskey Girl2004
"Hey Good Lookin'"
(2004) Hey Good Lookin'2004
"Stays in Mexico"
(2004) Stays in Mexico2004
George Strait singles chronology
"Desperately"
(2004) Desperately2004
"Hey Good Lookin'"
(2004) Hey Good Lookin'2004
"I Hate Everything"
(2004) I Hate Everything2004

Cover versions

  • In 1951, Jo Stafford and Frankie Laine released a rendition of the song as a duet, peaking at #21 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts.[9]
  • Tennessee Ernie Ford recorded the song with Helen O'Connell in 1951
  • Johnny Cash recorded a version during his tenure with Sun Records.
  • Roy Orbison recorded it for his 1970 MGM album Hank Williams The Roy Orbison Way
  • George Jones recorded the song for his 1960 LP George Jones Salutes Hank Williams.
  • Ray Charles covered the song in the first volume of his 1962 album Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music.
  • Dean Martin included it "Hey, Good Lookin'" on his 1963 LP Country Style.
  • Del Shannon recorded it for his 1964 album Del Shannon Sings Hank Williams.
  • Ace Cannon recorded an instrumental version on his 1965 album Nashville Hits.
  • Ernest Tubb included it on his 1968 LP Ernest Tubb Sings Hank Williams.
  • Roy Buchanan covered the song in his 1972 eponymous LP
  • The Residents covered the song in 1986.
  • Buckwheat Zydeco and Dwight Yoakam covered the song in 1990.
  • Waylon Jennings recorded the song for his 1992 album Ol' Waylon Sings Ol' Hank.
  • Country music band The Mavericks released a cover version in 1992 from the album From Hell to Paradise. This rendition peaked at number 74 on the country singles charts.[10]
  • C.C. Deville Son In Law Soundtrack in 1993.
  • In 2004, Jimmy Buffett recorded a version for his License to Chill album. Clint Black, Kenny Chesney, Alan Jackson, Toby Keith and George Strait were all featured on this rendition, which peaked at #8 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks (now Hot Country Songs) charts in 2004. It was also the last Top Ten country hit for Black. This rendition was made into a music video, directed by Trey Fanjoy and Stan Kellam.
  • The song appears in the video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas on the country music radio station K-Rose.

Chart performance

Hank Williams

Chart (1951) Peak
position
U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles 1

The Mavericks

Chart (1992) Peak
position
Canada Country Tracks (RPM)[11] 73
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[12] 74

Jimmy Buffett

Chart (2004) Peak
position
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[13] 8
US Billboard Hot 100[14] 63

Year-end charts

Chart (2004) Position
US Country Songs (Billboard)[15] 53

References

  1. "Hank Williams Biography". Rolling Stone.
  2. Grammy Hall of Fame Archived 2015-07-07 at the Wayback Machine.
  3. Gaillard, Frye; Scheldt, Kathryn (2015). The Quilt and the Poetry of Alabama Music. Montgomery, AL: New South Books. pp. 34–35. ISBN 978-1-60306-390-6.
  4. Randall, Alice; et al. (2006). My Country Roots: The Ultimate MP3 Guide to America's Original Outsider Music. Thomas Nelson Inc. p. 80. ISBN 1-59555-860-8.
  5. Masino, Susan (2011). Family Tradition – Three Generations of Hank Williams. Montclair, NJ: Backbeat Books. p. 67. ISBN 978-1-61713-006-9.
  6. Lavallee, Michelle. "Little Jimmy Dickens: Country singer to Opry Legend". AXS. Retrieved January 3, 2015.
  7. Escott, Colin & 2004 344.
  8. Escott, Colin & 2004 163.
  9. Dean, Maury (2003-01-01). Rock N Roll Gold Rush: A Singles Un-Cyclopedia. Algora Publishing. p. 495. ISBN 0-87586-207-1.
  10. Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "The Mavericks biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 6 April 2010.
  11. "Top RPM Country Tracks: Issue 1983." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. August 8, 1992. Retrieved August 15, 2013.
  12. "The Mavericks Chart History (Hot Country Songs)". Billboard.
  13. "Jimmy Buffett Chart History (Hot Country Songs)". Billboard.
  14. "Jimmy Buffett Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  15. "Best of 2004: Country Songs". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. 2004. Retrieved July 11, 2012.

External links

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