Blue (Bill Mack song)

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"Blue"
Single by Bill Mack
B-sideFaded Rose[1][2][3]
Released1958[1][2][4]
Format45 rpm
Recorded1956[5]
Nesman Recording Studios in Wichita Falls, Texas[5]
GenreCountry
Length2:28
LabelStarday
Writer(s)Bill Mack
Bill Mack singles chronology
"Million Miles Away"/"Cheatin' On Your Mind" (1957)[1]"Blue"
(1958)
"Long, Long Train"/"I'll Still Be Here Tomorrow"
(1959)[6]
 
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"Blue"
Single by Bill Mack
B-sideFaded Rose[1][2][3]
Released1958[1][2][4]
Format45 rpm
Recorded1956[5]
Nesman Recording Studios in Wichita Falls, Texas[5]
GenreCountry
Length2:28
LabelStarday
Writer(s)Bill Mack
Bill Mack singles chronology
"Million Miles Away"/"Cheatin' On Your Mind" (1957)[1]"Blue"
(1958)
"Long, Long Train"/"I'll Still Be Here Tomorrow"
(1959)[6]

"Blue" is a song written and recorded in 1956 but released in 1958 by Bill Mack, an American songwriter-country artist and country radio disc jockey. It has since been covered by several artists, in particular by country singer LeAnn Rimes, whose 1996 version became a hit. The song won Mack the 1996 Grammy Award for Best Country Song,[7] a 1996 Academy of Country Music Award for Song of the Year,[8] a 1997 Country Music Association Awards nomination for Song of the Year,[9] a 1997 Country Radio Music Awards nomination for Song of the Year,[10] and is included on the CMT list of the top 100 country songs of all time.[11]

Composition[edit]

"Blue" is a heartache ballad about a lonely man who is wondering why his lover can't be blue or lonely over him. However, he later realizes that words his lover had whispered were only lies:

"Blue
Oh, so lonesome for you
Why can't you be blue over me?"

History[edit]

Contrary to popular opinion, Mack has often denied that Patsy Cline was his inspiration for writing the song, stating "I didn't write it for Patsy. I never wrote one for anybody."[12] In his autobiography Bill Mack's Memories from the Trenches of Broadcasting, Mack again debunks the publicity claim that he had written the song specifically for Cline, when in fact he did not have Cline in mind when he wrote it.[13][14] According to his self-penned article for Truckers Connection, Mack reveals that his "most noteworthy inspirations have been a billboard and attempting to create note changes on a new guitar" in which he also states,

Inevitably, I would be approached with the question, "What inspired you to write the song?" I wrote "Blue" while picking my new guitar in my home in Wichita Falls, Texas. I was creating some note changes on the guitar when the song entered my mind. Although I wasn't watching the clock, the melody and lyrics came to me in a completed form within 15 minutes. My wife at the time said, "That's the best song I've ever heard! You need to record it as soon as you can![15]

Mack composed "Blue" in 1956 within 15 minutes and recorded it that evening in two takes at Nesman Recording Studios in Wichita Falls, Texas.[5][15] He released it in 1958 as a 45 rpm single backed by "Faded Rose" for Starday Records, catalog number 360.[1][2][3][4] The Billboard newsweekly on June 2, 1958 described Mack's recording of "Blue" as "A slow-tempo, relaxed item, with Mack's vocal backed by instrumentation featuring a honky tonk type piano. A flavorsome side."[4]

His recording received a limited amount of radio airplay and sold fairly well regionally, but it did not become popular.[5][15] Disc jockey Snuff Garrett strongly believed the song to be a "surefire hit for the future," so Mack hired a local female singer to make a demo tape recording of "Blue" in 1962 and placed it on a stack of many other songs he had written.[5][16]

Mack's friend Roy Drusky suggested he pitch "Blue" to Patsy Cline in an effort to make the song a hit, so Mack gave a tape to Cline's husband Charlie Dick, but Cline died in a plane crash in 1963 before she could record it.[12][17]

The song became a multi-platinum hit for LeAnn Rimes, in 1996. Although it was claimed that Mack had been waiting to find the right vocalist to record "Blue" for all that time, the song was recorded by at least five artists (Mack himself in 1958, Kenny Roberts in 1966, Roy Drusky circa 1960-70s, Polly Stephens Exley in the late 1980s, and Kathryn Pitt in 1993) prior to LeAnn Rimes.[18][19]

Mack's album Bill Mack Sings His Songs (1998), released as a CD and audio cassette, includes his original recording of "Blue".[20][21]

Kenny Roberts version[edit]

"Blue"
Single by Kenny Roberts
B-sideSioux City Sue
Released1966[22][23][24]
Format45 rpm
GenreCountry
Length2:12[25]
LabelStarday
Writer(s)Bill Mack
Producer(s)Tommy Hill
Kenny Roberts singles chronology
"Anytime"/"Tying the Leaves"
(1966)[22]
"Blue"
(1966)
"Just Look, Don't Touch"/"Singing River"
(1967)[22]

Kenny Roberts released "Blue" in 1966 as a 45 rpm single backed with "Sioux City Sue" for Starday Records, catalog number 788.[22][23][24][25] Roberts, who was a successful country singer since 1949 (with his hit single "I Never See Maggie Alone", and other recordings with Coral and Decca Records throughout the 1950s) signed to Starday in 1965. Don Pierce, Starday president and co-founder who had worked with Mack to record "Blue", gave Roberts the song to make the song a hit. Roberts revised the song by adding the yodel to it. Pierce believed the song had hit potential and promoted Robert's recording with his best effort, but the song did not become popular.[26]

Roberts' recording of "Blue" was reissued by Starday as the ninth track on his LP The Incredible Kenny Roberts (1967),[27][28] by Bluebonnet catalog number 201 as the fifth track on his LP You're My Kind of People (1988),[29][30] by Gusto Records as the ninth track on the 2-CD and digital download compilation Country Stars (2006)[31][32] and as the first track on the digital download EP Gusto's Top Hits: Kenny Roberts (2008).[33]

Polly Stephens Exley version[edit]

In the late 1980s, Fort Worth singer-songwriter Polly Stephens Exley (aka Polly Stephens, Polly Exley and Pauline Stephens) recorded "Blue"[19][34] but released less than 500 tapes.[35] On February 13, 1997 Exley filed a trial by jury suit in a Tarrant County federal court, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas, for copyright infringement against Bill Mack, Broadcast Music, Carlin America, Curb Records, Fort Knox Music, Hal Leonard Corporation and Trio Music.[36] Exley stated that she wrote the second verse of "Blue" in 1987 and should be compensated with 50 percent of the writer's royalties.[37] In September 1997 the parties said they had settled the dispute, and in January 1998 the case was dismissed.[36] Exley re-recorded the song on October 1, 1997, with a transfer of copyright, and had it copyrighted on January 20, 1998 for Fort Knox Music and Trio Music.[38]

LeAnn Rimes version[edit]

"Blue"
Single by LeAnn Rimes
from the album Blue
B-sideThe Light in Your Eyes (U.S.)
How Do I Live (UK)
ReleasedJune 4, 1996[39]
FormatCD single, digital download, vinyl single[40]
GenreCountry
Length2:47 ("Blue")
2:34 ("Lady & Gentlemen")
LabelCurb
Writer(s)Bill Mack
Producer(s)Wilbur C. Rimes ("Blue")
Darrell Brown, LeAnn Rimes ("Lady & Gentlemen")
CertificationGold (RIAA)
LeAnn Rimes singles chronology
"Blue"
(1996)
"Hurt Me"
(1996)

LeAnn Rimes first recorded the song when she was 11 years old on an independent album, All That (1994), under the label Nor Va Jak.[41][42] Rimes' father Wilbur and Dallas-Fort Worth manager Marty Rendleman received the Polly Stephens Exley version sent by Bill Mack when putting together the All That album.[5][13][19][34][36][43] Wilbur Rimes disliked the demo stating "The first time I heard 'Blue' I didn't like it, but it was a demo version that sounded old fashion."[44][44] The song was re-recorded for her debut album, Blue, in 1996 when she was 13.[45][46]

Her rendition of "Blue" debuted at #49 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles and Tracks for the week of May 25, 1996, but was soon released to country radio and became a major hit that summer,[18] peaking at #10 on the Billboard Country Chart and #26 on the Billboard Hot 100, while also reaching #1 on the Canadian Country RPM singles chart. Rimes' Blue album was also released the same year and sold six million copies (6× Multi-Platinum) in the United States.

"The Light in Your Eyes" was originally slated to be the A-side of Rimes's first single, for which she also filmed her first video. A clip of the originally-intended B-side "Blue" was only included as a ten-second tag on the promo record sent to radio stations, but when DJs responded more favorably to "Blue", the A and B sides were reversed and it became her first single instead.

Rimes re-recorded the song for her new album, Lady & Gentlemen, which was released on September 27, 2011. The song is credited with Time Jumpers and is produced by Darrell Brown and Rimes herself.[47]

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You can download the clip or download a player to play the clip in your browser.
A twenty-eight second sample of Rimes' "Blue", featuring the lyrics,
"Blue
Oh, so lonesome for you
Why can't you be blue over me?"

Problems playing this file? See media help.

Critical reception[edit]

Shawn Haney of Allmusic stated the song was a "sleeper hit," a "radio-friendly airplay single" and that it should "affect listeners in a charismatic and lighthearted way."[48]

When re-released on Lady & Gentlemen, Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic called the new recording "illustrates just how far she’s come -- how she’s become a stronger, more nuanced singer over the years."[49]

Music video[edit]

The music video featured Rimes sitting by Barton Springs Pool in the summer with sunglasses on while young men pass her by.[50][51] Filmed in Austin, Texas, the music video was directed by Chris Rogers and produced by Hunter Hodge for Pecos Films.[52] The video won two 1996 Billboard Music Awards for Best Country Music Video of the Year and Best New Artist Video of the Year. Country Music Television ranked "Blue" the number four video of the year and named Rimes the Female Rising Video Star of the Year in 1996.[51] The Houston Press and the Austin American-Statesman described that the video alluded to a Lolita theme.[53][54]

The music video is included on the bonus DVD for Rimes' Greatest Hits - Limited Edition album (2003)[55] and on the Region 2 music DVD releases, The Best of LeAnn Rimes (2004)[56] and LeAnn Rimes: The Complete DVD Collection (2006).[57]

Track listing[edit]

US CD single[39]

  1. "Blue" – 2:47
  2. "The Light in Your Eyes" – 3:20

UK Maxi CD single[58]

  1. "Blue" – 2:47
  2. "How Do I Live" – 4:27
  3. "Undeniable" – 3:44

Charts[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Blue"/"Faded Rose" (1958), catalog 45-360, Starday Records. globaldogproductions.info
  2. ^ a b c Neely, Tim and Martin Popoff. Goldmine Price Guide to 45 RPM Records. p. 427. 
  3. ^ a b Gibson, Nathan D. and Don Pierce (2011). The Starday Story: The House That Country Music Built. University Press of Mississippi. p. 185. ISBN 978-1-60473-830-8. 
  4. ^ a b c "Reviews of New C&W Records: BILL MACK - Blue". The Billboard: 48. June 2, 1958. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f Philpot, Robert (2011-11-03). "Bill Mack looks back on 'Blue'". Dfw.com. Archived from the original on 2011-12-11. 
  6. ^ Long, Long Train b/w I'll Still Be Here Tomorrow Amazon.com
  7. ^ "1996 Grammy Award Winners". Grammy.com. Retrieved 1 May 2011. 
  8. ^ "ACM Awards - Past Winners: 1996 Song of the Year". CMT. Retrieved September 17, 2013. 
  9. ^ "31st Annual CMA Awards". CMT. September 24, 1997. 
  10. ^ "Entertainment Radio Networks Announces Nominees for Fourth Annual Country Radio Music Awards and Legend Award Winner Tom T. Hall". PRNewswire. February 10, 1997. 
  11. ^ "TOP 100 COUNTRY SONGS of-all-time by CMT". CMT. Retrieved 9 February 2012. 
  12. ^ a b "Midnight Cowboy Bill Mack may be riding high with a Grammy nomination for 'Blue," but he hasn't lost his love for overnight radio". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. February 23, 1997. Retrieved September 8, 2013. Archived from newslibrary.com
  13. ^ a b Rendleman, Marty (January 4, 2011). Singing Your Way to Stardom: A Blueprint for Success in the Music Industry. Tate Publishing & Enterprises. ISBN 1617394246. 
  14. ^ Mack, Bill (2004). Bill Mack's Memories from the Trenches of Broadcasting. Unit II. ISBN 0975263005. 
  15. ^ a b c Mack, Bill (September 24, 2010). "Bill Mack’s Entertainment Beat: Music has the power". Truckers Connection. 
  16. ^ Martel, Marty (April 15, 2011). "Bill Mack Interview: The Man and His Thoughts". Strictly Country Magazine. 
  17. ^ Mitchell, Rick (1996-11-03). "Nothing Blue About LeAnn Rimes". Houston Chronicle. 
  18. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Biography - LeAnn Rimes". allmusic. Retrieved 2008-08-23. 
  19. ^ a b c Catalano, Grace (April 7, 1997). LeAnn Rimes: Teen Country Queen. Laurel Leaf. p. 28. ISBN 0440227372. 
  20. ^ "Bill Mack Sings His Songs order form". billmackcountry.com. 
  21. ^ Bernstein, Joel (1998). "Bill Mack - Sings His Songs". Country Standard Time. 
  22. ^ a b c d "Blue"/"Sioux City Sue" (1966), catalog 45-788, Starday Records. globaldogproductions.info
  23. ^ a b "Spotlight Singles: Country Spotlights - Chart: Kenny Roberts - Sioux City Sue". Billboard: 20. November 19, 1966. 
  24. ^ a b "BLUE / SIOUX CITY SUE". gemm.com. 
  25. ^ a b Photo scan of Kenny Roberts' "Blue" 45 rpm. Ebay.com
  26. ^ Gibson, Nathan D. and Don Pierce (2011). The Starday Story: The House That Country Music Built. University Press of Mississippi. pp. 155–156. ISBN 978-1-60473-830-8. 
  27. ^ Roberts, Kenny. "The Incredible Kenny Roberts". worldcat.org. OCLC 13905623. 
  28. ^ "The Incredible Kenny Roberts". lpdiscography.com. 
  29. ^ "Playlist 11/2/2008 - Kenny & Bettyanne, Hank, Homer & Jethro, Eddy, Buell, Uncle Dave, Grandpa, Al, and J. E.". Red Rooster Party. November 2, 2008. 
  30. ^ "LP listing no. 4553: You're My Kind of People by (Yodellin') Kenny Roberts - Bluebonnet 201". strictlycountry.nl. Retrieved 2013-09-07. 
  31. ^ Country Stars On 2 CDs gustorecords.com
  32. ^ Country Stars by Various Artists iTunes.com
  33. ^ Top Hits - Blue - EP: Kenny Roberts. iTunes.com
  34. ^ a b Morthland, John; Cohen, Jason; Burr, Ramiro (October 1998). "The Kids Are Alright". Texas Monthly. 
  35. ^ "Something borrowed, something 'Blue'". Austin American-Statesman. June 8, 1996. Retrieved September 8, 2013. Archived from newslibrary.com
  36. ^ a b c "Exley v. Smith, et al". legalmetric.com. Retrieved September 8, 2013. 
  37. ^ "Fort Worth entertainer says she wrote 2nd verse of 'Blue' in 1987". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. February 27, 1997. Retrieved September 8, 2013. Archived from newslibrary.com
  38. ^ Exley, Polly Stephens. "Blue (Document number V3409D515)". copyrightencyclopedia.com. 
  39. ^ a b "Blue / The Light in Your Eyes: LeAnn Rimes: Music". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2011-10-25. 
  40. ^ "Blue/The Light In Your Eyes: Leann Rimes: Music". Amazon.com. 2009-09-09. Retrieved 2011-11-30. 
  41. ^ "All That: LeAnn Rimes: Music". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2011-10-26. 
  42. ^ All That (CD). LeAnn Rimes. Nor Va Jak. 1994. 98081-1234-2. 
  43. ^ "Marty Rendleman biography". RMG. Retrieved September 8, 2013. 
  44. ^ a b Sgammato, Jo (March 30, 1997). Dreams Come True: The LeAnn Rimes Story. Random House. pp. 61–64. ISBN 0-345-41650-3. 
  45. ^ CMT Inside Fame: LeAnn Rimes CMT (2004-4-12) Retrieved 2011-10-8
  46. ^ The Encyclopedia of Country Music: The Ultimate Guide to the Music - Paul Kingsbury, Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum - Google 도서. Books.google.co.kr. 2004-12-16. Retrieved 2012-06-02. 
  47. ^ Lady & Gentlemen (CD). LeAnn Rimes. Curb Records. 2011. D2-79203. 
  48. ^ Haney, Shawn M. "Blue - LeAnn Rimes". AllMusic. Retrieved 2012-02-07. 
  49. ^ Thomas, Stephen (2011-09-27). "Lady & Gentlemen - LeAnn Rimes". AllMusic. Retrieved 2012-02-07. 
  50. ^ "Videos : LeAnn Rimes : Blue". CMT. Retrieved 2011-11-20. 
  51. ^ a b Sgammato, Jo (1997). Dream Come True: The LeAnn Rimes Story. Ballantine Books. ISBN 0345472764. 
  52. ^ "Music Video: Production Notes - Other Cities". Billboard: 96. July 27, 1996. 
  53. ^ Weitz, Matt (February 13, 1997). "The Reason of Rimes". Houston Press. 
  54. ^ "A cab voyage of discovery". Austin American-Statesman. January 7, 1997. . Retrieved September 17, 2013 Archived from newslibrary.com
  55. ^ "Greatest Hits: Includes Bonus Limited Edition DVD: LeAnn Rimes: Music". Amazon.com. 2009-09-09. Retrieved 2011-10-27. 
  56. ^ "The Best of LeAnn Rimes". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-05-25. 
  57. ^ "Leann Rimes: The Complete DVD Collection". Amazon.com. 2009-09-09. Retrieved 2011-10-27. 
  58. ^ UK Maxi CD single references:
  59. ^ "Australian-charts.com – LeAnn Rimes – Blue". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  60. ^ "RPM Country Tracks." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. July 29, 1996. Retrieved July 20, 2013.
  61. ^ "Leann Rimes - Blue". Chart Stats. 1999-01-16. Retrieved 2011-11-20. 
  62. ^ "LeAnn Rimes Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Hot 100 for LeAnn Rimes. Retrieved 2011-10-07.
  63. ^ "LeAnn Rimes Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Hot Country Songs for LeAnn Rimes. Retrieved 2011-10-07.
  64. ^ "American single certifications – LeAnn Rimes – Blue". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH

External links[edit]

Preceded by
"No One Needs to Know"
by Shania Twain
RPM Country Tracks
number-one single

July 29-August 5, 1996
Succeeded by
"Sure Enough"
by Chris Cummings