Blue (Bill Mack song)

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

"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] and is included on the CMT list of the top 100 country songs of all time.[8]



"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:

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


Contrary to popular opinion, Mack has denied that Patsy Cline was his inspiration for writing the song.

"Nothing inspired me to write the song. I was living in Wichita Falls, Texas in 1956 and was simply strumming on the guitar in my den. Suddenly, the lyrics and melody came to me in a matter of minutes. Jackie, my wife at the time, rushed into the den and said, 'I love that song you were singing! Where did you find it?' I replied, I just wrote it.'"[5]

Mack composed "Blue" in 1956 and recorded it that evening in Nesman Recording Studios, Wichita Falls, Texas.[5] He released it in 1958 as a 45 rpm single backed by "Faded Rose" for Starday Records, catalog number 360.[1][2][3][4]

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

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.[9] 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 four artists (Mack himself, Roy Drusky, Kathryn Pitt,and Kenny Roberts) prior to LeAnn Rimes.[10]

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]

Mack's 1998 album Bill Mack Sings His Songs, released as a CD and audio cassette, includes his original recording of "Blue".[11][12]

Kenny Roberts version

Single by Kenny Roberts
B-sideSioux City Sue
Format45 rpm
Writer(s)Bill Mack
ProducerTommy Hill
Kenny Roberts singles chronology
"Anytime"/"Tying the Leaves"
"Just Look, Don't Touch"/"Singing River"

Kenny Roberts released "Blue" in 1966 as a 45 rpm single backed with "Sioux City Sue" for Starday Records, catalog number 788.[13][14][15][16] 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.[17]

Roberts' recording of "Blue" was reissued by Starday as the ninth track on his 1967 LP The Incredible Kenny Roberts.[18][19] It was also reissued by Gusto Records as the ninth track on the 2006 2-CD and digital download compilation Country Stars[20][21] and as the first track on Roberts' 2008 digital download EP Gusto's Top Hits: Kenny Roberts.[22]

LeAnn Rimes version

Single by LeAnn Rimes
from the album Blue & Lady & Gentlemen
B-sideThe Light in Your Eyes (U.S.)
How Do I Live (UK)
ReleasedJune 4, 1996[23]
FormatCD single, digital download, vinyl single[24]
Length2:47 ("Blue")
2:34 ("Lady & Gentlemen")
Writer(s)Bill Mack
ProducerWilbur C. Rimes ("Blue")
Darrell Brown, LeAnn Rimes ("Lady & Gentlemen")
CertificationGold (RIAA)
LeAnn Rimes singles chronology
"Hurt Me"

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.[25][26] Rimes' father, Wilbur, heard the demo when putting together the All That album. He 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."[27][27] The song was re-recorded for her debut album in 1996 when she was 13.[28][29]

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,[10] 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.[30]

Critical reception

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."[31]

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."[32]

Music video

The music video featured Rimes sitting by a pool in the summer with sunglasses on, while young boys pass her by.[33] Filmed in Austin, Texas, the music video was directed by Chris Rogers and produced by Hunter Hodge for Pecos Films.[34]

Track listing

US CD single[23]

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

UK Maxi CD single[35]

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


Peak positions

Chart (1996/1998)Peak
Australia (ARIA)[36]10
Canada Country Tracks (RPM)[37]1
UK Singles (The Official Chart Company)[38]23
US Billboard Hot 100[39]26
US Country Songs (Billboard)[40]10

Year-end chart



United States (RIAA)[41]Gold500,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone
xunspecified figures based on certification alone


  1. ^ a b c d "Blue"/"Faded Rose" (1958), catalog 45-360, Starday Records.
  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 Philpot, Robert (2011-11-03). "Bill Mack looks back on 'Blue'". Archived from the original on 2011-12-11. 
  6. ^ Long, Long Train b/w I'll Still Be Here Tomorrow
  7. ^ "1996 Grammy Award Winners". Retrieved 1 May 2011. 
  8. ^ "TOP 100 COUNTRY SONGS of-all-time by CMT". CMT Get Country. Retrieved 9 February 2012. 
  9. ^ Mitchell, Rick (1996-11-03). "Nothing Blue About LeAnn Rimes". Houston Chronicle. 
  10. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Biography - LeAnn Rimes". allmusic. Retrieved 2008-08-23. 
  11. ^ "Bill Mack Sings His Songs order form". 
  12. ^ Bernstein, Joel (1998). "Bill Mack - Sings His Songs". Country Standard Time. 
  13. ^ a b c d "Blue"/"Sioux City Sue" (1966), catalog 45-788, Starday Records.
  14. ^ a b "Spotlight Singles: Country Spotlights - Chart: Kenny Roberts - Sioux City Sue". Billboard: 20. November 19, 1966. 
  15. ^ a b "BLUE / SIOUX CITY SUE". 
  16. ^ a b Photo scan of Kenny Roberts' "Blue" 45 rpm.
  17. ^ 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. 
  18. ^ Roberts, Kenny. "The Incredible Kenny Roberts". OCLC 13905623. 
  19. ^ "The Incredible Kenny Roberts". 
  20. ^ Country Stars On 2 CDs
  21. ^ Country Stars by Various Artists
  22. ^ Top Hits - Blue - EP: Kenny Roberts.
  23. ^ a b "Blue / The Light in Your Eyes: LeAnn Rimes: Music". Retrieved 2011-10-25. 
  24. ^ "Blue/The Light In Your Eyes: Leann Rimes: Music". 2009-09-09. Retrieved 2011-11-30. 
  25. ^ "All That: LeAnn Rimes: Music". Retrieved 2011-10-26. 
  26. ^ All That (CD). Nor Va Jak. 1994. 98081-1234-2.
  27. ^ a b Sgammato, Jo (1997). Dreams Come True: The LeAnn Rimes Story. Random House. pp. 61–64. ISBN 0-345-41650-3. 
  28. ^ CMT Inside Fame: LeAnn Rimes CMT (2004-4-12) Retrieved 2011-10-8
  29. ^ The Encyclopedia of Country Music: The Ultimate Guide to the Music - Paul Kingsbury, Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum - Google 도서. 2004-12-16. Retrieved 2012-06-02. 
  30. ^ Lady & Gentlemen (CD). Curb Records. 2011. D2-79203.
  31. ^ Haney, Shawn M. "Blue - LeAnn Rimes". AllMusic. Retrieved 2012-02-07. 
  32. ^ Thomas, Stephen (2011-09-27). "Lady & Gentlemen - LeAnn Rimes". AllMusic. Retrieved 2012-02-07. 
  33. ^ "Videos : LeAnn Rimes : Blue". CMT. Retrieved 2011-11-20. 
  34. ^ "Music Video: Production Notes - Other Cities". Billboard: 96. July 27, 1996. 
  35. ^ UK Maxi CD single references:
  36. ^ " – LeAnn Rimes – Blue". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Hung Medien.
  37. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Retrieved 2011-11-20. 
  38. ^ "Leann Rimes - Blue". Chart Stats. 1999-01-16. Retrieved 2011-11-20. 
  39. ^ "LeAnn Rimes Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Hot 100 for LeAnn Rimes. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 2011-10-07.
  40. ^ "LeAnn Rimes Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Country Songs for LeAnn Rimes. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 2011-10-07.
  41. ^ "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

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