SIXTEEN TONS

Latest update on 06/06/2015

Artist: Merle Travis
Author: Merle Travis
Label: Capitol
Year: 1947

Such an influential C&W guitarist Doc Watson named his son after him and Chet Atkins his daughter. Country tabloids never detected the slightest hint of romance between this Merle Watson & Merle Atkins, although they tried. Coming from coalminer state Kentucky, Merle Travis released a concept album with local hillbilly work songs in 1949 named Folksongs From The Hills. Realizing he'd have to scrape to collect enough worthwhile material, he composed a few miner songs himself and they all survive the test of time: Dark As A Dungeon, Nine Pound Hammer and Sixteen Tons. This last one was inspired by his own father, who as a miner shoved 16 tons of coal a day. And what did he get? "Another day older and deeper in debt".

Covers:

1955:

Tennessee Ernie Ford [n°1 US & C&W, landing him more than 16 tons worldwide]

1955:

Weavers

1956:

Big Bill Broonzy

1956:

Frankie Laine

1956:

Red Sovine

1956:

Max Bygraves [parody as Seventeen Tons]

1956:

Freddy Quinn [as Sie Heisst Mary-Ann; B-side of Heimweh]

1956:

B.B. King

1956:

John Williams [as Seize Tonnes, n° 1 F]

1960:

Bo Diddley

1963:

Louis Neefs

1966:

Harry Nilsson

1966:

George S. Davis [Kentucky miner for Folkways; claimed on this recording to be the author of this song, having written it in the 1930s as Nine To Ten Tons]

1966:

Stevie Wonder

1967:

Tom Jones

1967:

James & Bobby Purify

1967:

Johnnie Taylor

1971:

Mylon LeFevre

1972:

CCS

1973:

Jerry Reed

1976:

Don Harrison Band

1984:

Brave Combo

1984:

Deja Voodoo

1985:

Anna Domino

1986:

Adriano Celentano [as L'Ascensore]

1987:

Johnny Cash

1987:

Patsy Montana [parody as Sixteen Pounds; her final recording]

1991:

Eric Burdon

1992:

Blue Blot

1996:

Gunther Neefs [and in 2000 with Voice Male]

1999:

Stan Ridgway [triphop version]

2005:

Eels

2011:

LeAnn Rimes

2012:

Dandy Warhols

Merle Travis relates in the Country Music Encyclopedia: "I stole pieces of two Josh White songs and wrote Sixteen Tons."

Contact


If you noticed blunt omissions, mis-interpretations or even out-and-out errors, please let us know by contacting us:

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info@originals.be

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