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Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain by Willie Nelson

Album: Red Headed StrangerReleased: 1975Charted:
21
  • Even by the standards of sorrowful country songs, "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain" is one somber tune. The singer kisses his love goodbye, knowing he'll never see her again. As he sings it, he's now an old man who never found true love again and looks forward to meeting her in heaven.

    Singing the song night after night took an emotional toll on Nelson, and was a notorious drinker in the late '70s. He explained in a Hot Press interview: "It's really difficult to sing 'Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain' or 'Always On My Mind' without getting emotionally involved, especially when the audience gets emotionally involved and you feel their feelings. You can only wallow in your own misery for so long without saying, 'Wait a minute, I want a drink!'"
  • Nelson acclaimed as a songwriter, but he didn't write this one. It was composed by Fred Rose, whose country hits include "Crazy Heart," "Don't Bring Me Posies," "Take These Chains From My Heart" and "Kaw-Liga."

    Roy Acuff, who was Rose' partner in the music publishing company Acuff-Rose Music, was the first to record the song, releasing it as a single in 1947 credited to Roy Acuff And His Smoky Mountain Boys. In ensuing years, many other artists recorded the song, including Roger Whittaker, Gene Vincent and Slim Whitman.

    Willie Nelson recorded the song for his concept album Red Headed Stranger, which is based on a song of the same name written by Carl Stutz and Edith Lindeman and recorded by Arthur "Guitar Boogie" Smith. In that song, a mysterious rider comes through town leading a horse that belonged to his dead lover. Nelson revised the tale to make the stranger a preacher who killed his lover because she was cheating on him. "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain" fit the concept of the album, as it finds the stranger thinking back to his lost love.
  • Willie Nelson first made the Hot 100 as a songwriter in 1961 with "Crazy" (#9, recorded by Patsy Cline) and "Hello Walls" (#12, recorded by Faron Young), but this was his first trip to the chart as an artist. It was also his first #1 country hit, and it earned him the Grammy Award for Best Male Country Vocal Performance. Nelson's singing career took off, and he soon became a household name.
  • This was the last song Elvis Presley played before he died. In the early morning of August 16, 1977, he played it on his piano in Graceland. Later that day, he died from an overdose of prescription drugs. (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France)
  • Red Headed Stranger was Nelson's first album with Columbia Records. As part of the deal, Nelson was allowed to choose who played on his albums, and he used his own band instead of session musicians. This bucked Nashville standards, but gave the album a distinctive sound that proved very successful. Nelson also tweaked his image after the album was released, positioning himself as more of an outlaw type.

    The creative control Nelson was granted on this album didn't last long - a few years later he found himself at odds with the label when they rejected some of his work.
  • Nelson has performed this song with many esteemed singers. He played it with Vince Gill and Albert Lee at the 2007 Crossroads Guitar Festival; with Shania Twain for his Lost Highway album; and with Ashley Monroe for a CMT Crossroads special.
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Comments: 7

Laugh if you want, but there was a girl that used to sing this on KULP Radio, 1390 AM in El Campo, Texas. I wonder what happened to her. When someone mentions "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain", she and Willie Nelson are the first two people I think of.Bob - Kingwood, Tx
I was 16 when I first heard Willie sing"Blue eyes Crying In The Rain"and I've always like his music ever since!!
Ol'Willie's a helluva singer and a Texas Icon to boot!!
John - Mansfield, Tx
Sorry Julian, "Always on My Mind" was not written by Nelson but by Johnny Christopher, Mark James and Wayne Carson Thompson. Nelson gets way too much credit for a journeyman cover of a classic. Elvis's version was clearly the better of the two, a lot better.Bill - Denton, Tx
"Unchained Melody" and "Blue eyes crying in the rain" were the last two songs Elvis sang and played on his piano at Graceland before he died.Thomas - North Hollywood, Ca
This was also recorded by Daniel O'Donnell on his CD
"From The Heart/Thoughts Of Home 2002
Bob Comox BC
Bob - Comox, B.c., Canada
Gene Vincent also recorded a great version of this song for his 6th and last Capitol album, "Twist Crazy Times" in 1959.Ake - Ostersund, Sweden
Willie Nelson is one of the greatest song writers of all-time in any musical genre, writing many songs such as "Crazy", "Hello Walls", and "Always On My Mind", yet his greatest song of all-time "Blues Eyes Crying In The Rain" was penned by Fred Rose. Strange?Julian - Oakland, Ar