This was written by Vincent Rose, Al Lewis and Larry Stock for the 1940 Western The Singing Hill before they decided it was good enough to be released commercially. The song was used in the movie, where it was heard for the first time performed by Gene Autry.
Things are going well at the beginning of this song, as the singer has found his true love, enjoying a special moment on Blueberry Hill. It takes a sad turn though, when she leaves him:
Though we're apart
You're part of me still
For you were my thrill
On Blueberry Hill
Many artists recorded this before Domino, mostly orchestras. In 1940, it was a #2 US hit for Glenn Miller. That same year, Russ Morgan, Gene Krupa and Kay Kyser all recorded it with their orchestras. Louis Armstrong did the song with Gordon Jenkins and his orchestra in 1949; this version was re-released in 1956, going to #29 in America. Other artists to cover the song include Elvis Presley (on his 1957 album Loving You), The Beach Boys, Andy Williams, Kiki, Cliff Richard, Bruce Cockburn.
Fats Domino, who knew the song through Louis Armstrong's 1949 version, recorded this at Master Recorders in Los Angeles at a session in which he ran out of material to tape. Domino insisted on recording the song over the vehement objections of producer-arranger Dave Bartholomew, who felt the song been done too many times already. Domino came up with the definitive version though, featuring his famous piano triplets and sly Cajun accent.
Larry Stock, who wrote the lyrics, recalled that "one important publisher turned down 'Blueberry Hill,' because, he claimed, blueberries don't grow on hills. I assured him I had picked them on hills as a boy, but nothing doing. So Chappell And Company bought the song and another hit was born."
Personnel on this track:
Dave Bartholomew - trumpet
Walter "Papoose" Nelson - guitar
Herb Hardesty - tenor sax
Lawrence Guyton - bass
Cornelius Coleman - drums
The band couldn't get a full take of this song they were happy with, so the engineer, Bunny Robyn pieced together the final version from many fragmentary takes.
Domino's real name was Antoine Domino. He placed 37 songs in the US Top 40, the last in 1963 with "Red Sails In The Sunset." "Blueberry Hill" was his biggest hit and best seller, spending 11 weeks at #1 on the R&B chart.
In the TV series Happy Days
, Ritchie Cunningham (played by Ron Howard), sang this whenever he found a date.
Ray Manzarek of The Doors admitted on his BBC Radio 2 program that the baseline to "Light My Fire
" was based on this song.
Domino Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin performed this song on December 10, 2010 at a charity event in front of an audience of international film and television celebrities. Videos of his performance quickly went viral worldwide. Putin's spokesman said the former KGB chief learned the lyrics to the song as part of his English language studies.