Queen of Hearts

Album: Repeat When Necessary (1979)
Charted: 11
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Songfacts®:

  • "Queen of Hearts" is about falling for an unreliable lover; although you know it's a bad move, you are simply unable to resist them. The track makes use of gambling metaphors to represent this:

    Playing with the Queen of Hearts
    Knowing it ain't really smart
    The Joker ain't the only fool
    Who'll do anything for you
  • This song was written by Hank DeVito, who was the pedal steel guitarist for Emmylou Harris' backing group, The Hot Band.
  • The Welsh musician Dave Edmunds was the first artist to record "Queen of Hearts." The song appears on his 1979 album, Repeat When Necessary. The track peaked at #11 in the UK, but Edmunds' label - Led Zeppelin's Swan Song - refused to release it in the US. Edmunds, who reached #4 US with his 1970 cover of "I Hear You Knocking," was hoping for another American hit and was not pleased when Swan Song held back both "Queen of Hearts" and "Girls Talk" (a song written by Elvis Costello that made #4 UK for Edmunds in 1979).

    Edmunds had to watch as Juice Newton scored a huge hit in America with "Queen of Hearts" just two years later.
  • Rodney Crowell covered the song on his 1980 LP, But What Will the Neighbors Think. This incarnation featured the song's composer, Hank DeVito, on guitar.
  • Juice Newton had the biggest success with "Queen of Hearts" after it appeared on her 1981 album, Juice. In September 1981, Newton's version peaked at #2 on the US charts, having shifted over one million copies. In 1982, the song was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Female Country Vocal Performance. Dave Edmunds, who first recorded "Queen of Hearts" in 1979, told Creem Newton stole his composition: "She did pinch my arrangement, note for note, but I'm not angry with that."
  • Juice Newton's version of "Queen of Hearts" features in the 1997 movie, Boogie Nights. It also forms part of the video-game, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, in which it plays on the fictional country radio station, K-Rose.

Comments: 1

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn this day in 1981 {September 13th} Juice Newton's covered version of "Queen of Hearts" peaked at #2 {for 2 weeks} on Billboard's Top 100 chart, the two weeks it was at #2, the #1 record for both those weeks was "Endless Love" by Diana Ross and Lionel Richie...
    And it also peaked at #2 {for 3 weeks} on Billboard's Adult Contemporary Tracks chart...
    Between 1978 and 1984 the Lakehurst, New Jersey native had eleven records on the Top 100, four* made the Top 10 with the above "Queen of Hearts" being her biggest hit...
    Besides "Queen of Hearts", her three other Top 10 records were "Angel of the Morning" {#4 in 1981}, "The Sweetest Thing (I've Ever Known)" {#7 in 1981}, and "Love's Been A Little Bit Hard On Me" {#7 in 1982}...
    Juice Newton, born Judy Kay Newton, will celebrate her 68th birthday come next February 18th, 2020...
    * She just missed having a fifth Top 10 record when her covered version of "Break It To Me Gently" peaked at #11 {for 3 weeks} in 1982...
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