Hank Williams

I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry

Composed by Hank Williams

Song Review by

Hank Williams wrote so many classics that it's hard to single one out that's better than the next, but "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" holds a special place in his catalog. A mournful tale of loneliness, the song contains some of the most evocative lines Williams ever wrote: The opening couplet of "Hear that lonesome whippoorwill/He sounds too blue to fly" is a model of simple, elegant poetry. He married the lyric to a melody that is equally simple and graceful, resulting in the kind of song that sounds like it was never written -- it was just always there. That quality is the reason why the song has been performed by all kinds of musicians, each shaping the song in their own style and often delivering a unique interpretation. Even within the scope of country music, there are a number of unique readings -- Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Marty Robbins, and Charlie Rich's versions have different emotional tones -- but Al Green's soulful interpretation was moving, as was Cassandra Wilson's jazzy take. Williams pulled off a neat trick writing a song that's undeniably personal, yet universal enough to make it convincing -- even personal -- in the hands of other musicians.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
I Saw the Light 1956 Time/Life Music 5:40
No Image 1957 Doxy Records 2:48
No Image 1961 MGM
No Image 1963 Polygram
No Image 1965 MGM
The Legend Lives Anew (Hank Williams with Strings) 1966 Universal Special Products / PSM 2:49
No Image 1969 MGM
No Image 1970 MGM 2:45
No Image 1973 MGM
No Image 1976 Columbia
40 Greatest Hits 1978 Polydor / Mercury / Universal 2:49
No Image 1985 Polydor
No Image 1986 MERCURY NASHVILLE 2:46
The Collector's Edition 1987 Madacy 2:46
20 of Hank Williams' Greatest Hits 1990 Mercury 2:45
Lonesome Blues 1992 Spm 2:45
The Original Singles Collection...Plus 1992 Mercury 2:48
Health & Happiness Shows 1993 Mercury 2:58
Alone & Forsaken 1995 Mercury Nashville / Mercury 2:45
The  Hits, Vol. 2 1995 MERCURY NASHVILLE 2:45
Commemorative Collection [Box] 1997 Valley Entertainment 5:03
The Best of Hank Williams [Spectrum] 1998 Spectrum Music 2:49
The Complete Hank Williams 1998 Mercury Nashville / Mercury 2:45
Lovesick Blues [Country Stars] 1999 Country Stars 2:39
Classic Country: 1941-1951 1999
Various Artists
Time Line Productions 2:46
Honky Tonkin' [Pearl] 2000 Pearl Flapper / Pearl 2:48
Grand Ole Opry 75th Anniversary, Vol. 1 2000
Various Artists
MCA Nashville 2:47
Hank Williams [Castle] 2001 St. Clair 2:42
The Roots of Elvis Presley 2001
Various Artists
Catfish 2:47
The Rockin' Roots of Johnny Cash 2001
Various Artists
Catfish 2:48
The Roots of the Grateful Dead [Catfish] 2001
Various Artists
Snapper 2:47
Prodigal Son 2001 Arpeggio Blues 2:37
His Greatest Hits, Vol. 2: Long Gone Lonesome Blues 2001 Jasmine Records 2:47
American Roots Music [Box Set] 2001
Various Artists
Rockbeat Records 2:48
The Essential Hank Williams: Hillbilly Legend 2001 Union Records / Metro Doubles 2:49
Cheating Hearts 2002 404 Music Group 2:51
Hillbilly Hero [4 CD Set] 2002 Proper Box 2:48
Best of Hank Williams, Vol. 1 2002 Mastersound 2:47
No Image 2002 MRA
Long Gone Lonesome Blues 2002 Country Stars 2:48
Ultimate Collection [Mercury/UTV] 2002 UTV / Mercury 2:47
Country, Bluegrass and Mountain Music 2002
Various Artists
Rerooted 2:51
Songs That Made Elvis Famous 2002
Various Artists
Simply The Best (Netherlands) 2:46
Long Gone Lonesome Blues: Hillbilly Hero 2002 Proper Sales & Dist. 2:48
Come September: An Introduction to Hank Williams 2003 Universal Distribution
No Image 2003 X5 2:48
400 Country Greats 2003
Various Artists
The International Music Co.
48 Original Recordings 2003 Prism Entertainment / Prism Leisure 2:47
The Ultimate Collection [Prism] 2003 Prism Entertainment
Cold Cold Heart 2003 Performance
Moanin' the Blues 1947-1951 2004 Frémeaux & Associés 2:48
Elvis Inspiration 2004
Various Artists
Boulevard Vintage 2:47
The Best of Hank Williams [Northquest] 2004 Northquest 2:47
Hank Williams [2004] 2004 Kala International 2:47
Your Cheatin' Heart [Double Pleasure] 2005 Double Pleasure 2:47
Hank Williams [Direct Source 3 CD] 2005 Direct Source 2:47
The Hillbilly Shakespeare 2005 Primo Records 2:45
The Very Best of Hank Williams [Legacy] 2005 Legacy 2:52
No More Darkness 2005 Trikont 2:47
The Complete Collection 2005 Spectrum Music
The Hank Williams Story [Hallmark] 2005 Hallmark Recordings 2:48
No Image 2005 Mercury / Nashville / Universal 2:49
The Initial Music Collection 2005 Direct Source 2:49
Settin' the Woods on Fire 2005 Snapper 2:47
Hank Williams [Direct Source 2 CD] 2005 Direct Source 2:47
Turn Back the Years: The Essential Hank Williams Collection 2005 Mercury Nashville 2:46
Solid Gold Country [Union Square] 2005
Various Artists
Union Square Music 2:48
King of Hillbilly 2005 Membran
Hall of Fame 2006 Laserlight 2:37
You Win Again: 26 Great Original Recording [Box Set] 2006 Prism Entertainment 2:47
20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection, Vol. 2 2006 MCA Nashville / Mercury 2:47
Very Best of Hank Williams [Mastersong] 2006 Mastersong 2:47
Country Music Legends 2006 Castle Pulse 2:48
The Hank Williams Story [Synergy Ent] 2006 Synergy Distribution 2:51
Essential Guide to American Roots 2006
Various Artists
Essential Guide 2:49
Greatest Ever! Country 2006
Various Artists
Greatest Ever
Collected 2006 Deluxe 2:47
Hey, Good Lookin [Dynamic Entertainment] 2007 Dynamic 2:47
Famous Country Music Makers 2007 High Fidelity Records
Hank Williams: Platinum Artist Series 2007 St. Clair 2:47
No Image 2007 Universal Distribution
Hank Williams [St. Clair] 2007 St. Clair 2:48
Honky Tonk Man 2008 Universal Distribution 2:45
No Image 2008 BD Jazz 2:48
The Unreleased Recordings 2008 Time/Life Music 3:16
Vintage Country: The Golden Age of Country Music 2008
Various Artists
Hear Music / Sony BMG 2:48
Hank Williams: The Complete Mother's Best Recordings...Plus! 2010 Time/Life Music 5:40
Icon 2011 Mercury Nashville 2:46
Back in the Saddle Again: Fine Country Classics 2011
Various Artists
Metro / Metro Select
The Legend Begins: Rare and Unreleased Recordings 2011 Time/Life Music 2:56
Best of Hank Williams [TGG] 2011 TGG Direct 2:47
The Greatest Hits Live, Vol. 1 2012 Time/Life Music 2:50
No Image 2013 DLG Digital 2:44
100 Country Hits & Greatest Country Classics 2013
Various Artists
4:Squared 2:45
No Image 2014 K-Tel 2:48
Icon 2 2014 Mercury Nashville 2:46
The Country: The Ultimate Collection 2014
Various Artists
Ultimate Collection
Nick Cave: Heard Them Here First 2015
Various Artists
Ace 2:47
I Saw the Light: The Unreleased Recordings 2015 Time Life 3:16
The Complete Singles As & Bs 1945-1955 2016 Acrobat 2:48
25 Country Music Heartbreakers
Various Artists
K-Tel 2:48
No Image
Various Artists
Forever Classic Hits 2:43
A Legendary Collection Mercury Nashville
No Image X5 2:47
Bob Dylan Radio Radio: Theme Time Radio, Vol. 5
Various Artists
Music Melon 2:46
Classic Country Jukebox
Various Artists
Universal Music 2:47
Country & Western Hits
Various Artists
Membran 2:47
Country & Western: Greatest Love Songs
Various Artists
Documents
No Image
Various Artists
Big 3 / Proper
Country Fever, Vol. 8
Various Artists
Digilouge 2:47
Country Music Rewind 3
Various Artists
Stargrove 2:47
No Image
Various Artists
Delta 2:44
No Image
Various Artists
Delta 2:44
Golden Oldies Hit Series, Vol. 19
Various Artists
Forever Classic Hits 2:43
Greatest Hits Country Roads / ZYX / ZYX Music 2:48
Hank Williams, Vol. 1 Documents 2:47
No Image K-Tel 2:38
My Kind of Music: Country Gold
Various Artists
USM Media
Rock N' Roll Fever, Vol. 14
Various Artists
Digilouge 2:47
Rock N' Roll Fever, Vol. 3
Various Artists
Digilouge 2:47
Rolling Back the Years Present: Gold Classic Hits, Vol. 28
Various Artists
Digilouge 2:47
Simply Hank Williams Simply / Union Square Music 2:49
Six More Miles to the Graveyard Doxy Records
The  Complete Mother's Best Recordings... Plus! Time Life 5:40
The  Ultimate Collection 100 Hits: Country
Various Artists
Ultimate Collection / The Ultimate Music Collection
No Image X5 2:48
The Immortal Hank Williams [Polydor CD Japan] Polydor
The Stars of Country Music
Various Artists
Documents
The World of Hank Williams Music & Melody 2:48
The World's Biggest Country Classics
Various Artists
Union Square Music / Worlds Biggest 2:47
Your Cheatin' Heart: The Best of Hank Williams Stargrove 2:48
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