Skeeter Davis

The End of the World

Composed by Arthur Kent / Sylvia Dee

Song Review by

"The End of the World" was, in a way, the end of an era. It was one of the last of the way-sentimental huge hit pop records that projected a peculiarly kind of late-'50s/early-'60s melodrama, one in which it seemed the world was coming to an end not just for the singer, but for the whole world. Skeeter Davis might be thought of by many as a country singer, but actually she did cross over into pop and pop-rock in much of her early-'60s output, and "The End of the World" was easily her biggest such success, reaching #2 in early 1963. There is, perhaps, some country music in the song's bathos. But there's also pop-rock in the rolling, almost doo wop piano, and the almost teen idol pining of Davis's vocal -- multi-tracked at various points, as usual. At points she even sounds a little bit like Lesley Gore in her youthful naivete. And there's cinematic drama in the unabashedly weepy strings, though a pinch of country is heard in faint weeping steel guitar. The drama reaches its most melodramatic when there's an upward key change for the last verse, the first half of which is given over to a plaintive vocal recitation. "The End of the World" is a song that many listeners like to deride for its on-the-verge-of-sobbing sorrow, as if being left by someone is tantamount to the village getting massacred. Yet the melody is appealing, Davis's vocal suitably yearning, and the arrangement does indeed evoke a sad, barren landscape, of the sort where the sun is setting on an overcast day that has seen especially bad news. The song has been frequently covered since, usually by middle-of-the-road female singers, the roster of artists who've recorded it including Paul Anka, the Carpenters, Rosie Flores, Herman's Hermits, Judge Dread, Julie London, Brenda Lee, Loretta Lynn, Johnny Mathis, Nancy Sinatra, Bobby Vinton, and Lawrence Welk. It was also used in the soundtrack to a suicide scene in the movie Girl, Interrupted.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
The End of the World [1963] 1963 RCA
The Best of Skeeter Davis 1965 RCA
No Image 1969 RCA Victor
No Image 1972 Michele
No Image 1978 Hollywood
No Image 1984 51 West
No Image 1985 RCA
No Image 1986
Original Soundtrack
Arcade Music
Greatest Hits 1962 1987
Various Artists
Deluxe 2:39
No Image 1988
Various Artists
Laurie 2:39
22 Leaders of the Pack, Vol. 1 1989
Various Artists
Laurie 2:38
No Image 1990
Various Artists
RCA
Nipper's Greatest Hits: The 60's, Vol. 1 [1990] 1990
Various Artists
RCA 2:33
The Rock 'N' Roll Era: The '60s - Rave On 1990
Various Artists
2:36
Eis Am Stiel, Vol. 5 1991
Original Soundtrack
Ariola
Honky Tonk Angels 1991
Various Artists
Columbia 2:36
Country Time [K-Tel] 1992
Various Artists
Dominion / K-Tel Distribution 2:36
The Sensational 60's, Vol. 1 1993
Various Artists
Dominion / K-Tel Distribution 2:40
Super Hits, Vol. 5 [Hollywood] 1994
Various Artists
Hollywood/IMG / Hollywood
No Image 1994
Various Artists
Warner Music
The Best of Tragedy 1995
Various Artists
DCC Compact Classics 2:33
Country Classics [Drive Archive] 1995
Various Artists
Drive Archive
The 101 Greatest Country Hits [Box] 1995
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 2:36
Super Box of Rock, Vol. 3 1995
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 2:36
The Country You Keep 1995
Various Artists
Drive Archive 2:38
Unforgettable Hits 60s: He's a Rebel 1996
Various Artists
Eclipse Music Group 2:35
The Essential Series Sampler [RCA Country] 1996
Various Artists
RCA / Sony Music Distribution 2:39
Six Days on the Road [K-Tel] 1996
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 2:36
The First Ladies of Country [Ranwood] 1996
Various Artists
Ranwood Records 2:35
Country Classics [Intercontinental] 1996
Various Artists
ITC Masters / Intercontinental Records 2:40
Country Stars on C.D.: 62 Hits 1996
Various Artists
King 2:40
No Image 1996
Various Artists
Sterling Gold
The Essential Skeeter Davis 1996 RCA 2:37
All Time Country Greats [BMG/Camden] 1997
Various Artists
Camden 2:38
The 101 Greatest Country Hits, Vol. 3: Easy Country 1997
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 2:36
Country Classics, Vol. 1: Honky Tonk Angels 1997
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 2:38
Best Selection 1997 BMG
Happy Days 1960's 1997
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 2:41
Country Collection [Madacy] 1997
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 2:36
Pure Country: 60's Superstars 1997
Various Artists
Coyote Records / Pure Country 2:33
Music That Changes Our Lives: 50's 60's 70's 1997
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 2:41
Love Songs of the 60's, 70's and 80's 1998
Various Artists
Columbia River Entertainment Group 2:38
Mega Country, Vol. 1 1998
Various Artists
Pmf
Blues & Soul Bible 1998
Various Artists
Dressed To Kill
Classic Country: Country Memories 1998
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Time/Life Music 2:38
Mega Country [10 CD] 1998
Various Artists
Americana Records, Inc.
Country Woman: The Platinum Collection 1998
Various Artists
Start 2:39
Love Songs [Columbia River] 1999
Various Artists
Columbia River Entertainment Group 2:38
Mods Vs. Rockers 1999
Various Artists
Dressed To Kill 3:05
Teenage Crush, Vol. 2 1999
Various Artists
Ace 2:39
Country Ladies [Goldies] 1999
Various Artists
Goldies
Nipper's Greatest Hits: The 60's, Vol. 1 [1999] 1999
Various Artists
RCA 2:38
Classic Country: Early '60s 1999
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 2:38
Unforgettable Love Songs of the Sixties [Heartland] 1999
Various Artists
Heartland Productions, Inc.
Girl, Interrupted [Including Score] 2000
Original Soundtrack
TVT 2:38
Country Oldies 2000
Various Artists
Direct Source 2:37
Country Music Classics 2000
Various Artists
Import 2:39
First Ladies of Country [K-Tel] 2000
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 2:37
Country Queens [Direct Source] 2000
Various Artists
Direct Source 2:43
Women in Rock [Direct Source #2] 2000
Various Artists
Direct Source 2:43
History of Country Music: Classic Country Love Songs 2000
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 2:41
Great Women of Country 2000
Various Artists
Green Hill Productions / CD Baby 2:38
Love Affair: Sixties Love Songs 2001
Various Artists
Columbia River Entertainment Group 2:38
Country Heat Classic 2001
Various Artists
BMG International
A Decade in Sound 2001
Various Artists
Dressed To Kill 2:36
RCA Country Legends 2001 Buddha Records 2:38
Riding in Cars with Boys 2001
Original Soundtrack
Columbia / Sony Music Distribution 2:38
That's Country [Golden Stars] 2001
Various Artists
Golden Stars 2:38
No Image 2001
Various Artists
WSM
Golden Age of Pop: Love Songs of the '60s 2001
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 2:39
Country Superstars, Vol. 1 [Columbia River #2] 2002
Various Artists
Columbia River Entertainment Group 2:34
Hedwig's Theme From Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone 2002
Various Artists
Golden Stars 3:17
The Country Ladies: Honky Tonk Angels 2002
Various Artists
K-Tel 2:36
Stars of Country [Columbia River] 2002
Various Artists
Columbia River Entertainment Group 2:35
Ultimate Jukebox Collection [Ross] 2002
Various Artists
Ross Records 2:35
Women of Country [Mastersong 2002] 2002
Various Artists
Columbia River Entertainment Group / Mastersong 2:38
Best of the Best 2002 Federal Records 2:41
Elite: Country 2002
Various Artists
Rajon Entertainment Pty Ltd.
Best of Country [Madacy 2002] 2002
Various Artists
Madacy 2:45
Ultimate Power of Country Love 2002
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 2:41
Red, White & Rock 2002
Various Artists
Rhino 2:39
No Image 2002
Various Artists
Dominion / K-Tel 2:36
Top Hits of the Sixties: Coolest Hits 2003
Various Artists
Collectables 2:38
Pop Hits Collection 2003 Taragon Records 2:38
Classic Country: Queens of Country 2003
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 2:37
Triple Value: Country 2003
Various Artists
Rajon Entertainment Pty Ltd.
Real 60's Country [Disc 2] 2003
Various Artists
BMG Special Products 2:38
Sixties Classics [BMG] 2004
Various Artists
BMG Special Products 2:35
The Great Country Collection 2004
Various Artists
Red X 2:38
Country Heartbreak [Box Set] 2004
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 2:38
Blueberry Hill/The End of the World 2004 Collectables 2:37
No Image 2004
Various Artists
BMG Special Products 2:38
Lifetime of Romance [Time Life] 2005
Various Artists
Sony BMG 2:37
Country Highlights: I Walk the Line 2005
Various Artists
Double Pleasure
Tears in My Beer 2005
Various Artists
Prism Entertainment
Country Ladies [K-Tel Box Set] 2005
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 2:38
The Best of Country [Disky] 2005
Various Artists
Disky / Disky Communications 2:38
Country Heartbreakers [K-Tel UK] 2005
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 2:38
Daltry Calhoun [Original Soundtrack] 2005
Original Soundtrack
Lakeshore Records 2:38
All American Country 2005 BMG Special Products 2:37
K-Tel Presents Country Heartbreak 2005
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 2:40
Solid Gold Country [Union Square] 2005
Various Artists
Union Square Music 2:38
Top 20 of Country 2005
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 2:38
K-Tel Presents: Country Gals 2006
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution / Brentwood/K-Tel 2:40
No Image 2006
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution
Classic Country: Sweet Country Ballads 2006
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 2:38
One Hit Wonders of the 60's 70's and 80's 2006
Various Artists
Dove
All American Country [BMG] 2006
Various Artists
Sony BMG 2:38
Sound of Summer [United Multi License] 2006
Various Artists
United Audio Entertainment 2:38
Dirty Diamonds, Vol. 3 2006
Various Artists
Diamondtraxx
The Pop Hits Collection, Vol. 2 2006 Taragon Records 3:07
The End of the World [Gusto] 2006 Good Time Records / Gusto Records 2:40
Greatest Ever! Country 2006
Various Artists
Greatest Ever / Union Square Music 2:39
Forever Country [Madacy] 2006
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 2:44
Easy Listening Hits [2 Disc] 2006
Various Artists
EQ / EQ Singapore 2:39
No Image 2006
Various Artists
Lifetime of Country Romance Collection 2007
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 2:38
Simply the Best of the 60s [2007] 2007
Various Artists
Sony BMG 2:37
100 Hits: Country 2007
Various Artists
Super D Independent Distribution / 100 Hits / DMG TV 2:37
Top Hits of the 60s: Coolest Hits 2007
Various Artists
Collectables 2:38
No Image 2007
Various Artists
Universal Distribution
Country Top Hits of the 60's 2007
Various Artists
Collectables 2:37
No Image 2007
Various Artists
K-Tel / K-Tel Distribution 2:36
Country [Intro Collection] 2008
Various Artists
The Intro Collection 2:38
Best of Country Legends [Madacy] 2008
Various Artists
Madacy Entertainment 2:45
The First Ladies of Country [Metro] 2008
Various Artists
Union Square Music
No Image 2008
Various Artists
Euro Trend / MCP
Best of Country [Madacy 2008] 2008
Various Artists
Madacy 2:43
Simply Country Greats 2008
Various Artists
Simply 2:37
Country Greats [Union Square] 2008
Various Artists
Metro Tins / Union Square Music 2:37
The Intro Collection: Country 2008
Various Artists
Union Square Music 2:38
The Boat That Rocked [Movie Soundtrack] 2009
Original Soundtrack
Mercury 2:39
Good Morning England 2009
Original Soundtrack
Mercury 2:39
No Image 2009
Various Artists
Commercial Canada 2:33
No Image 2010
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution / Sony Music Entertainment 2:37
Old Fashioned Love Songs 2010
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 2:35
Forever Country 2010
Various Artists
Sonoma Entertainment 2:45
Pure...Country 2010
Various Artists
Sony Music 2:37
The Golden Age of Country [Time-Life] 2011
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 2:36
The End of the World: Country Hits 1958-1972 2011 T-Bird Americana 2:36
Dim Lights, Thick Smoke and Hillbilly Music: 1963 2011
Various Artists
Bear Family Records 2:37
Greatest Ever! Sad Songs 2012
Various Artists
Union Square Music 2:38
Pure... 60s 2012
Various Artists
Sony Music 2:37
La Collection RTL Georges Lang, Vol. 2 2012
Various Artists
WEA 2:35
Grand Old Opry Live Classics, Vol. 1 2012
Various Artists
Opry Music 2:38
Queens of Country [CMR] 2012
Various Artists
CMR
100 Hits: 60s Originals 2013
Various Artists
100 Hits 2:37
100 Country Hits & Greatest Country Classics 2013
Various Artists
4:Squared 2:37
Top 40: Sixties 2014
Various Artists
Crimson
The Box Set Series: Country Hits of the '60s & '70s 2014
Various Artists
Legacy 2:37
The Solid Silver '60s: Greatest Hits 2015
Various Artists
Universal Music TV 2:35
No Image 2015
Various Artists
Chop Shop / Republic 2:36
101 Most Beloved Pop Masterpieces
Various Artists
Warner Music 2:39
No Image
Various Artists
Laurie
20 Million Dollar Memories, Vol. 2
Various Artists
Laurie 2:37
Absolute Unforgettable Classics, Vol. 2
Various Artists
Eva
American Heartland: Legends of Country
Various Artists
Sony Music 2:37
No Image
Various Artists
K-Tel 2:36
Country Ladies [Beverly Glen]
Various Artists
Dominion 2:39
Country Music of Your Life
Various Artists
Rhino / StarVista / Time Life 2:38
De Pre Historie: 1963, Vol. 1
Various Artists
Eva 2:37
Evergreens [Universal]
Various Artists
TVCD
Golden Oldies Collection
Various Artists
No Image
Various Artists
K-Tel 2:36
No Image
Karaoke
K-Tel / K-Tel Distribution 2:36
Love Songs of the 60's, Vol. 4
Various Artists
Success 2:37
Shades of Country [L&D Box]
Various Artists
L & D
No Image
Various Artists
K-Tel 2:36
Super Sixties
Various Artists
Pegasus
The  Battle of the Giants
Various Artists
Sony Music 2:38
No Image K-Tel 2:32
No Image
Various Artists
Legacy
The Big Hits of Yesterday, Vol. 2
Various Artists
Sepia / Sepia Records 2:36
Ultimate... Country
Various Artists
Sony Music 2:33
blue highlight denotes editor's pick