Hank Williams

I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry

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
Hank Williams' Greatest Hits 1961 Polydor / Polygram 2:43
No Image 1961 Polydor 0:00
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
No Image 1970 MGM 2:45
No Image 1973 MGM
24 Greatest Hits 1976 Mercury 2:45
40 Greatest Hits 1978 Polydor / Mercury 2:45
No Image 1986 Polydor / Mercury 0:00
No Image 1987 Pair
20 of Hank Williams' Greatest Hits 1990 Chronicles / PolyGram 2:45
Lonesome Blues 1992 Spm 2:45
The Original Singles Collection...Plus 1992 Mercury 2:45
Alone & Forsaken 1995 Mercury Nashville / Mercury 2:45
The Hits, Vol. 2 1995 Mercury 2:45
Commemorative Collection [Box] 1997 Valley Entertainment 5:03
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 / MCA 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
Blues Come Around 2001 Catfish 2:48
The Roots of the Grateful Dead [Catfish] 2001
Various Artists
Catfish 0:00
His Greatest Hits, Vol. 2: Long Gone Lonesome Blues 2001 Jasmine Records 2:47
American Roots Music [Box Set] 2001
Various Artists
Palm 0:00
Long Gone Daddy 2002 Snapper / Recall (UK) 2:48
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
Long Gone Lonesome Blues 2002 Country Stars 2:48
Ultimate Collection [Mercury/UTV] 2002 Mercury 2:47
Country, Bluegrass and Mountain Music 2002
Various Artists
Rerooted 2:51
Country Lovin' [Delta] 2002
Various Artists
Delta Distribution 2:37
Songs That Made Elvis Famous 2002
Various Artists
Simply The Best (Netherlands) 2:46
Greatest Country Singer of All Time 2002 K-Tel Distribution 2:47
Long Gone Lonesome Blues: Hillbilly Hero 2002 Proper Sales & Dist. 2:48
48 Original Recordings 2003 Prism Entertainment / Prism Leisure 2:47
Moanin' the Blues 1947-1951 2004 Frémeaux & Associés 2:48
Artist's Choice: Willie Nelson 2004 Hear Music / UMG 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
Hank Williams [Direct Source 3 CD] 2005 Direct Source 2:47
The Hillbilly Shakespeare 2005 American Legends 0:00
The Very Best of Hank Williams [Legacy] 2005 Legacy 2:52
No More Darkness 2005 Trikont 2:47
Gold 2005 Mercury Nashville 2:47
The Definitive Real Country Collection 2005 Chrome Dreams 2:46
Settin' the Woods on Fire 2005 Recall (UK) 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
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
Essential Guide to American Roots 2006
Various Artists
Essential Guide 2:49
Collected 2006 Deluxe 2:47
Hey, Good Lookin [Dynamic Entertainment] 2007 Dynamic 2:47
Famous Country Music Makers 2007 Castle Pulse 0:00
Lifetime of Country Romance Collection 2007
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 2:48
No Image 2008 Nocturne Records
The Unreleased Recordings 2008 Time / Life Music 3:16
Bob Dylan Cover to Cover: The Originals 2010
Various Artists
Mischief / Music Melon 2:47
Best Of 2011 Mercury / Mercury Nashville 2:45
Icon 2011 Mercury Nashville 2:46
The Legend Begins: Rare and Unreleased Recordings 2011 Time / Life Music 2:56
Simply Country [2012] 2012
Various Artists
Simply 2:48
Icon 2 2014 Mercury Nashville 2:46
Nick Cave: Heard Them Here First 2015
Various Artists
Ace 2:47
The Complete Singles As & Bs 1947-55 2016 Acrobat Music 2:48
The Complete Health & Happiness Recordings 2019 BMG 2:55
A Legendary Collection Mercury Nashville 0:00
Country & Western Hits
Various Artists
Membran 2:47
I Saw the Light [Time Life 54 Tracks] Time Life
The Complete Mother's Best Recordings... Plus! Time Life 5:40
The World's Biggest Country Classics
Various Artists
Union Square Music / Worlds Biggest 2:47