"I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" is a song written and recorded by American country music singer-songwriter Hank Williams in 1949. Williams wrote the song originally intending that the words be spoken, rather than sung, as he had done on several of his Luke the Drifter recordings. The song about loneliness was largely inspired by his troubled relationship with wife Audrey Sheppard. With evocative lyrics, such as the opening lines "Hear that lonesome whip-poor-will/He sounds too blue to fly," the song has been covered by a wide range of musicians.
Rolling Stone ranked it #111 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, the oldest song on the list.
Among those who have recorded the song following Williams' death include Johnny Cash with Nick Cave, Marty Robbins, Ray Charles, Dean Martin, Al Green, Gary Morris, Stephan Eicher, B. J. Thomas (this version was a U.S. chart hit, peaking at #8), Cassandra Wilson, Dottie West, Diamanda Galás, Freddy Fender, The Raveonettes, The Mountain Goats, The Cowboy Junkies, Volbeat, Roy Orbison, and Atlas Sound.
- Johnny Cash on his Now, There Was a Song! album.
- Johnny Cash and Nick Cave recorded a duet version of the song on Cash's critically acclaimed album American IV: The Man Comes Around
- Marty Robbins recorded a version of this song on 1957 album The Song of Robbins.
- Dean Martin opens up his first Reprise country album Dean "Tex" Martin: Country Style (1963) with this classic, which reappears on his 1966 (country) album Somewhere There's a Someone.
- Bob Dylan sings a version of the song in his hotel room in the documentary film Dont Look Back. He also sings the song as a duet with Johnny Cash, featured in the documentary No Direction Home.
- Bill Frisell plays an instrumental version on the 2000 album Ghost Town.
- Jimmie Dale Gilmore recorded the song on his 1993 album Spinning Around the Sun.
- The song was recorded by country singer Wynonna Judd for her 2009 album, Sing: Chapter 1.
- Little Richard covered the song on his 1971 album, The King of Rock and Roll
- Tanya Tucker covered the song on her 1972 debut album, "Delta Dawn (album)
- The punk rock cover band Me First and the Gimme Gimmes has covered this song for their 2006 country-themed album Love Their Country.
- Elvis Presley did a version of the song in his popular Aloha from Hawaii TV-special (Presley introduced the song by saying "I'd like to sing a song that's...probably the saddest song I've ever heard.").
- Al Green covered the song on his 1973 album Call Me
- Roy Orbison covered the song on his 1970 tribute album Hank Williams the Roy Orbison Way
- Danish Metal/Country/Blues band Volbeat covered this song for their 2008 album Guitar Gangsters & Cadillac Blood.
- Yo La Tengo used to play this song at their shows since 2005.
- Akiko Yano recorded this song with Pat Metheny in her album Oui Oui.
- Cowboy Junkies covered the song on their 1988 album "The Trinity Sessions".
- Sarah Bettens, 1992
- Madeleine Peyroux (vocal) & Till Brönner (jazz trumpet), 2006
- Carrie Rodriguez and Bill Frissell play a version on the 2010 album Love and Circumstance
- Holly Cole with the Holly Cole Trio on their first full length album "Girl Talk" 1990.
- Marshall Chapman covered this song on her 2010 album Big Lonesome.
- Amy Lee of Evanescence performed the song on April 20, 2012 at “We Walk the Line: a Celebration of the Music of Johnny Cash” in honor of Cash's 80th birthday. The show was released on CD/DVD on August 7, 2012.
- Tommy James and the Shondells released a version of the song on their 1966 album, It's Only Love.
- Art of Time Ensemble featuring guest vocalist Melissa Stylianou released a version of the song on their 2006 debut album Live In Toronto.
- Andy Williams released a version as the B-side to his single "The Village of St. Bernadette".
- Randy Boone sang it in an episode of The Virginian called "First To Thine Own Self" (February 12, 1964). This made no sense, as the TV series was set in the 1880s, but the song was not written until 1949.
- Kasey Chambers covered the song on her 2011 album Storybook.
Hank Williams version
Williams' version ranked #29 in CMT's 100 Greatest Songs in Country Music in 2003.
B. J. Thomas version
Charlie McCoy version
Leon Russell version (credited to Hank Wilson)
|| U.S. Billboard Hot 100
Terry Bradshaw version
Jerry Lee Lewis version