This article is about the Hank Williams song. Cold, Cold Heart” is hank williams songbook pdf country music and popular music song, written by Hank Williams.


This blues ballad is both a classic of honky-tonk and an entry in the Great American Songbook. Williams adapted the melody for the song from T. Texas Tyler’s 1945 recording of “You’ll Still Be in My Heart,” written by Ted West in 1943.

The song achingly and artfully describes frustration that the singer’s love and trust is unreciprocated due to a prior bad experience in the other’s past. Stories of the song’s origins vary. In the Williams episode of American Masters, country music historian Colin Escott states that Williams was moved to write the song after visiting his wife Audrey in the hospital, who was suffering from an infection brought on by an abortion she had carried out at their home unbeknownst to Hank.

Escott also speculates that Audrey, who carried on extramarital affairs as Hank did on the road, may have suspected the baby was not her husband’s. You sorry son of a bitch,’ she is supposed to have said, ‘it was you that caused me to suffer like this. Hank went home and told the children’s governess, Miss Ragland, that Audrey had a ‘cold, cold heart,’ and then, as so often in the past, realized the bitterness in his heart held commercial promise.

The first draft of the song is dated November 23, 1950 and was recorded with an unknown band on May 5, 1951. 1 on the country music charts. He is introduced by his idol Roy Acuff.

Although a notorious binge drinker, Williams appears remarkably at ease on front of the cameras, with one critic noting, “He stared at the camera during his performance of ‘Cold, Cold Heart’ with a cockiness and self-confidence that bordered on arrogance. The song would become a pop hit for Tony Bennett, paving the way for country songs to make inroads into the lucrative pop market. That same year, it was recorded in a pop version by Tony Bennett with a light orchestral arrangement from Percy Faith.

This recording was released by Columbia Records as catalog number 39449. The popularity of Bennett’s version has been credited with helping to expose both Williams and country music to a wider national audience.

That a young Italian singing waiter from Queens could find common ground with a country singer from Alabama’s backwoods is testament both to Williams’ skills as a writer and to Bennett’s imagination and artist’s ear. Williams subsequently telephoned Bennett to say, “Tony, why did you ruin my song? Williams liked Bennett’s version and played it on jukeboxes whenever he could. In his autobiography The Good Life, Bennett described playing “Cold, Cold Heart” at the Grand Ole Opry later in the 1950s.

He had brought his usual arrangement charts to give to the house musicians who would be backing him, but their instrumentation was different and they declined the charts. You sing and we’ll follow you,” they said, and Bennett says they did so beautifully, once again recreating an unlikely artistic merger. Clint Black performed the song, after which Bennett recounted it. A Google Doodle featured Bennett’s recording of the song on its Valentine’s Day doodle in February 2012.