Heartaches by the Number

“Heartaches by the Number” is a popular country song written by Harlan Howard and published in 1959.

The biggest hit version was recorded by Guy Mitchell on August 24, 1959. It reached the #1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 for the weeks of December 14 and December 21, 1959.[1] The recording was released by Columbia Records as catalog number 41476. This would be Guy’s second Pop chart topper (After Singing the Blues); ironically, it would also be his last top-40 single in the Billboard charts. Columbia first issued a mono recording by Mitchell as a 7″ 45 rpm single, which became the hit. Columbia later issued a stereo version of the song, also by Mitchell, however the mono and stereo issues are in fact two completely different recordings. The hit version has never appeared in stereo and has only appeared on a lone compact disc release (Hit Parade Records 12311, “Hard to Find Jukebox Classics 1959: Pop Gold.”) [2] The video game Fallout: New Vegas does not feature his original Columbia Records version; rather it is a 1980 re-recording made for K-Tel records.[3]

Earlier in the year, the song also made the country music charts in a version by Ray Price (Columbia 41374).[4] Price’s version reached number two and spent 40 weeks on the Billboard Hot C&W Sides chart.

Sheet music for the song was a best seller in both the US and Britain in January 1960.[4]

In 1961, a George Jones version of the song was included on the Mercury label album George Jones Sings Country and Western Hits (MG 20624/SR 60624).[5]

Mercury also included a version of the song by Leroy Van Dyke on the album Walk on By (MG 20682/SR 60682). Also in 1961, Kitty Wells recorded a version for her LP Heartbreak U.S.A.. A later version by Jack Reno reached #26 on the same chart in 1972.[6]

Other artists who have covered this song include: Johnny Tillotson in 1965, Willie Nelson in 1966, Waylon Jennings in 1967, Jerry Lee Lewis in 1969, Dwight Yoakam in 1986, Martina McBride (featuring Dwight Yoakam) in 2005, Rosanne Cash in 2009, Connie Francis, Buck Owens, The Playtones in 2013. Recently in 2014 artist Mary Sarah released a duet version featuring Ray Price to country music radio in January 2014 [7] as the first single of the upcoming album release of Great American Country Duets “Bridges” featuring duets with Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Ray Price, Tanya Tucker, Vince Gill, Ronnie Milsap, The Oakridge Boys, Lynn Anderson, John Rich, Big and Rich, and executive producer Freddy Powers. Cyndi Lauper covered the song for her 2016 studio album Detour.

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