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Music – 1947 – Hank Williams – Move It On Over

Move It On Over is a song written and recorded by the legendary American country music singer-songwriter Hank Williams in 1947. The song was Williams’ first major hit….while reaching # 4 on the Billboard Singles chart….as the song is considered one of the earliest examples of rock and roll music….with many others having recorded and performed the song subsequently….with notable hit versions by George Thorogood in the 1980’s and Travis Tritt in the 1990’s.

“Move It On Over” was recorded on April 21, 1947 at Castle Studio in Nashville….which was Hank’s first session for MGM….and the same session that produced “I Saw the Light,” “(Last Night) I Heard You Crying in Your Sleep,” and “Six More Miles to the Graveyard.”  Nashville had no session men during this period….so producer Fred Rose hired Red Foley’s backing band….which was one of the sharpest around….to back Williams. As biographer Colin Escott observes, Rose probably felt the instrumental break needed a touch of class to smooth out Williams’ hillbilly edges….and the band, especially guitarist Zeke Turner, was likely too fancy for the singer’s taste.

Many claim the song resembles a song “Rock Around the Clock”…which was released in 1954 by Bill Haley & His Comets….as it would go on to become the first hit rock and roll single….as both feature the same twelve-bar blues arrangement with a melody starting with three repetitions of an ascending   arpeggio of the tonic chord…..while the song follows a man who is forced to sleep in the doghouse after coming home late at night….and not being allowed into his house by his wife. In many respects, the song typified Williams’ uncanny ability to express in a humorous way the aspects of everyday life that listeners could relate to….of which they rarely heard on the radio.  As fiddler Jerry Rivers later recalled….such Hank’s novelty songs “weren’t novelty – they were serious, not silly, and that’s why they were much better accepted and better selling. ‘Move It on Over’ hits right home….cuz half of the people he was singing to were in the doghouse with the ol’ lady.”

“Move It on Over” was Williams’ first Billboard hit….which got him a write up in The Alabama Journal…. while generating the first serious money the singer had ever seen in his life….and also earned him a spot on the coveted Louisiana Hayride….which was the training ground for the Grand Ole Opry.

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