1940sCountry MusicMusicPop MusicRock N Roll Music

Music – 1947 – Hank Williams Sr – Move It On Over

Move It On Over is a very popular song written and recorded by the American country music singer-songwriter Hank Williams in 1947….as this was Williams’ first major hit….afterr reaching # 4 on the Billboard Singles chart. The song is considered one of the earliest examples of rock and roll music.

Many others have recorded and performed the song subsequently…..notably the hit versions by George Thorogood in the 1980’s and Travis Tritt in the 1990’s….as “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.”  Since Nashville had no session musicians during this time period….so, producer Fred Rose hired Red Foley’s backing band to back Williams.  As biographer Colin Escott observed….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 “Rock Around the Clock,” released in 1954 by Bill Haley and his Comets….which would go on to become the first hit rock and roll single….resembles “Move It On Over”….whereas, both feature the same twelve-bar blues arrangement with a melody starting with three repetitions of an ascending arpeggio of the tonic chord….which is a similarity that is disputed by some experts.  

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….which was also  rarely heard on the radio. As fiddler Jerry Rivers later recalled, Hank’s novelty songs “weren’t novelty as they were serious, not silly, and that’s why they were much better accepted and better selling. ‘Move It on Over’ hits right home, ’cause 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….and generated the first serious money the singer had ever seen in his life. It also earned him a spot on the coveted Louisiana Hayride, the training ground for the Grand Ole Opry.

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