“Men with Broken Hearts“ is a song written and recorded by Hank Williams….which was under the pseudonym “Luke the Drifter”….and was released on MGM Records in 1951. “Men with Broken Hearts” was a song of which Williams was extremely proud….for in the liner notes to the 2001 Mercury album Hank Williams as Luke the Drifter: Beyond the Sunset….he is quoted asking journalist Allen Rankin…. “Ain’t that the awfulest, morbidest song you ever heard in your life? Don’t know how I happen to write that thing, except that somebody that fell, he’s the same man as before he fell, ain’t he?”….and In the American Masters film….Danny Dill recalls, “He was simply overwhelmed by that song, ‘Men with Broken Hearts.’ And it was so sad, it was awful! But he loved it.”
The song, like most of the Luke the Drifter recordings, is a recitation and Hank’s delivery….which is infused with compassion and sadness….giving it a moral authority that is immediately arresting….and would influence countless singers from George Jones to Bob Dylan to Johnny Cash….as seen in this video herewith.
Hank Williams recorded the song on December 21, 1950 in at Castle Studio in Nashville…which was the same session that produced “Cold, Cold Heart” with Fred Rose producing….as Hank was backed by Jerry Rivers on the fiddle, Don Helms on steel guitar, Sammy Pruett on electric guitar, Chet Atkins on rhythm guitar and Ernie Newton or Howard Watts on bass….and was released as a single in 1951 with “Just Waitin'” as the B-side.