Teresa Brewer (May 7, 1931 – October 17, 2007) was an American singer whose style incorporated pop, country, jazz, R&B, musicals and novelty songs…..as she was one of the most prolific and popular female singers of the 1950’s….while recording nearly 600 songs.
An agent, Richie Lisella, heard her sing and took her career in hand….and soon she was signed to a contract with London Records….then in 1949 she recorded the jazz perennial song “Copenhagen” with the Dixieland All-Stars…..and for the B side she recorded the song “Music! Music! Music!”….when unexpectedly, it was not the A side but the B side which took off….while selling over a million copies…. and becoming Teresa’s signature song. Another novelty song, “Choo’n Gum”, hit the top 20 in 1950….and was followed by “Molasses, Molasses”…..when although she preferred to sing ballads….her only recorded ballad to make the charts was “Longing for You” in 1951.
In 1951 Brewer switched labels by going to Coral Records…..where since she never learned to read music….she had demos sent to her to learn the melodies of the songs she would record….and despite her lack of formal training….she had a number of hits for Coral. In 1952, she also recorded “You’ll Never Get Away” in a duet with Don Cornell….then she followed in 1953 by her best selling hit, “Till I Waltz Again with You”. In the mid-1950’s she did a number of covers of rhythm and blues songs like “Pledging My Love” and “Tweedle Dee”. She covered some country songs like “Jilted”, “I Gotta Go Get My Baby” and “Let Me Go, Lover!”. In 1956 she co-wrote “I Love Mickey”, about New York Yankees center fielder Mickey Mantle, who appeared on the record with Brewer. It was also reported that the two had developed a mutual attraction. Another 1956 hit was Brewer’s syncopated rendition of “Mutual Admiration Society”…. and in the same year her hit “A Sweet Old Fashioned Girl” demonstrated in one song her ballad and rock talents. In 1957 she recorded more covers: of country song “Teardrops in My Heart” and R&B songs “You Send Me” and “Empty Arms”.
In this video seen herewith….Teresa Brewer joined Hank Williams Jr. on the 1980 Tribute to Hank Williams television special to sing Hank’s legendary country song “Your Cheatin’ Heart”…..which is well worth the price of admission to watch.
“Your Cheatin’ Heart“ is a song written and recorded by country music singer-songwriter Hank Williams in 1952….which is regarded as one of country’s most important standards….as country music historian Colin Escott writes that “the song – for all intents and purposes – defines country music.” Williams was inspired to write the song while driving with his fianceé from Nashville, Tennessee, to Shreveport, Louisiana…..when after describing his first wife Audrey Sheppard as a “Cheatin’ Heart”….as that is when he dictated in minutes the lyrics to Billie Jean Jones.
“Your Cheatin’ Heart” was released in January 1953….and was propelled by Williams’ recent death during a trip to a New Year’s concert in Canton, Ohio…..when the song became an instant success…..and topped Billboard’s Country & Western chart for six weeks….while over a million units were sold. The success of the song continued….when Joni James’ version reached # 2 on Billboard’sMost Played in Jukeboxes the same year….while Ray Charles’ 1962 version reached # 29 on the Billboard Hot 100 and # 13 on the UK Singles Chart. The song ranked at # 213 on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time….and was ranked # 5 on Country Music Television’s 100 Greatest Songs in Country Music.