“Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain“ is a song written by songwriter Fred Rose….while being originally performed by Roy Acuff….as the song has been covered by many artists including Hank Williams Sr., Johnny Russell, and Charley Pride….and most notably, the song was recorded by Willie Nelson as part of his 1975 album Red Headed Stranger….when both the song and album became iconic in country music history, and revived Nelson’s success as a singer and recording artist.
Originally recorded in 1947 by Acuff, “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain” was recorded by Hank Williams in 1951 for the Mother’s Best Flour Hour….with other early remakes of the song were made by Donn Reynolds (MGM single – June 1957), Ferlin Husky (album Ferlin’s Favorites – November 1959), Slim Whitman (album Country Favorites – 1959), Gene Vincent (recorded October 15, 1958/ album Crazy Times! -1960), Bill Anderson (album …Sings Country Heart Songs – January 15, 1962), John D. Loudermilk (album Country Love Songs Plain and Simply Sung Country Love Songs Plain and Simply Sung – August 1968), Hank Snow (album Greatest Hits) and Conway Twitty (album Hello Darlin’ – June 1970).
The version by Willie Nelson, recorded for his 1975 concept album Red Headed Stranger….which was about a fugitive preacher on the run from the law after killing his wife….was lauded by country music historian Bill Malone as “a fine example of clean, uncluttered country music, [with] a spare arrangement that could have come straight out of the 1940s.”….whileRolling Stone noted the song was delivered with his “jazz-style phrasing” and was “the beating heart of Red Headed Stranger”…..and in October 1975, the song became Nelson’s first # 1 hit as a singer….and at year’s end, was the third-biggest song of 1975 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart. In addition, the song gained modest airplay on Top 40 radio, reaching # 21 on the Billboard Hot 100.
In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain” # 302 on its list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time…..as Rolling Stone also ranked the song # 48 on its list of the 100 Greatest Country Songs of All Time in June 2004….and in this video seen herewith….Willie Nelson & The Family Band perform this song on Austin City Limits in 1981.