Five Long Years

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"Five Long Years"
Single by Eddie Boyd
B-side "Blue Coat Man"
Released July 1952 (1952-07)
Format 10" 78 rpm & 7" 45 rpm record
Recorded Modern Recording Studio, Chicago
May–June 1952
Genre Blues
Length 2:41
Label J.O.B. (Cat. no. 1007)
Writer(s) Eddie Boyd
Eddie Boyd singles chronology
"It's Miserable to Be Alone"/ "I'm Pleading"
"Five Long Years"
"24 Hours"

"Five Long Years" is a song written and recorded by blues vocalist/pianist Eddie Boyd in 1952. Called one of the "few postwar blues standards [that has] retained universal appeal",[1] Boyd's "Five Long Years" reached number one on the Billboard R&B chart.[2] Numerous blues and other artists have recorded interpretations of the song.[3]

Original song[edit]

"Five Long Years" is a moderate-tempo twelve-bar blues notated in 12/8 time in the key of C.[4] It tells of "the history of the metal worker who, for five years, worked hard in a factory and who gave his check every Friday night to his girlfriend, who nevertheless dumped him".[5] Backing Boyd (vocal and piano) are Ernest Cotton (tenor sax), L. C. McKinley (guitar), Alfred Elkins (bass), and Percy Walker (drums). "Five Long Years" was revisited by Boyd several times during his career, with additional studio and live recordings.

Other versions[edit]

A variety of artists have recorded "Five Long Years", including Junior Parker, whose version reached number thirteen in the R&B chart (1959 Duke 306); Willie B. Huff and Johnny Fuller recorded it for Bob Geddins as I've Been Thinkin' and Thinkin', John Lee Hooker from his album The Folk Lore of John Lee Hooker (1961); The Yardbirds from their album Five Live Yardbirds (1963); Muddy Waters in 1963; Long John Baldry from Long John's Blues (1964); Ike & Tina Turner from Outta Season (1968); Bobby "Blue" Bland from his album If Loving You is Wrong (1970); Freddie King from his album Getting Ready (1971); B.B. King from Guess Who (1972); and Buddy Guy from Damn Right, I've Got the Blues (1991), and Eric Clapton from From The Cradle (1994).


In 2011, Eddie Boyd's original "Five Long Years" was inducted into the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame, who called it "a true-to-life blues in 1952 that hit home with many a working man".[3]


  1. ^ Dahl, Bill (1996). All Music Guide to the Blues. Miller Freeman Books. p. 28. ISBN 0-87930-424-3. 
  2. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1988). Top R&B Singles 1942–1988. Record Research, Inc. p. 52. ISBN 0-89820-068-7. 
  3. ^ a b "Blues Hall of Fame – 2011 Inductees". Classic of Blues Recording – Single or Album Track. The Blues Foundation. 2011. Retrieved August 16, 2011. 
  4. ^ The Blues. Hal Leonard Corporation. 1995. p. 67. ISBN 0-7935-5259-1. 
  5. ^ Herzhaft, Gerard (1992). Encyclopedia of the Blues. University of Arkansas Press. p. 448. ISBN 1-55728-252-8. 
Preceded by
"Juke" by Little Walter and His Night Cats
Billboard R&B National Best Sellers number-one single (Eddie Boyd version)
November 2, 1952
Succeeded by
"You Know I Love You" by B.B. King and his Orchestra