Heartaches (song)

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Published 1931
Composer Al Hoffman
Lyricist John Klenner
Recorded by Ted Weems, Harry James, The Marcels

"Heartaches" is a popular song with music by Al Hoffman and lyrics by John Klenner. The song was published in 1931, was placed on all of the record labels of the time (Victor, Columbia, Brunswick and the many dime store labels), but it was not a particularly big hit at the time.

Ted Weems cover[edit]

The biggest recorded version of the song was by the Ted Weems Orchestra, with Elmo Tanner whistling.[1] The recording was made in 1933 on Bluebird B-5131 (in a novelty fast rhumba tempo) and had not sold very well at the time. Subsequently this 1933 recording was revived fourteen years later.

In early 1947, Kurt Webster, a disc jockey on WBT, the 50,000 watt station in Charlotte, North Carolina, had a program, "Midnight Dancing Party," which was heard along the East Coast from Bangor, Maine to Boot Key, Florida. One night, he apparently picked up the old Weems version of "Heartaches" and played it. Possibly it was one of those "I wonder where he is today" situations, because Weems had dissolved his band in early 1942 after he and many musicians went off to fight in World War II. Webster liked the tune so much that he continued to play it, almost nightly. Listeners also began to request it and the song attracted national attention. Single-handedly Webster launched "Heartaches" to its revived national success. Because of that one tune and recording, Weems revived his band briefly to capitalize on "Heartaches." This recording was jointly released by RCA Victor Records as catalog number 20-2175 and Weems' 1938 re-recording on Decca Records as catalog number 25017. The Victor version first reached the Billboard magazine Best Seller chart on February 21, 1947 and lasted 16 weeks on the chart, peaking at #1.[2]

Harry James cover[edit]

The recording by Harry James was released by Columbia Records as catalog number 37305. It first reached the Billboard magazine Best Seller chart on April 18, 1947 and lasted 3 weeks on the chart, peaking at #8.[2] This was his last charting hit.

The Marcels cover[edit]

A radically altered arrangement of "Heartaches" also became popular in 1961 as a version by The Marcels was released as a followup to their U.S. hit "Blue Moon". Although the Marcels' "Heartaches" single failed to match the #1 position on the U.S. singles charts achieved by "Blue Moon",[3] "Heartaches" reached the Top 10 (peaking at #7) and eventually sold over one million copies worldwide. In addition to a vocal hook similar to that of "Blue Moon", the Marcels added to the introduction of the recording of "Heartaches" the group saying, then singing, "Watch out! Here we go again..."

Allan Sherman parody[edit]

In 1963, Allan Sherman produced a parody version titled "Headaches," a commentary on television aspirin commercials. In the middle of the whistled part, a kid named Tom Greenleigh shrieks, "Mommy, can't you keep Daddy's car out of the driveway?!" At the end of the song, Sherman solved his headache problems by eating his television set.

Other recorded versions[edit]


  1. ^ Helgesen, Ray (22 June 1947). "Miracle Mystery of "Heartaches"". The Milwaukee Sentinel. Retrieved 13 April 2011. 
  2. ^ a b Whitburn, Joel (1973). Top Pop Records 1940-1955. Record Research. 
  3. ^ Bronson, Fred (2003). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits: The Inside Story Behind Every Number One Single on Billboard's Hot 100 from 1955 to the Present (5 ed.). Billboard Books. p. 87. ISBN 0-8230-7677-6. 
  4. ^ "45 Discography for DeLuxe Records". Global Dog Productions. Retrieved December 22, 2013. 
Preceded by
"Managua, Nicaragua" by Freddy Martin
U.S. Billboard Best Sellers in Stores number-one single
March 15–May 31, 1947
Succeeded by
"Mam'selle" by Art Lund