Kay (song)

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Single by John Wesley Ryles
from the album Kay
B-side "Come On Home" (1968 version)
"Next Time" (re-release)[1]
Released 1968 (1968)
Format 7" single
Genre Country
Length 3:41
Label Columbia (1968)
Dot (1978)
Writer(s) Hank Mills
Producer(s) George Richey
John Wesley Ryles singles chronology
"Heaven Below"

"Kay" is a song written by Hank Mills and recorded by John Wesley Ryles. It was released in late 1968 by Columbia Records as Ryles' debut single.


"Kay" is about a taxicab driver in Nashville, Tennessee. He sold everything he owned to bring the woman he has loved and been with for years from Houston to Nashville, where she is becoming a star and moving beyond needing him. It is a song full of feelings and sadness. The song describes some of the people that he carries. Among them are soldiers from Fort Campbell who tell him that they "hate that war in Vietnam". This line has been cited as an example of the anti-war movement's presence in country music in the late 1960s.[2][3]

Chart performance[edit]

Ryles' original version of "Kay" spent 17 weeks on the Hot Country Songs charts, peaking at number 9. It also reached number 83 on the Billboard Hot 100. Ryles re-recorded it for ABC Records in 1978, including this version on his album Shine on Me.[1]

Original version[edit]

Chart (1968-69) Peak
U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles[1] 9
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[1] 83
Canadian RPM Country Tracks 6
Canadian RPM Top Singles 88


Chart (1978) Peak
U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles[1] 50
Canadian RPM Country Tracks 55

Other versions[edit]

Billy Lee Riley also recorded the song in 1969, although his version did not chart.[4]

Daryle Singletary covered the song as a duet with Ryles on his 2002 album That's Why I Sing This Way.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Whitburn, Joel (2008). Hot Country Songs 1944 to 2008. Record Research, Inc. p. 367. ISBN 0-89820-177-2. 
  2. ^ Andresen, Lee (May 1, 2003). Battle Notes: Music of the Vietnam. War. Savage Press. p. 129. 
  3. ^ Cusic, Don (July 30, 2008). Discovering Country Music. ABC-CLIO. p. 97. 
  4. ^ Good Rockin' Tonight: Sun Records and the Birth of Rock 'n' Roll. Open Road Media. March 1, 2011. 
  5. ^ Dinoia, Maria Konicki. "That's Why I Sing This Way review". Allmusic. Retrieved 14 July 2012.