Crazy Arms

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"Crazy Arms"
Single by Ray Price
B-side "You Done Me Wrong"
Released May 1956 (U.S.)
Format 7"
Recorded March 1, 1956
Genre Country
Length 2:35
Label Columbia 21510
Writer(s) Ralph Mooney and Charles Seals
Ray Price singles chronology
"Run Boy"
"Crazy Arms"
"I've Got a New Heartache"

"Crazy Arms" is an American country song recorded by Ray Price. The song, released in May 1956, went on to become a hit that year and a honky-tonk standard. It was Price's first No. 1 hit. The song was written by Ralph Mooney and Charles Seals. Mooney, a pedal steel player on many recordings and for Waylon Jennings and Wynn Stewart for over 20 years, said he got the idea for the song after his wife left him because of his drinking problem.[citation needed]


"Crazy Arms" was a traditional country ballad at a time when the genre's producers and promoters were searching for a style to reach America's youth.[1]

The up-and-coming Price, who already had several successful recordings by 1956, used "Crazy Arms" to establish himself as a star and to introduce fans to his Texas shuffle sound: fiddle, pedal steel guitar, walking electric bass and swinging 4/4 rhythm.[1] Those hallmarks became part of many of Price's biggest hits throughout the mid-to-late 1950s and early 1960s, before Price began experimenting with strings and more pop-oriented styles.

The first known recording of "Crazy Arms" was by Wynn Stewart in 1954. The extremely rare '78 acetate record was discovered in March 2012 on eBay.[citation needed] It has a Jimmy Jones recording studio label from Pasadena, CA. The label was handwritten.

Commercial performance[edit]

"Crazy Arms" reached No. 1 on each of the Billboard magazine country music charts (jukebox, best sellers and radio airplay) in June 1956 and has been credited with spending 20 weeks atop the chart; only three other songs spent longer at No. 1. In addition, Billboard named the song its No. 1 country single of 1956 in its year-end issue.[2]

The song's run at No. 1 (which came two years prior to the introduction of the all-encompassing Hot Country Songs chart in October 1958) would not be matched until July 27, 2013, when "Cruise" by Florida Georgia Line matched its run at No. 1 with 20 weeks. Only two songs since 1956 – "Walk On By" by Leroy Van Dyke (19 weeks, 1961-1962) and "Love's Gonna Live Here" by Buck Owens (16 weeks, 1963-1964) – had come reasonably close to matching the run of "Crazy Arms" before Florida Georgia Line.

Cover versions[edit]

"Crazy Arms" has been covered many times by performers both in country music and other genres. Some of the more notable names include Bing Crosby, Chuck Berry, the Andrews Sisters, Gram Parsons, Patsy Cline, Waylon Jennings, Trini Lopez, Mickey Gilley, Great Speckled Bird, Willie Nelson, Patty Loveless, Jerry Lee Lewis, Marie Osmond and the Jerry Garcia Band. In addition, Price had a cameo role on a version recorded by Barbara Mandrell, on her 1990 album Morning Sun. Karen Chandler and Jimmy Wakely directly covered the Price version in 1956. In 2000 Van Morrison and Linda Gail Lewis performed the song on their album You Win Again. Linda Ronstadt recorded a cover for her 1971 album, Linda Ronstadt. Marty Stuart recorded an instrumental version with Mooney on his 2010 album Ghost Train: The Studio B Sessions. Also recently recording "Crazy Arms" was Chris Isaak on his CD 2 of "Beyond the Sun" collection.


  1. ^ a b Malone, Bill, "Classic Country Music: A Smithsonian Collection" ((booklet included with Classic Country Music: A Smithsonian Collection 4-disc set). Smithsonian Institution, 1990), p.51.
  2. ^ [1] Billboard magazine Hot Country Singles year-end chart - 1956.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
"Heartbreak Hotel" by Elvis Presley
C&W Best Sellers in Stores
number one single by Ray Price

June 23 -July 7, 1956
July 28 - September 8, 1956
Succeeded by
"I Want You, I Need You, I Love You" by Elvis Presley
"Don't Be Cruel"/"Hound Dog" by Elvis Presley
Preceded by
"In the Jailhouse Now"
by Webb Pierce
Billboard HotCountry Singles
number-one single of the year

Succeeded by
by Ferlin Husky