Guess Things Happen That Way

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"Guess Things Happen That Way"
Single by Johnny Cash
from the album Sings the Songs That Made Him Famous
Released May 19, 1958
Length 1:52
Label Sun
Writer(s) Jack Clement
Producer(s) Sam Phillips
Jack Clement
Johnny Cash singles chronology
"Big River"
"Guess Things Happen That Way"
"Come in Stranger"

"Guess Things Happen That Way" is a 1958 cross over single by Johnny Cash, which was written by Jack Clement. The single, a song about "a man struggling ... after the love of his life has left him",[2] was Johnny Cash's fourth number one on the country chart spending eight weeks at number one and a total of twenty-four weeks on the chart.[3]

The B-side of "Guess Things Happen That Way", a song entitled, "Come In Stranger" made it to number six on the country chart. The single also crossed over to the pop chart, peaking at number eleven.[4]

Pop singer June Valli had a minor revival of the song in 1961. Her version peaked at #92 in the Music Vendor Top 100.

On February 25, 2010, the song, purchased by grandfather and Woodstock, Georgia native Louie Sulcer, became the 10 billionth download through the Apple iTunes Store.[5]

Critical reception[edit]

As Allmusic describes it, the song "featured an arrangement dominated by piano and a vocal chorus adding distinctive 'ba-doo's throughout [that is] ...slicker than, say, "Cry! Cry! Cry!" or "I Walk the Line" [but with] an eccentric tone all its own — largely because the vocal chorus (who sound as if they're occupying a middle ground between doo wop and barbershop quartet) is in such stark contrast to Cash's lead vocal."[2]

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1958) Peak
U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles 1
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 11


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b Deming, Mark. "Guess Things Happen That Way". Allmusic. Retrieved 2010-02-28. 
  3. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book Of Top 40 Country Hits: 1944-2006, Second edition. Record Research. p. 74. 
  4. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits: Eighth Edition. Record Research. p. 110. 
  5. ^ Kreps, Daniel (February 25, 2010). "iTunes Prize Winner to Steve Jobs: Yeah Right, Who Is This Really?". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2010-02-28. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
"Oh Lonesome Me" by Don Gibson
C&W Best Sellers in Stores
number one single by Johnny Cash

June 23, 1958 - August 18, 1958
(eight weeks)
Succeeded by
"Blue Blue Day" by Don Gibson