Guess Things Happen That Way

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"Guess Things Happen That Way"
Guess Things Happen That Way - Johnny Cash.jpg
Single by Johnny Cash and the Tennessee Two
from the album Sings the Songs That Made Him Famous
ReleasedMay 19, 1958
Songwriter(s)Jack Clement
Producer(s)Sam Phillips
Jack Clement
Johnny Cash and the Tennessee Two 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[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]


The song is about a man struggling after the love of his life has left him.

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]

The song was banned by the BBC upon its 1958 release when the head of religious broadcasting objected to the lines "God gave me that girl to lean on, / Then he put me on my own. / Heaven help me be a man / And have the strength to stand alone."[6][7]

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1958) Peak
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[8] 1
US Billboard Hot 100[9] 11



  1. ^ Richard Aquila. "That Old-time Rock & Roll: A Chronicle of an Era, 1954-1963". p. 106. Retrieved 2016-08-29.
  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.
  6. ^ "30 songs banned by the BBC". 17 December 2015 – via
  7. ^ "Wie Einst, Lili Marleen: Songs The BBC Banned". 17 December 2016.
  8. ^ "Johnny Cash Chart History (Hot Country Songs)". Billboard.
  9. ^ "Johnny Cash Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.

External links[edit]