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. Rocker Terry Manning covered the song on his "Home Sweet Home" album, recorded in 1969.

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
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[6] 1
US Billboard Hot 100[7] 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. ^ "Johnny Cash – Chart history" Billboard Hot Country Songs for Johnny Cash.
  7. ^ "Johnny Cash – Chart history" Billboard Hot 100 for Johnny Cash.

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