Half a Man
|"Half a Man"|
|Single by Willie Nelson|
|B-side||"The Last Letter"|
|Format||7" single (LB-55532)|
|Recorded||December 1962 at Bradley's Barn Studio (Nashville, Tennessee)|
|Willie Nelson chronology|
"Half a Man" is a song written by country music singer Willie Nelson. The song was released as the A-side of the single for his second Liberty Records album, Here's Willie Nelson. Despite it received mixed airplay for its content, the song became a sales success, peaking at number twenty-five on Billboard's Hot Country Singles and number twenty on Cashbox's country singles.
Writing and recording
Nelson was inspired to write the song after waking up in the middle of the night to smoke a cigarette. With his arm around a sleeping woman, he could not release it without waking her up. Nelson reached for the cigarette with his other arm, and imagined how it would be to only have half of his body. The song told the story of a man that declared that if he would have lost a part of his body, he would resemble the "half a man" that lost love turned him into.
"Half a Man" was recorded during a December 1962 session, produced by Tommy Allsup. Recorded at Bradley's Barn, Nelson was backed by steel guitarist Tommy Jackson; and guitarists Jerry Kennedy, Wayne Moss, and Fred Carter, Jr. . The chorus of the song was accentuated by female backup singers. The drummer was Earl Palmer.
Release and Reception
The single, coupled with a cover of Rex Griffin's "The Last Letter" was released to promote his second Liberty Records release, Here's Willie Nelson. On a January 1963 review of the single, Billboard called the song as: "(a) potent country reading of a most unusual tune in which the lad pleads for his lass", while describing that tune contained "(the) most unusual imagery".
Despite that the airplay of the song was affected by stations that considered it "morbid", the release reached by April number twenty-five on Billboard's Hot Country Singles. While it remained on Billboard's chart for five weeks, it spent twelve weeks on Cashbox's country singles chart, and peaked at number twenty.
|Billboard Hot Country Singles||25|
|Cashbox Country Singles||20|
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