Hey, Good Lookin' (song)

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"Hey, Good Lookin'"
Hank Williams Hey good looking.jpg
Single by Hank Williams
from the album Memorial Album
B-side "My Heart Would Know"
Released June 22, 1951
Format 10" single
Recorded March 16, 1951
Genre Country, rockabilly[1]
Length 2:35
Label MGM
Writer(s) Cole Porter; adaptation by Hank Williams
Producer(s) Jim Vienneau
Hank Williams singles chronology
"Howlin' At the Moon"
"Hey, Good Lookin'"
"(I Heard That) Lonesome Whistle"

"Hey, Good Lookin'" is a 1951 song written and recorded by Hank Williams, and his version was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2001.[2] Since its original 1951 recording it has been covered by a variety of artists.


The Hank Williams song is a variation of another song by the same title, which was written by Cole Porter in 1942.[3] The lyrics for the Williams version begin as a come on using double entendres related to food preparation ("How's about cookin' somethin' up with me?"). By the third and fourth verses, the singer is promising the object of his affection that they can become an exclusive couple ("How's about keepin' steady company?" and "I'm gonna throw my date book over the fence").[4]

Williams was friendly with musician Jimmy Dickens. Having told Dickens that Dickens needed a hit record if he was going to become a star, Williams said he'd write it, and penned "Hey Good Lookin'" in only 20 minutes while on a plane with Dickens, Minnie Pearl, and Pearl's husband Henry Cannon.[5] A week later Williams recorded it himself, jokingly telling Dickens, "That song's too good for you!"[6]

"Hey, Good Lookin'" was recorded on March 16, 1951 at Castle Studio in Nashville. The same session also produced the single's B-side "My Heart Would Know" as well as another pair of tunes that would be released as singles: "I Can't Help It (If I'm Still in Love with You)" and "Howlin' at the Moon," released on April 27, 1951. The "Hey, Good Lookin'" single would follow on June 22. Williams was backed on the session by members of his Drifting Cowboys band, including Jerry Rivers (fiddle), Don Helms (steel guitar), Sammy Pruett (electric guitar), Jack Shook (rhythm guitar), Ernie Newton or "Cedric Rainwater," aka Howard Watts (bass), and either Owen Bradley or producer Fred Rose on piano. [7] As author Colin Escott observes, "On one level, it seemed to point toward rock 'n' roll (hot rods, dancing sprees, goin' steady, and soda pop), but the rhythm plodded along with a steppity-step piano, and Hank sounded almost dour."[8]

Williams performed the song on the Kate Smith Evening Hour on March 26, 1952; the appearance remains one of the few existing film clips of the singer performing live. He is introduced by Roy Acuff and banters with a young June Carter. He is wearing his famous white cowboy suit adorned in musical notes. He performed "Hey, Good Lookin'" and joined in with the rest of the cast singing his own "I Saw The Light." The rare clip displays the singer's exuberance on stage while performing an up-tempo number, and he appears at ease in the relatively new broadcast medium of television. The kinescope from this show would provide the footage for the Hank Williams, Jr. video "There's A Tear In My Beer" some 37 years later.

"Hey Good Lookin'"
Single by The Mavericks
from the album From Hell to Paradise
Released 1992
Genre Neotraditional Country, Americana
Length 2:37
Label MCA
Writer(s) Hank Williams
Producer(s) Steve Fishell
Raul Malo
The Mavericks singles chronology
"This Broken Heart"
"Hey Good Lookin'"
"I Got You"
"Hey Good Lookin'"
Buffett - Hey Good Lookin cover.jpg
Single by Jimmy Buffett with Clint Black, Kenny Chesney, Alan Jackson, Toby Keith and George Strait
from the album License to Chill
Released May 17, 2004
Format Airplay
Recorded 2004
Genre Neotraditional country
Length 3:03
Label Mailboat/RCA Nashville
Writer(s) Hank Williams
Producer(s) Mac McAnally
Michael Utley
Jimmy Buffett singles chronology
"It's Five O'Clock Somewhere"
"Hey Good Lookin'"
"Trip Around the Sun"
Clint Black singles chronology
"The Boogie Man"
"Hey Good Lookin'"
"My Imagination"
Kenny Chesney singles chronology
"I Go Back"
"Hey Good Lookin'"
"The Woman with You"
Alan Jackson singles chronology
"Remember When"
"Hey Good Lookin'"
"Too Much of a Good Thing"
Toby Keith singles chronology
"Whiskey Girl"
"Hey Good Lookin'"
"Stays in Mexico"
George Strait singles chronology
"Hey Good Lookin'"
"I Hate Everything"

Cover versions[edit]

Chart performance[edit]

Hank Williams[edit]

Chart (1951) Peak
U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles 1

The Mavericks[edit]

Chart (1992) Peak
Canada Country Tracks (RPM)[11] 73
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[12] 74

Jimmy Buffett[edit]

Chart (2004) Peak
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[13] 8
US Billboard Hot 100[14] 63

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (2004) Position
US Country Songs (Billboard)[15] 53


  1. ^ http://www.rollingstone.com/music/artists/hank-williams/biography
  2. ^ Grammy Hall of Fame
  3. ^ Gaillard, Frye; Scheldt, Kathryn (2015). The Quilt and the Poetry of Alabama Music. Montgomery, AL: New South Books. pp. 34–35. ISBN 978-1-60306-390-6. 
  4. ^ Randall, Alice; et al. (2006). My Country Roots: The Ultimate MP3 Guide to America's Original Outsider Music. Thomas Nelson Inc. p. 80. ISBN 1-59555-860-8. 
  5. ^ Masino, Susan (2011). Family Tradition – Three Generations of Hank Williams. Montclair, NJ: Backbeat Books. p. 67. ISBN 978-1-61713-006-9. 
  6. ^ Lavallee, Michelle. "Little Jimmy Dickens: Country singer to Opry Legend". AXS. Retrieved January 3, 2015. 
  7. ^ Escott, Colin & 2004 344.
  8. ^ Escott, Colin & 2004 163.
  9. ^ Dean, Maury (2003-01-01). Rock N Roll Gold Rush: A Singles Un-Cyclopedia. Algora Publishing. p. 495. ISBN 0-87586-207-1. 
  10. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "The Mavericks biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 6 April 2010. 
  11. ^ "Top RPM Country Tracks: Issue 1983." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. August 8, 1992. Retrieved August 15, 2013.
  12. ^ "The Mavericks – Chart history" Billboard Hot Country Songs for The Mavericks.
  13. ^ "Jimmy Buffett – Chart history" Billboard Hot Country Songs for Jimmy Buffett.
  14. ^ "Jimmy Buffett – Chart history" Billboard Hot 100 for Jimmy Buffett.
  15. ^ "Best of 2004: Country Songs". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. 2004. Retrieved July 11, 2012. 

External links[edit]