It's a Sin to Tell a Lie

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"It's a Sin to Tell a Lie" is a 1936 popular song written by Billy Mayhew,[1] introduced early that year on records by many dance bands including Dick Robertson on the 78rpm record Champion 40106, and later popularized by Fats Waller on Victor 25342 and re-issued on Victor 20-1595,[2] It was recorded in French by Cajun singer Cléoma Breaux in 1936 or 1937.[3] The tune was revived in 1955 by Somethin' Smith and the Redheads, reaching number 7 on the Billboard charts in that year. It was later a Top 40 Country hit for Slim Whitman, reaching #21 on the 'Top Country Singles' chart in 1971, from the album of the same name. John Denver tells a story about the song and does a cover in his 1978 album, Live at the Sydney Opera House (RCA Victor VPL1-7167).[4] Other artists who have recorded versions include Billie Holiday, The Ink Spots, Tony Bennett, Bobbi Martin, Gerry Monroe (a number 13 hit in the UK Singles Chart in 1971),[5] Brent Spiner, Lenny Breau, Buddy Greco, Steve Goodman, The Quebe Sisters Band, Ann Breen, Jerry Murad and the Harmonicats, Bobby Vinton, Patti Page, Vera Lynn, and George Maharis. In the 2010 role-playing game Fallout New Vegas, the song can be heard playing on the in-game radio.

Originally a waltz, during the British Dixieland Revival in the 1950s and 1960s this melody was often played in fast four/four tempo, notably recorded by the Kenny Ball Band.


  1. ^ "It's a Sin to Tell a Lie - Fats Waller | Song Info". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016-08-22. 
  2. ^ "ARCHIVE OF RECORDED 78 RPM RECORDS". Retrieved 2016-08-22. 
  3. ^ Neal Pomea. "Joe Falcon & Cleoma Breaux". Retrieved 2017-06-22. 
  4. ^ "The Other John Denver Discography". Retrieved 2016-08-22. 
  5. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 375. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.