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 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.

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.