It Hurts Me Too

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"It Hurts Me Too"
Single by Tampa Red
B-side "Tired of Your Reckless Ways"
Released 1940 (1940)
Format 10-inch 78 rpm record
Recorded Chicago, May 10, 1940
Genre Blues
Length 2:28
Label Bluebird (no. 8635)
Tampa Red singles chronology
"What Am I Going to Do"/ "Baby Take a Chance with Me"
"It Hurts Me Too"
"Don't You Lie to Me"/ "Anna Lou Blues"

"It Hurts Me Too" is a blues standard that is "one of the most interpreted blues [songs]".[1] First recorded in 1940 by American blues musician Tampa Red, the song is a mid-tempo eight-bar blues that features slide guitar. It borrows from earlier blues songs and has been recorded by many blues and other artists.


"It Hurts Me Too" is based on "Things 'Bout Comin' My Way", recorded by Tampa Red in 1931 (OKeh 1637). The melody lines are nearly identical and instrumentally they are similar, although the latter has an extra bar in the turnaround, giving it nine bars. "Sam Hill from Louisville", one of several pseudonyms of Walter Vinson (or Vincson), recorded "Things 'Bout Coming My Way" shortly before Tampa Red (1931 Brunswick 7216). Vinson's version is based on his earlier recording with the Mississippi Sheiks, "Sitting on Top of the World" (1930 OKeh 8784). Both songs share several elements with "You Got to Reap What You Sow", recorded by Tampa Red in 1929 (Vocalion 1404) and by Leroy Carr and Scrapper Blackwell in 1928 (Vocalion 1232). The melody lines, played on slide guitar by Tampa Red and sung by Carr, are similar to those in the later songs. Carr and Blackwell's song has elements of their own earlier 1928 song "How Long, How Long Blues" (Vocalion 1191). "How Long, How Long Blues" has been described as one of the first blues standards and the inspiration for many blues songs of the era.[2]

In 1949, Tampa Red recorded a variation of "It Hurts Me Too", titled "When Things Go Wrong with You" (Victor 22-0035). The song was recast in the style of a Chicago blues, with electric guitar and a more up to date backing arrangement. The song was a hit and reached number nine on Billboard's Rhythm & Blues Records chart in 1949.[3] (The original "It Hurts Me Too" was released before Billboard or a similar reliable service began tracking such releases, so it is difficult to gauge which version was more popular, although the former's title won out over the latter's.) Although the song retained the refrain "When things go wrong, so wrong with you, it hurts me too", Tampa Red varied the rest of the lyrics somewhat. This would become the pattern for future versions, in which succeeding artists would interpret the song with some of their own lyrics.

Elmore James renditions[edit]

Several versions of "It Hurts Me Too" were recorded in the 1940s and 1950s, including those by Stick McGhee and Big Bill Broonzy. When Elmore James recorded it in 1957 (Chief 7004), he (or Chief's owner, Mel London, who is credited on the release) supplied some of the lyrics that are most familiar today:

You say you hurting, you almost lost your mind
The man you love, he hurts you all the time
When things go wrong, go wrong with you
It hurts me too

James' 1957 Chief version did not appear in the charts, but after he recorded the song again in late 1962 or early 1963 for the Fire/Fury/Enjoy group of labels, it became a hit. The song used the same lyrics as his earlier version, but featured more prominent slide guitar work. When it was released in 1965 (Enjoy 2015), two years after James' death, "It Hurts Me Too" spent eight weeks on the Hot Rhythm & Blues Singles chart, where it reached number 25.[4] The song also appeared on Billboard's Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart at number 106, which was James' only single to do so.[4] Subsequent versions of "It Hurts Me Too" often showed Elmore James' influences, either in the lyrics or guitar parts.

Junior Wells versions[edit]

Junior Wells made the song one of his standards and often used James' lyrics. He recorded it several times, including as a single in 1962 (Chief 7035), for the 1966 compilation album Chicago/The Blues/Today! Volume 1 (Vanguard VSD 79216), and in 1979 for his Pleading the Blues album with Buddy Guy (Isabel 900.501).

Recognition and influence[edit]

In 2012, Tampa Red's 1940 "It Hurts Me Too" was inducted into the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame as a "Classic of Blues Recording".[5] The Foundation noted: "Tampa Red proved himself a master of many moods during his long recording career, and with the classic line 'When things go wrong, go wrong with you, it hurts me too,' he showed how the blues can be an expression of empathy and tenderness."[5]

"It Hurts Me Too" has been recorded by many blues and other artists, including: John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers (from the expanded A Hard Road album 1967), Chuck Berry (Live at Fillmore Auditorium 1967), Savoy Brown (Blue Matter 1968), the Rolling Stones (Jamming with Edward! 1972), Bob Dylan (Self Portrait 1970), Hound Dog Taylor (Hound Dog Taylor and the HouseRockers 1971), Grateful Dead (Europe '72 1972), Foghat (Stone Blue 1978), Eric Clapton (From the Cradle 1994), Susan Tedeschi (Better Days 1995), Gov't Mule with Little Milton (Mulennium 1999), Keb Mo (The Door 2000), and First Aid Kit ("Universal Soldier" single 2011).


  1. ^ Herzhaft 1988, p. 445.
  2. ^ Wald 2004, p. 35.
  3. ^ Whitburn 1988, p. 410.
  4. ^ a b Whitburn 1988, p. 216.
  5. ^ a b Blues Foundation (2012). "2012 Hall of Fame Inductees: It Hurts Me Too – Tampa Red (Bluebird, 1940)". The Blues Foundation. Retrieved April 21, 2012.