Melvin Endsley (30 January 1934 – 16 August 2004) was a musician, singer, and songwriter best known for writing the song "Singing the Blues", along with over 400 songs recorded by hundreds of artists since 1956. Some of the artists that have recorded his songs include Johnny Cash, Marty Robbins, Andy Williams, Paul McCartney, Stonewall Jackson, and Ricky Skaggs. At the beginning of his career, Endsley recorded including RCA and MGM, however, his vocal recordings were commercially unsuccessful. In 1998, he was inducted into the Arkansas Entertainers Hall of Fame.
Endsley was born in Drasco, Arkansas on 30 January 1934. When he was three years old, he contracted polio, requiring him to use a wheelchair for the rest of his life. From the age of 11, he spent three years in the Crippled Children's Hospital in Memphis. While there, he listened to country music on the radio and taught himself to play the guitar. After returning to Drasco, he began to play on radio shows. By the time he was 20 years old, his song, "It Happens Everytime", caught the attention of Don Gibson and Dorsey Burnette.
Endsley wrote "Singing the Blues" in 1954. The following year, he took the song to Nashville's Grand Ole Opry to pitch it backstage. In 1956, Marty Robbins recorded the song, which is credited with putting Robbins on the map. Endsley's writing talents were in high demand, after Robbins's success with "Singing the Blues". The song became a number one record for Marty Robbins, Guy Mitchell, and Tommy Steele on various music genre charts.
In October 1956, Guy Mitchell released "Singing the Blues", after which it spent nine weeks at No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard chart from December 8, 1956 to February 2, 1957. Mitchell's version was also No. 1 in the U.K. for three (non-consecutive) weeks in early 1957. In late 1956 and early 1957, Marty Robbins' version made it to number one on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart for 13 weeks, peaking at No. 17 on the U.S. pop charts.
Additional memorable versions of "Singing the Blues" include Bill Haley & His Comets' 1960 recording, a 1963 version by Dean Martin, and a 1971 version by Black Oak Arkansas. The song also made an appearance on an episode of I Love Lucy, when it was sung by Vivian Vance and William Frawley for a Ford Motor Company television commercial promoting the Edsel. In 1991, the song was performed live by Paul McCartney on the MTV show Unplugged and included on the soundtrack, Unplugged (The Official Bootleg).
Endsley had further success with the song "Love Me to Pieces", which was recorded by Jill Corey, Janise Martin, and Janet Eden in 1957. Robbins and Guy Mitchell had hits with "Knee Deep in the Blues" in 1957 and 1991. Andy Williams recorded "I Like Your Kind of Love" in 1957, while The Browns covered "I'd Just Be Fool Enough" in 1966. Other hits include "I Ain't Getting Nowhere With You" and "Bring the Blues to My Door."
Endsley himself had recorded "I Like Your Kind of Love" and "I'd Just Be Fool Enough" while he was under contract with RCA 1957-58. When his contract with RCA ended, he signed with MGM for a year, followed by a two-year stint with Hickory from 1960-61. He also recorded occasionally on his own record label, Mel-Ark. His last major hit, was with "Why I'm Walkin'", recorded by Stonewall Jackson in 1960. Over the course of Endsley's career, he wrote over 400 songs.
- "Singing The Blues" recorded by
- Marty Robbins (1956, 1991)
- Tommy Steele (with the Steelmen) (1956)
- Guy Mitchell (1956)
- Johnnie Ray (1957)
- Johnny Burnette (1961)
- Ace Cannon (1964)
- Jason Eddie and The Centremen (1966)
- Freddie Randall (1971)
- Golden Country & Western Hits 1 various artists (1973)
- Ray Columbus (1973)
- 40 Golden Hits various artists (1974)
- John Sebastian (1974)
- K-Tel various artists (1974)
- Million $ellers From USA various artists (1974)
- Popular Music's Golden Hit Parade various artists (1976)
- Laurie Andrew (1976)
- Claudius Alzner and Seine Solisten (1976)
- Jerry Lee Lewis (1978, 1982, 1987)
- Dave Edmunds (1980, 1981)
- Kevin Coyne (1985)
- Oldies But Goldies various artists (1987)
- Hits Of The Fifties various artists (1988)
- Wojciech Gąssowski (1988)
- Randy Travis (1989)
- Roy Orbison & The Teen Kings (1956)
- Additional writing credits
- "Atombombiges" recorded by Pirron und Knapp (1956)
- "Knee Deep in the Blues" recorded by Tommy Steele and The Steelmen (1956) and Guy Mitchell with Ray Conniff (1957), Vassar Clements (1988), Honky Tonk Heroes various artists (1990), Marty Robbins (1991)
- "I Like Your Kind of Love" recorded by Andy Williams (1957) and The Kestrels (1958)
- "Love Me to Pieces" recorded by Jill Corey (1957) and Janet Eden (1957)
- "Warum Strahlen Heu' Nacht Die Sterne So Hell" recorded by Die Monte Carlos (1957), K-Tel various artists compilation (1982)
- "Min Blåaste Blues (Singing The Blues)" recorded by Ulla Andersson and Johnny Svängman Showband (1957)
- "Why I'm Walkin'" recorded by Wanda Jackson (1961) and Skeeter Davis (1963)
- "I'd Just Be Fool Enough" recorded by MGM various artists compilation (1964)
- "Tout Le Long Du Chemin (Singing The Blues)" recorded by Hugues Aufray and the Skiffle Group (1964)
- "Zwei Wie Wir" recorded by Benny and Amigo Charly Brown (1976)
- "Ain't I The Lucky One" recorded by Marty Robbins (1991)
- "Honey Baby" recorded by Peter Kraus (1992)
- "Melvin Endsley". London: Independent.co.uk. 2004-08-23. Retrieved 2011-08-18.
- "Melvin Endsley « Arkansas Entertainers Hall of Fame". Arkansasentertainershalloffame.com. Retrieved 2011-08-18.
- "Melvin Endsley". London: Telegraph. 2004-08-23. Retrieved 2011-08-18.
- Kingsbury, Paul (2004). The encyclopedia of country music, Oxford University Press US, page 165. ISBN 978-0-19-517608-7
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 179. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- Whitburn, Joel (2006). The Billboard Book Of Top 40 Country Hits: 1944-2006, Second edition. Record Research. p. 293. ISBN 978-0-8230-8291-9.
- Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits: Eighth Edition. Record Research. p. 532. ISBN 978-0-8230-7499-0.
- "Melvin Endsley, Writer of a Hit Song". NYTimes.com. 2004-08-23. Retrieved 2011-08-18.