Queen of Hearts (Hank DeVito song)

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"Queen of Hearts"
Single by Dave Edmunds
from the album Repeat When Necessary
B-side"The Creature from the Black Lagoon"
ReleasedSeptember 16, 1979
LabelSwan Song
Songwriter(s)Hank DeVito
Producer(s)Dave Edmunds
Dave Edmunds singles chronology
"Girls Talk"
"Queen of Hearts"
"Crawling from the Wreckage"

Queen of Hearts is a country-pop song written by Hank DeVito, the pedal steel guitarist in Emmylou Harris's backing group The Hot Band. It was first recorded by Dave Edmunds on his 1979 album Repeat When Necessary. Edmunds' version was released as a single and reached number 11 in the UK and number 12 in Ireland that year, but failed to chart substantially elsewhere in the world. The most successful version of the song was recorded by Juice Newton in 1981 – her version reached number two in the United States and South Africa. Newton's version also reached the top 10 in Canada, Australia, Denmark, Switzerland and New Zealand.

Dave Edmunds version[edit]

British new wave and neo-rockabilly artist Dave Edmunds released the first recording of "Queen of Hearts" for his 1979 album Repeat When Necessary. The song came out as a single in the UK and was a hit there, reaching number 11. Edmunds wanted to have the single released in the US, but his label never released it: "I was just waiting for Swan Song, in their wisdom, to put it out in America, which they didn't do. ... Eventually, Juice Newton did it with an almost identical version and had a huge hit with it!"[1]

Following the Newton version, Edmunds felt uncomfortable performing the song live, as it was now associated primarily with Newton. He commented, "What bugged me is that I can't do it live now! 'Cuz to people it looks like, 'What's he doing a Juice Newton song for?' you know, but it's my song. Maybe now I could, but at the time, when it was a hit, I felt you would feel kinda weird about doing it, 'cuz there's no reason US audiences would know anything about my version of the song".[1] In 1986, a live version by Dave Edmunds appeared on his album I Hear You Rockin'.

Edmunds' version has seen a positive reception from critics. AllMusic named it one of the four "classics" on Repeat When Necessary,[2] while Ultimate Classic Rock named it a "highlight" of the album.[3] Trouser Press similarly named it a "standout".[4]

Chart history[edit]

Chart (1979–80) Peak
Australia (Kent Music Report)[5] 59
Ireland (IRMA)[6] 12
UK Singles Chart[7] 11

Juice Newton version[edit]

"Queen of Hearts"
Single by Juice Newton
from the album Juice
B-side"River of Love"
ReleasedJune 8, 1981
Songwriter(s)Hank DeVito
Producer(s)Richard Landis
Juice Newton singles chronology
"Angel of the Morning"
"Queen of Hearts"
"The Sweetest Thing (I've Ever Known)"
Alternative cover
Artwork of the Netherlands 7" release of "Queen of Hearts"

Following an appearance on the 1980 Rodney Crowell album But What Will the Neighbors Think, on which composer DeVito played guitar, "Queen of Hearts" had its highest-profile rendition in a version by country-rock singer Juice Newton from the 1981 album Juice. Newton would later recall: "I did ['Queen of Hearts'] live for about a year...Then I brought it to [producer] Richard Landis when we started the Juice album. He wasn't convinced at that point that it was a breakout song but I told him I think this is a real cool song … so we cut it".[8] Newton's own favorite cut on the Juice album,[9] "Queen of Hearts" was issued as the album's second single and would reach number two on the Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks in September 1981, behind "Endless Love" by Diana Ross and Lionel Richie. While still at number two, "Queen of Hearts" was certified Gold for domestic sales of one million units.

"Queen of Hearts" also gave Newton her second huge international hit, with top 10 chart positions in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, and Switzerland, and more moderate success in Austria, Germany, and the Netherlands. Her recording of the song earned Newton a 1982 Grammy nomination for Best Female Vocalist, Country and Western category, "Queen of Hearts" having been a number 14 country hit.[10] In June 2014, Newton's version of the song was ranked number 92 by Rolling Stone on its list of the 100 greatest country songs of all time.[11]

Newton re-recorded "Queen of Hearts" for her 1998 album The Trouble With Angels.

Juice Newton's first version of the song is featured in Oliver Stone's 1986 film Salvador and the 1997 film Boogie Nights. It also appears as source music in the first episode of The Americans, a 2013 television series set during the first Reagan administration. The song is also featured in the 1998 King of the Hill episode "Hank's Dirty Laundry", the 2017 South Park episode "Splatty Tomato", the 2004 video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, and the fourth episode of HBO's Love & Death (miniseries).

Chart history[edit]

Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (1981) Peak
Australia (Kent Music Report)[12] 8
Austria[13] 13
Belgium[14] 18
Canadian RPM Top Singles 8
Canadian RPM Country Tracks 6
Canadian RPM Adult Contemporary Tracks 3
Denmark[14] 6
Germany[15] 39
New Zealand (RIANZ)[14] 7
Netherlands[14] 27
South Africa (Springbok)[16] 2
Switzerland[17] 6
US Billboard Hot 100[18] 2
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[19] 14
US Billboard Adult Contemporary[18] 2
US Cash Box Top 100[20] 2

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (1981) Rank
Australia (Kent Music Report)[21] 63
Canada RPM Top Singles[22] 52
US Billboard Hot 100[23] 14
US Cash Box Top 100[24] 7


In 1982, Austrian artist Nickerbocker (de) released the German rendering "Puppe (du bist a moderne Hex')" ("Doll (You're a Modern Witch)") which reached number three in Austria.[25](source in German)


  1. ^ a b Edmunds, Dave (1994). "Plugged In" (Interview). Interviewed by Dan Neer. Pyramid Records. p. 59:46.
  2. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Repeat When Necessary – Dave Edmunds". AllMusic. Retrieved 16 June 2017.
  3. ^ Swanson, Dave (9 June 2015). "Why Two Rockpile Albums Were Disguised as Solo Records". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved 28 August 2023.
  4. ^ "Dave Edmunds". Trouser Press. Retrieved 28 August 2023.
  5. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970-1992. St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  6. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Queen of Hearts". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved February 7, 2019.
  7. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 179. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  8. ^ White, Robert 'Bo' (September 15, 2011). "Juice Newton: The Queen of Hearts Revealed". Newreviewsite.com. Archived from the original on September 20, 2012. Retrieved August 9, 2012.
  9. ^ The Baltimore Sun June 24, 1982
  10. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book Of Top 40 Country Hits: 1944-2006, Second edition. Record Research. p. 104.
  11. ^ "100 Greatest Country Songs of All Time". Rolling Stone. June 2014.
  12. ^ "Australian-charts.com - Forum - Top 100 End of Year AMR Charts - 1980s (ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts)". Archived from the original on October 6, 2014. Retrieved April 25, 2014.
  13. ^ "Juice Newton – Queen of Hearts". austriancharts.at (in German). Retrieved 2022-09-20.
  14. ^ a b c d "charts.org.nz - Juice Newton - Queen Of Hearts".
  15. ^ "Juice Newton – Queen of Hearts". offiziellecharts.de (in German). Retrieved 2022-09-20.
  16. ^ "SA Charts 1965–March 1989". Retrieved 5 September 2018.
  17. ^ "Juice Newton – Queen of Hearts". hitparade.ch (in German). Retrieved 2022-09-20.
  18. ^ a b Hyatt, Wesley (1999). The Billboard Book of #1 Adult Contemporary Hits (Billboard Publications), page 258.
  19. ^ "Juice Newton Chart History (Hot Country Songs)". Billboard.
  20. ^ "Cash Box Top 100 Singles, September 26, 1981". Archived from the original on December 1, 2017. Retrieved July 6, 2017.
  21. ^ "National Top 100 Singles for 1981". Kent Music Report. 4 January 1982. p. 7. Retrieved January 11, 2022 – via Imgur.
  22. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". www.collectionscanada.gc.ca. Archived from the original on 2012-10-20.
  23. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1981/Top 100 Songs of 1981". Musicoutfitters.com. Retrieved 2016-10-23.
  24. ^ "Cash Box Year-End Charts: Top 100 Pop Singles, December 26, 1981". Archived from the original on October 22, 2016. Retrieved July 6, 2017.
  25. ^ "Chart-Informationen Puppe (Du bist a moderne Hex')". Chartsurfer.de. Retrieved 2017-12-17.

External links[edit]