Recitation song

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A recitation song or "recitation" as it is more commonly called, is a spoken narrative of a song, generally with a sentimental (or at times, religious) theme. Such numbers were quite popular in country music from the 1930s into the 1960s, although there were only few in number. While they almost disappeared in the 1970s, that decade saw several of the biggest recitation songs of all time: Red Sovine's sentimental ode to an ill child "Teddy Bear" and C. W. McCall's truck-driving saga "Convoy", both songs hitting number one on the country charts and even crossing over into the pop market. McCall, who did not sing, became a popular country star in the 1970s with a string of recitations, most of them comic, although his last hit, 1977's "Roses for Mama" was a sentimental tale in the best Sovine tradition. A number of Elvis Presley's and Johnny Cash's songs, as well as a number of songs from other genres of popular music and a number of gospel songs, also featured recitations.

Notable examples[edit]

Semi-recitation songs[edit]

Semi-recitation songs were also very popular during this period. In a semi-recitation song, the verse, or part of a verse, is spoken and the chorus is sung.

Hits of this nature:


  1. ^ a b c d e Vercher, Brody. "Hillbilly Poetry Playlist: An Introduction to Recitations". Engine 145. Archived from the original on 2014-12-18.
  2. ^ Miller-Rose, Nikki (November 1, 2012). "Ten facts about "Whisperin' Bill" Anderson on his 75th birthday". Minneapolis City Pages. Archived from the original on April 18, 2015.