The End of the World (song by Arthur Kent and Sylvia Dee)

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"The End of the World"
Skeeter davis the end of the world.jpg
Single cover
Single by Skeeter Davis
from the album Skeeter Davis Sings The End of the World
B-side"Somebody Loves You", "Blueberry Hill"
Released1962
Format7" single
Recorded1962
GenreCountry pop
Length2:33
LabelRCA
Songwriter(s)Arthur Kent, Sylvia Dee
Producer(s)Chet Atkins
Skeeter Davis singles chronology
"The Little Music Box"
(1962)
"The End of the World"
(1962)
"I'm Saving My Love"
(1963)

"The End of the World" is a pop song written by composer Arthur Kent and lyricist Sylvia Dee, who often worked as a team. They wrote the song for American singer Skeeter Davis, and her recording of it was highly successful in the early 1960s, reaching the Top-5 on four different charts, including #2 on the main Billboard Hot 100. It spawned many cover versions.

Background[edit]

"The End of the World" is a sad song about the aftermath of a romantic breakup. Dee, the lyricist, said she drew on her sorrow from her father's death to set the mood for the song.

Davis recorded her version with sound engineer Bill Porter on June 8, 1962, at the RCA Studios in Nashville, produced by Chet Atkins, and featuring Floyd Cramer.[1] Released by RCA Records in December 1962, "The End of the World" peaked in March 1963 at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 (behind "Our Day Will Come" by Ruby & the Romantics), No. 2 on the Billboard country singles,[2] No. 1 on Billboard's easy listening, and No. 4 on Billboard's rhythm and blues.[3] It is the first, and, to date, only time that a song cracked the Top 10 (and Top 5) on all four Billboard charts.[4] Billboard ranked the record as the No. 2 song of 1963.

In the Davis version, after she sings the whole song through in the key of B-flat-major, the song modulates up by a half step to the key of B, where Davis speaks the first two lines of the final stanza, before singing the rest of the stanza, ending the song.

"The End of the World" was played at Atkins's funeral in an instrumental by Marty Stuart. The song was also played at Davis's own funeral at the Ryman Auditorium. Her version has been featured in several films, TV shows, and video games (see "Appearances in media" below).

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1963) Peak
position
Australian Kent Music Report 32
UK Singles Chart[5] 18
US Billboard Hot 100 2
US Billboard Hot Country Singles 2
US Billboard Hot R&B Singles 4
US Billboard Easy Listening[6] 1
US Cash Box Top 100 2
US Cash Box Country Singles 2

Covers[edit]

The Carpenters version[edit]

"The End of the World"
Single by The Carpenters
from the album Live in Japan
B-side"Sing" (live with the Kyoto Children's Choir)
ReleasedMarch 5, 1975
FormatCassette
RecordedJune 4–9, 1975
GenreCountry
Length2:04
LabelA&M/King Records, Universal
Songwriter(s)Arthur Kent, Sylvia Dee
Producer(s)Richard Carpenter
The Carpenters singles chronology
"Only Yesterday"
(1975)
"The End of the World"
(1975)
"Solitaire"
(1976)

In 1975, American pop music duo Carpenters released a cover of "The End of the World" as a promotional single from their live album Live in Japan. It was recorded at the Festival Hall, Osaka, Japan.

Sonia version[edit]

"End of the World"
Single by Sonia
from the album Everybody Knows
B-side"Can't Help the Way That I Feel"
Released13 August 1990
FormatCD Single
7" Single
12" Single
Recorded1990
GenrePop
Length3:36
LabelChrysalis
Songwriter(s)Arthur Kent, Sylvia Dee
Producer(s)Stock, Aitken & Waterman
Sonia singles chronology
"You've Got a Friend"
(1990)
"End of the World"
(1990)
"Only Fools (Never Fall in Love)"
(1991)

In 1990, British singer Sonia covered "End of the World". The fifth and final single from her debut album, Everybody Knows, it reached number 18 in the UK,[7] the same chart position as the original.[5] The single's B-side "Can't Help the Way That I Feel" also appeared on Sonia's debut album. This was her final single with Stock Aitken Waterman.

Charts[edit]

Chart (1990) Peak
Position
Australian Singles Chart[8] 153
Irish Singles Chart 18
UK Singles Chart 18

Other versions[edit]

Anna-Lena Löfgren recorded the song in Swedish, as "Allt är förbi"[9], scoring a Svensktoppen hit for seven weeks between 9 October–19 November 1966.[10] Another version became No. 2 hit in Sweden in September 1966 via a local cover by Mike Wallace & the Caretakers. A version by Allison Paige peaked at number 72 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart in May 2000.[11]

In China, there have been three Cantonese versions covered by three different Hong Kong singers, namely "長相思" by Pauline Chan (陳寶珠) in 1968, "含羞草" by Annabelle Lui (雷安娜) in 1981 and "冬戀" by Danny Chan (陳百強) in 1988. For the Mandarin version, the first one "打不動你的心" was covered by Hong Kong veteran female singer Rebecca Pan (潘迪華) in 1965 while the second one "後會無期" by another Hong Kong female singer G.E.M. Tang (鄧紫棋) in 2014. Subsequently, there was the third one titled "星夢之光", lyrics written by an SNH48 member, Wu Yanwen (吳燕文), and performed by SNH48 themselves in 2015.

"The End of the World" has also been remade by a number of other artists including:

Appearances in media[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Gilliland, John (1969). "Show 10 – Tennessee Firebird: American country music before and after Elvis. [Part 2]" (audio). Pop Chronicles. University of North Texas Libraries.
  2. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Country Hits: 1944–2006, Second edition. Record Research. p. 180.
  3. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942–2004. Record Research. p. 147.
  4. ^ ""The End of the World" – Skeeter Davis: 1963". The Pop History Dig.
  5. ^ a b "SKEETER DAVIS | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". Theofficialcharts.com. Retrieved September 26, 2016.
  6. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2002). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961–2001. Record Research. p. 73.
  7. ^ "SONIA | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". Theofficialcharts.com. Retrieved September 26, 2016.
  8. ^ "Response from ARIA re: chart inquiry, received 2014-06-17". Imgur.com. Retrieved July 29, 2015.
  9. ^ "Låt oss tro". Swedish Mediadatabase. 1966. Retrieved July 8, 2018.
  10. ^ "Svensktoppen" (in Swedish). Sveriges radio. 1966. Retrieved July 8, 2018.
  11. ^ Bronson, Fred (May 13, 2000). "Country Is Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood". Billboard. Retrieved March 11, 2013.
  12. ^ "Wake Up" (in Swedish). Swedish Meidadatabase. 2009. Retrieved July 8, 2018.
  13. ^ Levinson, Paul (November 2, 2009). "Mad Men 3.12: The End of the World". InfiniteRegress.tv. Retrieved November 2, 2009.
  14. ^ "BBC Radio 4 - Afternoon Drama, Pandemic". Bbc.co.uk. October 11, 2013. Retrieved September 26, 2016.
  15. ^ Mozuch, Mo. "Fallout 4 Soundtrack News: Audio Director Mark Lampert Confirms New Track [EXCLUSIVE]". Idigitaltimes.com. Retrieved September 26, 2016.

External links[edit]