The Last Letter
|"The Last Letter"|
|Single by Rex Griffin|
|B-side||"Over the River"|
|Format||10" single (Decca-5383)|
|Recorded||May 13, 1937|
"The Last Letter" is a song written by country music singer Rex Griffin. Griffin wrote the song in 1937, after he was left by his wife. The song tells through a suicidal letter the feelings of an older man who is left by his young wife. The song, released on Decca Records became a hit for Griffin
A standard of country music, the tune was covered by diverse acts. Jimmie Davis' 1939 version became a hit, while it was covered by diverse country acts.
Writing and original recording
In 1937, singer-songwriter Rex Griffin wrote "The Last Letter" while he was living in New Orleans, Louisiana. He was inspired to write the song after he was left by his wife. The lyrics told the story of a suicide letter written by a common man directed to a woman seeking a rich husband and the finer things in life. It described his bitterness, and pain for the end of their romance. The song probably inspired Hank Williams's similar "Mansion On The Hill."
Griffin recorded "The Last Letter" during a New York session on May 13, 1937. The single, backed with "Over the River" on the flipside was released the same year on Decca Records. Despite that "The Last Letter" turned into a hit, the poor sales of Griffin caused his dismissal by the label. The song became later considered a standard of Country music. Griffin wrote and recorded a sequel called "Answer To The Last Letter" in 1939.
In 1963, Ernest Tubb recorded a cover version for his Rex Griffin tribute album Just Call Me Lonesome. The song was recorded at Bradley's Barn Studio on April 19, 1962, produced by Owen Bradley Tubb, who was influenced by Griffin, had originally learned the song and others by Griffin that he would often perform. Both singers toured together, remaining friend until Griffin's death in 1958. The same year, Willie Nelson recorded the song. Capitol Records released the song as the flipside of the single "Half a Man".
The following year, Jack Greene released his version of the song on the album Ernest Tubb Presents the Texas Troubadours, becoming after its success a solo act. "The Last Letter" was also covered by Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard and Glen Campbell. Ray Price also had a superb cover.
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