You Belong to Me (1952 song)

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"You Belong to Me"
Sung by Sue Thompson in 1952
Song by Sue Thompson
Composer(s) Chilton Price, Pee Wee King, Redd Stewart
Lyricist(s) Chilton Price, Pee Wee King, Redd Stewart
Language English

"You Belong to Me" is a romantic pop music ballad from the 1950s. The singer reminds his or her beloved love interest, soulmate, or sweetheart that whatever exotic locales and sights he/she experiences, "you belong to me" no matter what happens.

Conception and composition[edit]

"You Belong to Me" is credited to three writers: Pee Wee King, Chilton Price and Redd Stewart.

Price, a songwriting librarian at WAVE Radio Louisville, had written the song in its virtual entirety as "Hurry Home to Me" envisioning the song as an American woman's plea to a sweetheart serving overseas in World War II. Afforded songwriting credit on the song mostly in exchange for their work in promoting it, King and Stewart did slightly adjust Price's composition musically and lyrically, shifting the focus from a wartime background "into a kind of universal song about separated lovers" and changing the title to "You Belong to Me." Price had previously had success with another hit which she had written, "Slow Poke," under a similar arrangement with the two men.[1][2]


The first 1952 recording of the song was by Joni James. She had seen the sheet music in the Woods Building in Chicago and the lyrics attracted her. She recorded the song in February, 1952, in Chicago and it was released in March on the local Sharp Records labe as her second single on August 5, 1952, after Jo Stafford, Patti Page and Dean Martin had covered it. James' version also was issued on M-G-M Records for national distribution. The best-known early 1952 version of the song was recorded after James' recording by Sue Thompson on Mercury's country label as catalog number 6407.[3] It was soon covered by Patti Page, whose version was issued by Mercury as catalog number 5899, with "I Went to Your Wedding" (a bigger Patti Page hit, reaching No 1) on the flip side. It entered the Billboard chart on August 22, 1952, and lasted 12 weeks on the chart, peaking at No. 4.[4]

A cover version by Jo Stafford became the most popular version. Issued by Columbia Records as catalog number 39811, it was Stafford's biggest hit, topping the charts in both the United States and the United Kingdom (the first song by a female singer to top the UK Singles Chart).[5] It first entered the US chart on August 1, 1952 and remained there for 24 weeks.[4] In the UK, it appeared in the first ever UK chart of 14 November 1952 (then a top 12) and reached number 1 on 16 January 1953, being only the second record to top such chart,[5] remaining in the chart for a total of 19 weeks.[6] Another cover version, by Dean Martin, released by Capitol Records as catalog number 2165, was also in play at that time. This version first entered the chart on August 29, 1952, and remained on the chart for 10 weeks, reaching No. 12.[4] All the versions were combined in the rankings on the Cash Box charts, and the song reached No. 1 on those charts as well, lasting on the chart for more than half a year.

In 1958, the song crossed over into rock for the first time on the Capitol album Gene Vincent Rocks and the Blue Caps Roll. A later version of the song, by the Duprees, also made the Billboard Top 10, reaching No. 7 in 1962. It was recorded by many other pop vocalists, including Patsy Cline and Bing Crosby. A solo acoustic version was recorded by Bob Dylan for the 1992 album Good as I Been to You but was eventually left off as an out-take, the recording only surfacing two years later in the soundtrack for the 1994 film Natural Born Killers.

A loop of Jo Stafford's introduction was used by Caviar in "The Good Times Are Over" repeatedly throughout the song.

The song has also appeared on many soundtracks. Vonda Shepard's cover was used frequently on the TV series Ally McBeal alongside romantic scenes of Ally McBeal and Billy Thomas. A version by Jason Wade was part of the soundtrack to the 2001 animated film Shrek. Singer Tori Amos also recorded the classic for the Julia Roberts film Mona Lisa Smile in 2003. Actress Rose McGowan sang it on the soundtrack for the Planet Terror segment of the 2007 film Grindhouse. While onscreen, Bette Midler sings a fragment of the song (to Nick Nolte) in the 1986 comedy Down and Out in Beverly Hills.

On February 1, 2007, a short rendition of the song was sung by 64-year-old Sherman Pore as an audition piece for the television show American Idol, as a tribute to his wife who had died from cancer two days before.

Mary Higgins Clark referenced the song throughout her novel of the same name, which was published by Pocket on April 1, 1999.

In the British film The Deep Blue Sea (released 2011), directed by Terence Davies, the drinkers in a London pub perform the song which later modulates into Jo Stafford's version.

The song was also featured in the 2013 video game BioShock Infinite as part of its Burial at Sea story add-on. In the game the song is performed by the lead character Elizabeth and sung by her voice actress, Courtnee Draper; footage of Draper performing the song in the recording studio is shown during the game's end credits.

Annie Lennox recorded a slow, piano-driven version of the song for her 2014 release, "Nostalgia."

Recorded versions[edit]

Joni James 1952, Sue Thompson 1952, Patti Page 1952 #4, Dean Martin 1952 #12, Jo Stafford 1952 #1 (her biggest hit), Gordon MacRae 1952, Bing Crosby 1952, Judy Garland 1952, Ella Fitzgerald 1953,Homer & Jethro (“You Belong To Me #2”) 1953, Pee Wee King 1955, Paul Anka 1957, Gene Vincent 1958, Pat Boone 1959, Patsy Cline 1962, The Duprees 1962 #7, Jerry Lee Lewis 1969, Jim Reeves 1975 (posthumus), Ringo Starr 1981, Johnny Mathis 1989,Bob Dylan 1992, Anne Murray 1993, Michael Buble 2002, Crystal Gale 2003, Rod Stewart 2004

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hall, Wade (1996). Hell-Bent For Music: the life of Pee Wee King. University Press of Kentucky. 
  2. ^ Clooney, Nick (2002-09-27). "To Chilton goes all the credit". The Cincinnati Post. E. W. Scripps Company. Archived from the original on 2005-08-17. 
  3. ^ "MERCURY 6000 series 78rpm numerical listing discography". 2010-11-28. Retrieved 2014-04-02. 
  4. ^ a b c Joni James re-recorded the song in 1960 at Abbey Road Studios in London with a symphony orchestra and a soft rock beat. Whitburn, Joel (1973). Top Pop Records 1940-1955. Record Research. 
  5. ^ a b Rice, Jo & Tim, Gambaccini, Paul and Read, Mike(1982). The Guinness Book of 500 Number One Hits (1st ed.). Enfield, Middlesex: Guinness Superlatives Ltd. p. 7. ISBN 0-85112-250-7
  6. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.