Friday Five: Hank Cochran Songs

Ken Morton, Jr. | August 2nd, 2013

On this date in 1935, one of the most influential songwriters in country music was born: Hank Cochran. Some modern day country music fans might only know him because of Jamey Johnson’s Living for a Song: A Tribute to Hank Cochran, but Cochran had incredible influence and impact on the music landscape. What is your favorite song written by “the other great Hank?”

5. Patsy Cline – “I Fall To Pieces”

The amount of incredible people that touched this song is pretty astounding. Harlan Howard and Hank Cochran wrote it, Jan Howard recorded the demo, Brenda Lee and Roy Drusky both considered recording the song before passing on it, Owen Bradley produced it, The Jordanaires sang backup vocals on it and Patsy… well, she’s just Patsy.

 

4. Eddy Arnold – “Make the World Go Away”

How strong is this song? Ray Price and Eddy Arnold’s versions were hits in 1963 (No. 2) and 1965 (No. 1), respectively.

 

3. George Strait – “The Chair”

One of the amazing parts of Cochran’s career is the time span over which his songs became charted hits–that’s probably not over yet despite Cochran’s death in 2010.

 

2. Burl Ives – “A Little Bitty Tear”

This song earned Grammy nominations for Best Country & Western Recording and Best Male Solo Vocal Performance in 1962.

 

1. Vern Gosdin – “Set ‘em Up Joe”

This late ‘80s hit was a tribute song written for Ernest Tubb.

  1. Ben Foster
    August 2, 2013 at 11:43 am

    Great picks! “I Fall to Pieces” is my favorite.

  2. bob
    August 2, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    I never heard “Set ‘em Up Joe” before. Like Ben, my favorite here is “I Fall to Pieces”.

  3. Barry Mazor
    August 2, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    “She’s Got You” ain’t bad either!

  4. Luckyoldsun
    August 2, 2013 at 3:02 pm

    I’m with Ken.
    While the Patsy Cline songs are more in the vein of “timeless” classics, I just love “Set ‘em Up, Joe” (the Vern–not the Jamey Johnson–version!) The lyrics are sly and really good–and the title and performance have that “One For My Baby and One More For the Road” Frank vibe. And you can’t go wrong with that.

  5. Ken Morton, Jr.
    August 2, 2013 at 4:31 pm

    Barry, if this was a Saturday Six, that would have definitely been included. Lucky, your “Frank vibe” comparison is a good one- and one I hadn’t put together (at least in my head) before.

  6. Luckyoldsun
    August 2, 2013 at 6:21 pm

    Ken,
    Hank had to have been familiar with the lyric
    “It’s a quarter to three,
    There’s no-one in the place except you and me,
    So set-em up, Joe…”

    I think in addition to the open tribute to “ET,” and “Walking the Floor,” Hank was giving a nod to Arlen and Mercer and Sinatra, as well.

  7. Ben Foster
    August 2, 2013 at 6:31 pm

    I forgot that Cochran wrote “She’s Got You” – another favorite of mine. I’ll take it by Patsy or by Loretta – I’m not picky.

    And yes, “Set ‘Em Up Joe” is high on my list as well.

  8. Barry Mazor
    August 2, 2013 at 7:59 pm

    In a later stage, Cochran wrote “Ocean Front Property” too. I expect to get the go-ahead to add his marker to the Mississippi Country Music Trail sometime reasonably soon. It’s where he hailed from.

  9. Luckyoldsun
    August 3, 2013 at 5:49 pm

    “Ocean Front Property” is a great one in the line of country songs with “counterfactual” lyrics.

    Another was Willie’s “I Never Cared For You”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vdV8shVoYPs

    Oh, and here’s Frank with the original “Set ‘Em Up Joe” song–and (supposedly) smoking while singing it!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LJpJoYYGzjM

    And before that, Fred!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FD7sqGJ3NBg

  10. Paul W Dennis
    August 4, 2013 at 2:58 am

    Thanks for the Fred Astaire clip, Lucky

    “Set ‘em Up Joe” is actually a tribute to two Ernest Tubb songs – “Walking The Floor Over You” and “Two Glasses, Joe”

    I really liked “Don’t Touch Me” much more than I like “The Chair”. I’d also have “A-11″ and “Don’t You Ever Get Tired (Of Hurting Me)” on my list of favorites.

    Of course, that’s the genius of great songwriters like Hank Cochran, Dallas Frazier and Harlon Howard – picking out a top five list is an impossible task

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