Tune Tuesday: March 26, 1969

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Frankie Laine Image One
Photo Credit: toledoblade.com

Fifty years ago, today, the #1 song on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart was You Gave Me A Mountain by Frankie Laine. Written by singer-songwriter and NASCAR driver Marty Robbins, Laine’s version charted the highest of any performer, including Robbins.

From Wikipedia:

The lyrics to the song detail a series of challenges that the singer has endured in his life, including the death of his mother while giving birth to him, [being] deprived of the love of his father [described as] like time spent in prison “for something that I never done” and, the singer’s wife taking their child and leaving. He describes these setbacks as hills that he has scaled in the past but, then states that “this time, Lord, you gave me a mountain” […]

The original third line of Robbins’ song mentioned that he was “despised and disliked from my father” but, Laine requested that this line be changed to “deprived of the love of my father” when he recorded his version, since Laine’s father had died shortly before the recording took place.

Many other artists recorded the song including Johnny Bush, Don McLean, Eddy Arnold, Ray Price, Jim Nabors and Dean Martin. Elvis Presley included this song in the set for his Aloha From Hawaii concert in 1973.

This was the final Top 40 hit of Laine’s career.


 

Lyrics
Born in the heat of the desert
My mother died givin’ me life
Deprived of the love of a father
Blamed for the loss of his wife

You know, Lord, I’ve been in a prison
For something that I’ve never done
It’s been one hill after another
But I’ve climbed them all, one by one

But this time, Lord, you gave me a mountain
A mountain I may never climb
And is isn’t a hill any longer
You gave me a mountain this time

My woman tired of the hardships
Tired of the grief and the strife
So tired of workin’ for nothin’
Tired of bein’ my wife

She took my one ray of sunshine
She took my pride and my joy
She took my reason for livin’
She took my small baby boy

So this time, Lord, you gave me a mountain
A mountain I may never climb
And is isn’t a hill any longer
You gave me a mountain this time

11 thoughts on “Tune Tuesday: March 26, 1969

    nostaligicitalian said:
    March 27, 2019 at 12:17 am

    One of my favorite Frankie Laine stories, courtesy of The Gaurdian:

    When Mel Brooks was directing Blazing Saddles, his 1974 western send-up, he wanted an over-the-top title song, the kind that Frankie Laine delivered for Gunfight at the OK Corral (1957) and the television series Rawhide. Brooks told everyone that he needed a singer with that authentic Laine quality. Then he had an idea. How about Frankie Laine?

    Well, Frankie wasn’t too keen; he was working in Las Vegas, and Brooks needed the song in a hurry. Anyway, he’d never heard of Mel Brooks. On the other hand, he thought, why turn down work when you never know if anyone’s ever going to offer you anything ever again? This was something he worried about, and not just when he was at the peak of his success. The way he put it was this: “I went up like a rocket and may come down like a cement balloon.” He worked all the time. So he said OK, and gave the song everything he’d got.

    There’s just one detail to be added to the story. Nobody had mentioned that Blazing Saddles was a comedy. Frankie recalled the incident in his 1993 autobiography, That Lucky Old Son: “I thought I was doing a song for another High Noon, and I gave it my best dramatic reading … When I saw wacky things happening on the screen, like a guy punching a horse, I sunk down into my seat with embarrassment.”

      The Hinoeuma responded:
      March 27, 2019 at 1:20 am

      That is a great story! Thank you for sharing that. And, it hasn’t been that long since I posted about Blazing Saddles.

    badfinger20 said:
    March 27, 2019 at 10:34 am

    Written by singer-songwriter and NASCAR driver Marty Robbins? I had no clue he was a NASCAR driver.

    I’ve never heard this one before.

    This song was over the top…perfect for Elvis also. Did he sleep in that damn jumpsuit through the entire 70s?

      The Hinoeuma responded:
      March 27, 2019 at 7:53 pm

      I didn’t know he was a driver either. That was a pleasant surprise.

      I’d never heard the song, either and I was six when it came out. Damn, it’s depressing.

      Elvis and the white jumpsuit. He looks like a life-size dash ornament. SMDH.

    Dayphoto said:
    March 27, 2019 at 10:49 am

    You would never know he was sick unto death when he sung this. Beautiful

      The Hinoeuma responded:
      March 27, 2019 at 7:58 pm

      I’m not sure I follow. This was recorded in 1969 and Laine died in 2007. Elvis sang it, live, in 1973 but, didn’t pass away until 1977.

    bereavedandbeingasingleparent said:
    March 27, 2019 at 5:14 pm

    My parents really like him. This brought back memories.

    floatinggold said:
    March 28, 2019 at 10:05 am

    Elvis turned every song into chill-causing tunes.
    The original is so soothing despite being so tragic.

    JT Twissel said:
    March 28, 2019 at 1:19 pm

    I remember this song. So sad. I also loved his song Mariah.

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