Tennessee Ernie Ford – Sixteen Tons

Travis first recorded the song on August 8, 1946. The best known version was recorded in 1955 by Tennessee Ernie Ford reached number one in the Billboard charts.

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Tennessee Ernie Ford - Sixteen Tons
Single merle travis Capitol 1947
Tennessee Ernie Ford – Sixteen Tons, is a song written by Merle Travis about a coal miner, based on life in the mines of Muhlenberg County, Kentucky. Travis first recorded the song at the Radio Recorders Studio B in Hollywood, California, on August 8, 1946. Cliffie Stone played bass on the recording. It was first released in July 1947 by Capitol on Travis’s album Folk Songs of the Hills. The song became a gold record.
The line “You load sixteen tons and what do you get? Another day older and deeper in debt” came from a letter written by Travis’s brother John. Another line came from their father, a coal miner, who would say: “I can’t afford to die. I owe my soul to the company store.”

Merle Travis – Sixteen Tons




The best known version was recorded in 1955 by American singer Tennessee Ernie Ford reached number one in the Billboard charts, while another version, by Frankie Laine in 1956, was released only in Western Europe, where it gave Ford’s version competition.
On March 25, 2015, Ford’s version of the song was inducted into the Library of Congress’s National Recording Registry.
Tennessee Ernie Ford - Sixteen Tons
Cover LP Tennessee Ernie Ford Capitol 1957
Tennessee Ernie Ford – Sixteen Tons
From the album Ford Favorites
A-side “You Don’t Have to Be a Baby to Cry”
Released October 1955
Recorded 1955
Genre Country, traditional pop
Length 2:34
Label Capitol
Songwriter(s) Merle Travis
Producer(s) Jack Fascinato

COUNTRYPEDIA





Tennessee Ernie Ford – Sixteen Tons lyrics

[Verse 1]
Some people say a man is made out of mud
A poor man’s made out of muscle and blood
Muscle and blood and skin and bones
A mind that’s weak and a back that’s strong
[Chorus]
You load sixteen tons, what do you get?
Another day older and deeper in debt
Saint Peter don’t you call me, ’cause I can’t go
I owe my soul to the company store
[Verse 2]
I was born one morning when the sun didn’t shine
I picked up my shovel and I walked to the mine
I loaded sixteen tons of number 9 coal
And the straw boss said, “Well-a bless my soul!”
[Chorus]
You load sixteen tons, what do you get?
Another day older and deeper in debt
Saint Peter don’t you call me, ’cause I can’t go
I owe my soul to the company store
[Verse 3]
I was born one morning, it was drizzlin’ rain
Fightin’ and trouble are my middle name
I was raised in the canebrake by an old mama lion
Can’t no high-toned woman make me walk the line
[Chorus]
You load sixteen tons, what do you get?
Another day older and deeper in debt
Saint Peter don’t you call me, ’cause I can’t go
I owe my soul to the company store
[Verse 4]
If you see me comin’ better step aside
A lot of men didn’t, a lot of men died
One fist of iron, the other of steel
If the right one don’t getcha then the left one will
[Chorus]
You load sixteen tons, what do you get?
Another day older and deeper in debt
Saint Peter don’t you call me, ’cause I can’t go
I owe my soul to the company store

GENIUS




Tennessee Ernie Ford - Sixteen Tons
Single Tennessee Ernie Ford Capitol 1955
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