'Tennessee Waltz' Written by Redd Stewart & Pee Wee King (1948)
by Sharon Stewart
(Elizabeth City, NC US)
Pee Wee King & Redd Stewart
Many country hit songs were created as the result of the writer being inspired by listening to another song. Such was the case in the creation of the country standard, "Tennessee Waltz."
Pee Wee King, was on the road to Nashville, Tennessee with his band vocalist and good friend, Redd Stewart. He and Redd would often ride in the luggage truck together while on the road, so as to be by themselves to concentrate on their songwriting. As they crossed the Texas/Arkansas border in Texarkana, the radio was blaring out Bill Monroe's "Kentucky Waltz," which prompted the two of them into a discussion as to why there had never been a waltz written about the state of Tennessee? Pee Wee and Redd decided that it had probably just been overlooked by the music business folks and that the two of them should do so right away before someone else did! The duo decided to write a set of lyrics to "No Name Waltz," a tune that the band had used as a theme song for several years, but had never taken the time to write lyrics to the melody. So on a late Friday night in 1946, while crossing the Texas/Arkansas border, Pee Wee King and Redd Stewart wrote the lyrics to what would become one of country music's most popular tunes - "The Tennessee Waltz."
The RCA single of "The Tennessee Waltz" made the country charts on April 3, 1948 and peaked at number 3. It was on the charts for 35 weeks. The record also scored a number 30 on the pop music charts. Cowboy Copas also scored a number 3 hit on the song that same year, while Roy Acuff's version made it to number 12. Patti Page's 1951 version of the tune topped out at number 2, while Pee Wee re-recorded the song, which made it to number 6. Lacy J. Dalton recorded it in 1980 and took it to number 18.
In 1965, Tennessee Waltz became the fourth official song of the state. It was adopted by Senate Joint Resolution 9 of the 84th General Assembly.
The Simple Lyrics That Stand The Test Of Time: Listen to Song (Vocals -Redd Stewart)
I was waltzing with my darlin' to the Tennessee Waltz
When an old friend I happened to see
I Introduced him to my loved one and while they were waltzing
My friend stole my sweetheart from me
I remember the night and the Tennessee Waltz
Now I know just how much I have lost
Yes I lost my little darlin' the night they were playing
The beautiful Tennessee Waltz