The song was written by Melvin Endsley, and first recorded by Marty Robbins in 1956. The best-known version was released later that year by Guy Mitchell; it spent ten weeks at number one on the US Billboard Hot 100. Mitchell’s recording also topped the UK singles chart for three non-consecutive weeks in early 1957.
Other versions released in that time included recordings by Tommy Steele and Marty Robbins. Steele’s rendition topped the UK singles chart for one week in January 1957.
To me it’s Guy Mitchell and Tommy Steele, even though there’s been a more recent hit. It’s a very simple song to do, one of the ones I’d sing to the kids.
I recently met Jonathan Routh when I was on holiday in Jamaica – he used to be the Candid Camera man – and he paints now, lives in a place without electricity, and he takes in all the local kids, like an orphanage. We were sitting around his kitchen table and I was tuning his cook’s guitar, so – being left-handed – I turned it upside down. You have to play simple songs if it’s upside down, and I started playing ‘Singing The Blues’ and Jonathan said to all the little kids, ‘Now you listen to this! This is a good one!’, because it excited him from the Tommy Steele period. That really pleased me. I thought, yes, this is an important song in our lives.
Club Sandwich, Summer 1991