Every Day I Have the Blues
"Every Day I Have the Blues" is a blues song that has been performed in a variety of styles. An early version of the song is attributed to Pinetop Sparks and his brother Milton.[a] It was first performed in the taverns of St. Louis by the Sparks brothers and was recorded July 28, 1935 by Pinetop with Henry Townsend on guitar. The song is a twelve-bar blues that features Pinetop's piano and falsetto vocal. The opening verse includes the line "Every day, every day I have the blues."
|"Every Day I Have the Blues"|
|Single by Pine Top a.k.a. Pinetop Sparks|
|Format||10-inch 78 rpm record|
|Recorded||July 28, 1935, Chicago, Illinois|
After a reworking of the song by Memphis Slim in 1949, it became a blues standard with renditions recorded by numerous artists. Four different versions of "Every Day I Have the Blues" have reached the Top Ten of the Billboard R&B chart and two—one by the Count Basie Orchestra with Joe Williams and one by B.B. King—have received Grammy Hall of Fame Awards. In 2019, it was inducted into the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame as a "Classic of Blues Recording".
In 1949, Memphis Slim recorded the reworked song as "Nobody Loves Me". Although he used the Sparks brothers' opening verse, he rewrote the remainder of the lyrics, and sang the melody in a normal vocal range:
Nobody loves me, nobody seems to care (2×)
Speaking of bad luck people, you know I've had my share
"Nobody Love Me" was released as the B-side to Memphis Slim's "Angel Child" single. Although "Angel Child" became a hit (number six Billboard R&B chart), "Nobody Loves Me" did not enter the charts. However, when Lowell Fulson with Lloyd Glenn adapted Memphis Slim's arrangement, but used Sparks' earlier title, it became a hit and spent twenty-three weeks in the R&B chart, reaching number three in 1950. Fulson's "slow grooving" version, with sax and guitar solos, influenced B.B. King's later rendition of the song.
Jazz singer Joe Williams had hits with two different recordings of the song. The first version, recorded with the King Kolax Orchestra in 1952, reached number eight in the R&B chart (Checker 762). In 1955 in New York, he recorded a second and perhaps the most famous version of the song with the Count Basie Orchestra, titled "Every Day". It featured a big-band arrangement and spent twenty weeks in the R&B chart, reaching number two. Despite Sparks' earlier song, most versions of "Every Day I Have the Blues" are credited to Memphis Slim (to his real name, John Chatman, or to his pseudonym, Peter Chatman). Because of their success, Memphis Slim's composer royalties from the later hits by other artists "were sufficient to buy a Rolls Royce with which to squire himself around Paris," according to writer Colin Escott.
B.B. King versionsEdit
Also in 1955, B.B. King recorded "Every Day I Have the Blues". King attributed the song's appeal to arranger Maxwell Davis: "He [Davis] wrote a chart of 'Every Day I Have the Blues' with a crisp and relaxed sound I'd never heard before. I liked it so well, I made it my theme ... Maxwell Davis didn't write majestically he wrote naturally, which was my bag. He created an atmosphere that let me relax." The song was recorded at Capitol Records' old studio on Melrose Avenue in Hollywood which, according to RPM Records part-owner Joe Bihari, had "a better sound" than the new studio in the company's new tower. Bihari commented on a technique which bypassed the then normal method of 'micing' an instrumentalist's amplifier: "We jacked B.B.'s guitar straight into the board, so it sounded a little different."
The song reached number eight in the R&B chart and became an important piece in King's repertoire. It appears on several King albums, including his first album Singin' the Blues, the live albums Live at the Regal and Live in Cook County Jail, as well as various compilation albums.
Recognition and influenceEdit
"Every Day I Have the Blues" received two Grammy Hall of Fame Awards: Count Basie with Joe Williams' 1955 version "Every Day (I Have the Blues)" in 1992; and B.B. King's 1955 version "Every Day I Have the Blues" in 2004. Subsequently, a variety of artists have recorded the song. In 2019, the Blues Foundation inducted "Every Day I Have the Blues" into the Blues Hall of Fame as a "Classic of Blues Recording". The induction statement includes:
"Everyday I Have the Blues" is one of the most ubiquitous of all blues songs, a required number in the repertoires of the countless bar and lounge bands of many genres. Its late entry into the Blues Hall of Fame reflects the fact that no strong consensus emerged as to which of the hundreds of recorded versions was most deserving. But it often is associated with B.B. King, and so the first of his own many versions gets the honors.
- Milton Sparks is also known as Marion Sparks.
- Hall 2006, p. 917.
- Rothwell 2001, p. 158.
- Danchin 1998, p. 38.
- Sullivan 2013, p. 385.
- Herzhaft 1992, p. 447.
- Whitburn 1988, p. 286.
- Whitburn 1988, p. 161.
- McGhee 2005, p. 84.
- Whitburn 1988, p. 445.
- Whitburn 1988, p. 36.
- Escott 2002, p. 41.
- McGhee 2005, p. 83.
- Whitburn 1988, p. 239.
- "Grammy Hall of Fame Awards – Past Recipients". Grammy.org. 2004. Retrieved April 10, 2011.
- "Memphis Slim: Everyday I Have the Blues – Also Performed By". AllMusic. Retrieved August 3, 2018.
- Blues Foundation. "2019 Hall of Fame Inductees: "Everyday I Have The Blues" – B.B. King (RPM, 1954)". The Blues Foundation. Retrieved May 8, 2019.
- Danchin, Sebastian (1998). Blues Boy: The Life and Music of B.B. King. Jackson, Mississippi: University Press of Mississippi. ISBN 978-1578060177.
- Hall, Bob (2006). "Sparks Brothers". In Komara, Edward (ed.). Encyclopedia of the Blues. New York City: Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-92699-7.
- Herzhaft, Gerard (1992). "Every Day I Have the Blues". Encyclopedia of the Blues. Fayetteville, Arkansas: University of Arkansas Press. ISBN 1-55728-252-8.
- Sullivan, Steve (2013). "Every Day I Have the Blues". Encyclopedia of Great Popular Song Recordings, Volume 2. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 978-0810882959.
- McGee, David (2005). B.B. King: There Is Always One More Time. Backbeat Books. ISBN 978-0-87930-843-8.
- Rothwell, Fred (2001). Long Distance Information: Chuck Berry's Recorded Legacy. Music Mentor. ISBN 978-0951988824.
- Whitburn, Joel (1988). Top R&B Singles 1942–1988. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research. ISBN 0-89820-068-7.
- Escott, Colin (2002). B.B. King: The Vintage Years (Box set booklet). B.B. King. Ace Records. Ace ABOXCD 8.