Heartaches (song)

"Heartaches" is a popular song with music by Al Hoffman and lyrics by John Klenner. The song was published in 1931, was placed on all of the record labels of the time (Victor, Columbia, Brunswick and the many dime store labels), but it was not a particularly big hit at the time.[citation needed] The song became popular in 2021 due to its sampling in The Caretaker's album Everywhere at the End of Time.

Composer(s)Al Hoffman
Lyricist(s)John Klenner

Ted Weems versionEdit

The biggest recorded version of the song was by the Ted Weems Orchestra, with Elmo Tanner whistling.[1] The recording was made in 1933 on Bluebird B-5131 (in a novelty fast rhumba tempo) to low record sales. Weems dissolved his band in early 1942 after leaving to fight in World War II.

In early 1947, Kurt Webster, a disc jockey on WBT in Charlotte, North Carolina, a 50,000-watt station that reached across the East Coast, played Weems' version of "Heartaches". Webster enjoyed the tune and it entered his regular rotation, leading to listeners frequently requesting it and "Heartaches" gaining national attention and Weems reviving his band briefly to capitalize on the record's success.[2]

The 1933 recording was jointly released by RCA Victor Records as catalog number 20-2175 and Weems' 1938 re-recording on Decca Records as catalog number 25017. The Victor version first reached the Billboard magazine Best Seller chart on February 21, 1947 and lasted 16 weeks on the chart, peaking at number 1.[3]

Harry James versionEdit

The recording by Harry James was released by Columbia Records as catalog number 37305. It first reached the Billboard magazine Best Seller chart on April 18, 1947 and lasted 3 weeks on the chart, peaking at number 8.[3] This was his last charting hit.

The Marcels versionEdit

A radically altered arrangement of "Heartaches" also became popular in 1961 as a version by The Marcels was released as a followup to their US hit "Blue Moon". Although the Marcels' "Heartaches" single failed to match the number 1 position on the US singles charts achieved by "Blue Moon",[4] "Heartaches" reached the Top 10, peaking at number 7, as well as number 19 on the Hot R&B Sides chart.[5] In addition to a vocal hook similar to that of "Blue Moon", the Marcels added to the introduction of the recording of "Heartaches" the group saying, then singing, "Watch out! Here we go again...". Eventually, this version sold over one million copies worldwide. The Marcels version is sampled in the 2016 Lonely Island song "I'm So Humble," featuring Adam Levine. This version appeared in the movie Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping.

Allan Sherman parodyEdit

In 1963, Allan Sherman produced a parody version titled "Headaches," a commentary on television aspirin commercials. In the middle of the whistled part, a kid named Tom Greenleigh shrieks, "Mommy, can't you keep Daddy's car out of the driveway?!" At the end of the song, Sherman solved his headache problems by eating his television set.

The Caretaker versionEdit

In 2016, English electronic musician Leyland James Kirby, also known as the Caretaker, sampled the Al Bowlly, Seger Ellis, and Guy Lombardo covers of "Heartaches" for his final project, Everywhere at the End of Time; all three are used multiple times in the project, with each subsequent appearance becoming more distorted and disfigured than the last, representing the gradual distortion and destruction of memory and other mental faculties brought about by dementia. The complete edition of the project has achieved greater popularity in October 2020 on TikTok as an online challenge, receiving notability from renowned publications such as The New York Times.[6][7][8]

Notable cover versionsEdit


  1. ^ Helgesen, Ray (22 June 1947). "Miracle Mystery of "Heartaches"". The Milwaukee Sentinel. Retrieved 13 April 2011.
  2. ^ Gilliland, John. (2020-03-23). "Pop Chronicles 1940s Program #17 - All Tracks UNT Digital Library". Digital.library.unt.edu. Retrieved 2021-01-19.
  3. ^ a b Whitburn, Joel (1973). Top Pop Records 1940-1955. Record Research.
  4. ^ Bronson, Fred (2003). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits: The Inside Story Behind Every Number One Single on Billboard's Hot 100 from 1955 to the Present (5 ed.). Billboard Books. p. 87. ISBN 0-8230-7677-6.
  5. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 376.
  6. ^ Marcus, Ezra (October 23, 2020). "Why Are TikTok Teens Listening to an Album About Dementia?". The New York Times. Retrieved February 25, 2021.
  7. ^ Garvey, Meaghan (October 22, 2020). "What Happens When TikTok Looks To The Avant-Garde For A Challenge?". NPR. Retrieved February 25, 2021.
  8. ^ Earp, Joseph (October 17, 2020). "How An Obscure Six-Hour Ambient Record Is Terrifying A New Generation On TikTok". Junkee. Retrieved February 25, 2021.
  9. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2013). Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles, 14th Edition: 1955-2012. Record Research. p. 175.
  10. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2013). Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles, 14th Edition: 1955-2012. Record Research. p. 175.