Ernest Tubb

Induction Year: 1970

Birth Name: Ernest Dale Tubb

Birth Date: 02-09-1914

Place of Birth: Crisp, Texas

Death Date: 09-06-1984

Place of Death: Nashville, Tennessee

One of the central characters in country music's story, Ernest Tubb was a pioneer not only as a deep-voiced, drawling troubadour but also as the writer of classic songs including "Soldier's Last Letter," "It's Been So Long, Darling" and his calling card, "Walking the Floor Over You."

Tubb grew up on a cotton farm near Crisp, Texas. The youngest of five children in a sharecropping family, he gravitated toward music, intrigued by movie cowboys and by the great Jimmie Rodgers. He developed a style that was similar to Rodgers', as a teenaged Tubb yodeled and played bluesy guitar runs. Tubb eventually became friends with Rodgers' widow, Carrie, who helped him to secure a recording contract with Jimmie Rodgers' label, RCA Victor. He would likely have spent a career as a Rodgers retread had it not been for a tonsillectomy in 1939 that turned his high-flying yodel into a muffler-like rumble. Unable to sing like Rodgers anymore, he was forced to develop his own style, and that style led him to stardom.

The popularity of Tubb's early singles isn't reflected in the charts, because there was no Billboard chart devoted to country music until a few years into Tubb's career. Thus "Walking the Floor Over You" appears in history books not as a multi-week country #1 but as a modest, #23 pop success. The song's appeal was immense, though, with Tubb's lyrics about lovelorn sleeplessness set against a propulsive backdrop that featured the then-new electric guitar.

"Walking the Floor Over You" was an innovation that helped establish a honky-tonk tradition, and Tubb would spend more than 40 years singing it at every opportunity. In the late 1980s, Vern Gosdin would score a #1 country hit with a Tubb tribute written by Gosdin, Dean Dillon, Hank Cochran and Buddy Cannon. In that song, a bar patron scalded by love advises his bartender: "Set 'em up Joe, and play 'Walking the Floor.'"

In the 1940s, Tubb was a tireless and prolific songwriter, constantly sketching notes on the road, then returning home to polish his ideas. By the mid-1950s, he was more reliant on others' material, and he spent decades as an interpreter rather than a musical creator. But his remarkable run of creativity in the 1940s and early 1950s established a template for hard-driving, honest country songs.

"(When You Feel Like You're in Love) Don't Just Stand There"

(written with Jack Henley)

Carl Smith1952 #1 country

"Blue-Eyed Elaine"

Ernest Tubb1940 

"Don't Look Now (But Your Broken Heart Is Showing)"

Ernest Tubb1947 #4 country

"Forever Is Ending Today"

(written with Johnny Bond, Ike Cargill)

Ernest Tubb1947 #5 country

"I Ain't Goin' Honky Tonkin' Anymore"

Ernest Tubb1941 

"I Wonder Why You Said Goodbye"

Ernest Tubb1940 

"I'll Always Be Glad to Take You Back"

Ernest Tubb1941 
Merle Haggard1980 

"I'll Get Along Somehow"

Ernest Tubb1940 

"I'll Never Cry Over You"

Ernest Tubb1940 

"It's Been So Long, Darling"

Ernest Tubb1945 #1 country

"Let's Say Goodbye Like We Said Hello (In a Friendly Kind of Way)"

(written with Jimmie Skinner)

Ernest Tubb1948 #5 country

"Letters Have No Arms"

(written with Arbie Gibson)

Ernest Tubb1950 #2 country
George Hamilton IV1965 

"Our Baby's Book"

Ernest Tubb1941 

"Seaman's Blues"

(written with Billy Talmadge Tubb)

Ernest Tubb1948 #5 country

"Soldier's Last Letter"

(written with Redd Stewart)

Ernest Tubb1944 #1 country, #16 pop
Merle Haggard1971 #3 country, #90 pop

"Throw Your Love My Way"

(written with Loys Southerland)

Ernest Tubb1950 #3 country

"Tomorrow Never Comes"

(written with Johnny Bond)

Ernest Tubb1945 #3 country
B. J. Thomas1966 #80 pop
Slim Whitman1970 #27 country
Elvis Presley1970 

"Try Me One More Time"

Ernest Tubb1942 

"Walking the Floor Over You"

Ernest Tubb1941 #23 pop
Georgia Gibbs1957 
Pat Boone1960 #44 pop
George Hamilton IV1965 #18 country
Ernest Tubb with Merle Haggard, Chet Atkins, Charlie Daniels1979 #31 country

"You Nearly Lose Your Mind"

Ernest Tubb1948 #15 country
George Hamilton IV1965 

Ernest Tubb

Induction Year: 1970