Tennessee's State Song

February 17, 1965
"Tennessee Waltz" is declared Tennessee's official state song in a resolution signed by governor Frank Clement -

(written by Redd Stewart & Pee Wee King)

Lyrics:
I was waltzing with my darlin' to the Tennessee Waltz 
When an old friend I happened to see 
I introduced her to my loved one and while they were dancin' 
My friend stole my sweetheart from me 

I remember that night and the Tennessee Waltz 
Only you know just how much I have lost 
Yes I lost my little darlin' the night they were playin' 
That beautiful Tennessee Waltz 

I remember that night and the Tennessee Waltz 
Only you know just how much I have lost 
Yes I lost my little darlin' the night they were playin' 
That beautiful Tennessee Waltz

 

Take A Listen

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Cigar News: Crowned Heads Tennessee Waltz and Yellow Rose to be Offered Nationwide to Retailers for 24 Hour Window 

On November 1st, two of Crowned Heads most critically acclaimed and popular regional releases will be available nationwide
for a 24-hour window. Today the company announced that the Tennessee Waltz and Yellow Rose, exclusive regional releases
to Tennessee and Texas retailers respectively, will be offered for one day only nationwide for retailers to order. The promotion is
being dubbed by Crowned Heads as  “Lawless Day."

Lawless Day was inspired by the 2013 film, “The Purge,” where all illegal acts are de-criminalized for a 12-hour period. 

“Waltz and Rose have consistently been two of our most sought-after cigars since their introductions,” said Crowned Heads
Co-Owner/Founder, Jon Huber. “We wanted to use ‘Lawless Day’ as a day in which we not only could shine a light on these two
great cigars, but also, further promote their availability via the Tennessee and Texas retailers that support these brands
throughout the year, as most also mail order these cigars to states outside of their own. I’ve heard from people who’ve enjoyed
both Waltz and Rose ranging from everywhere from Hawaii to New York to even Australia and Italy. Our hope is that if someone

enjoys these cigars as a result of ‘Lawless Day,’ that they will then contact participating retailers in Tennessee and Texas going
forward, as well.” 

The Tennessee Waltz was introduced in 2014 as an exclusive release for the Tennessee market. The cigar is available in a single vitola (5 1/2 x 52). Produced at the My Father Cigars factory, the cigar features a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper over Nicaraguan binder and filler. 

Yellow Rose followed Tennessee Waltz in 2015. This cigar is a 6 1/4 x 54 box-pressed torpedo. It also is produced at the My Father Cigars factory and features a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper over Nicaraguan binder and filler. The November 1st Lawless Day offering marks the first time Tennessee Waltz and Yellow Rose will be offered nationally by Crowned Heads.

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Keep on Dancing - Local Woman's Wish to Waltz Granted for 104th Birthday 

Gladys Shope, 104, formerly of Clearfield, dances a waltz with Carl Condon, 80, of Curwensville on Wednesday

afternoon at Marion Manor Senior Living in Curwensville. Shope’s birthday was on Monday, and her only birthday wish

was to dance a waltz, which Condon was happy to grant.

Photo by Mitchell Ross 
CURWENSVILLE — After more than a century of birthdays, Gladys Shope has pretty much seen it all. Earlier this
week, she made a special birthday wish to make this year’s celebration just as memorable as the rest. 

On Monday, Nov. 20, Shope celebrated her milestone 104th birthday. Shope grew up in Clearfield, but it now a
resident at Marion Manor Senior Living in Curwensville. 

The Marion Manor staff asked Shope what she wanted for her birthday this year. Maybe some flowers or some balloons, they suggested. Shope, however, had a special request in mind — to dance a waltz. Marion Manor Administrator Bev Burkett immediately began the search to find Shope a dance partner.  “That’s the only thing she said, so we went with it,” Burkett said. 

Burkett made a few phone calls and soon found someone to assist with this gift. Burkett asked her friend, Carl Condon of Curwensville, to do the honors. “It’s not something most men can do nowadays,” Burkett noted. The 80-year-old Condon said it was his pleasure to be the “official designated dancer.” He added that his wife gave him permission to dance as long as it was an older woman. 

Condon provided the music for the dance and came to Marion Manor on Wednesday afternoon for the special occasion. His selection for the birthday dance was “Tennessee Waltz” by Patti Page. “To think someone could think of that,” Condon remarked. “(It’s great) to fulfill that desire she had.” 

Condon and Shope danced for about two minutes before Shope asked to be seated. In addition to the special waltz, the staff and residents of Marion Manor helped her celebrate and shared the more traditional items of cake, flowers, and balloons. Burkett said it is the moments like the one she saw the 104-year-old Shope dancing that helps her realize why she is in the field she is. 

“That’s the reason I became an administrator here,” Burkett said. “To help make their later years more pleasant and the best they can be.”  As for Condon, he told Shope he would be back again next November for another dance. “If you want to dance again, let me know,”
Condon smiled. “I can do everything, but polka.”

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Great Story From Mel Tillis 

I met Pee Wee King and Redd years ago in 1957. I was working fairs with Minnie Pearl. We were arriving at a little country fair

somewhere in Iowa, as Redd & Pee Wee were leaving. We stopped and got out of our car, and they did the same. Minnie
introduced me to them and Pee Wee introduced us to some girl who was in their show. She was 7 foot tall! 

Pee Wee had two 50 lb. sacks of potatoes (someone at the fair had given him) on each front fender of his car. I'll never forget
that! We became real good friends over the years. I'd see them both quite often at the CMA and Disc Jockey Conventions. I 
loved their music, as well as their songwriting.  


Keep the Faith,  
Mel Tillis, Country Music Legend

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'Tennessee Waltz' - Elvis Presley
Tennessee Waltz - Elvis Presley 

From the Album Platinum - A Life In Music 
August 4, 2008 

Click For More Information

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'Tennessee Waltz' - Mister Vernon 

Mister Vernon died last night. He went easy. You never met him, but you knew him. He was every white-haired man you’ve ever seen. He spoke with a drawl. He talked about the old days. He was opinionated. He was American. Lonely. Miss Charyl, his caregiver, did CPR. She compressed his chest so hard his sternum cracked. She was sobbing when the EMT’s took him. Caregiving is Charyl’s second job. She’s been working nights at Mister Vernon’s for a while. She arrived at his mobile-home one sunny day. Mister Vernon was fussy, cranky. A twenty-four carat heart. 

She listened to his stories—since nobody else would. He had millions.

He talked about creeks, mud cats, frog gigging, bush hooks, and running barefoot through pinestraw and Cahaba lilies. 

And he talked about Marilyn. Marilyn was the center of his life once. His companion. But she was not long for this world. 

He talked politics, too. Charyl and he disagreed. Mister Vernon would holler his opinions loud enough to make the walls bow. 

He was a man of his time. An oil-rig worker, a logger, a breadwinner, a roughneck. He helped build a country. And a family. 

Each day, he’d thumb through a collection of old photos. His favorite: the woman with the warm smile. 

Marilyn. The woman who’d helped him make his family. Who’d turned his kids into adults. Adults who had successful lives and
successful families. They live in successful cities, they do successful things. 

“He sure missed his kids,” says Charyl. “They hardly came to see him. They were so busy.” 

Busy. 

Last night, Vernon asked Charyl for a country supper. She lit the stove and tore up the kitchen. She cooked chicken-fried steak, creamed potatoes, string beans, milk gravy. “Marilyn used to make milk gravy,” he remarked. She served him peach cobbler. Handmade. The kind found at Baptist covered-dish suppers. “Marilyn used to make peach cobbler,” he said. 

After supper, he shuffled to his easy chair. He watched the news with the volume blasting. He got tired. He shut off the television. “I’m going to bed,” he said. Charyl helped him into cotton pajamas. She washed his face. She laid him in bed. She tucked the corners of the quilt beneath his shoulders. 

“Sing to me,” said Mister Vernon. “Sing?” “I wanna hear a song.” 

“Dunno what to sing, Mister Vern.” “How ‘bout the ‘Tennessee Waltz?’” Charyl cleared her throat. She sang from memory. Eyes shut. It was more than a melody. It was the favorite song of a man with busy kids. It was his song. His era. It was girls in faded floral-print. Men in boots. A generation of dirty hands, cutting timber, pigging pipes, and striking arcs. 

When she finished, Vernon’s eyes were closed. She kissed his forehead. He was cold. “I love you, Vernon,” she whispered. He breathed a sigh. His chest rose and fell just once. Marilyn was waiting at the gate. Vernon might be the most average elderly man anyone’s ever heard of. But America will not be the same without him. Neither will his successful kids.

Sean Dietrich 
APRIL 24, 2017

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Family Remembers Man Who Wrote "Tennessee Waltz" 

CLINTON - For the Stewart family, the Museum of Appalachia's Fall Homecoming is about much more than the music. 

"We started out coming as musicians but 31 years later, this is a family reunion,” said Kent Stewart. "And the food's not
bad either!" said his father Billy. 

The Stewart's have musical ties with Tennessee dating back to 1946 when Billy's brother Redd wrote the “Tennessee Waltz.”

"Anytime he'd write a new song, he would have me come and listen. 'Come here sis' - he always called me sis,” said
Lydia Morrow, Redd’s daughter. “And of course I’d always tell him they were wonderful even thought I was at the age I was
into rock ‘n roll full time." Morrow said “Tennessee Waltz” is not her favorite of her father’s songs. She prefers “You Belong to Me” and “Levi Lady,” which he wrote for her. She remembers how much Redd traveled touring with Pee Wee King and the Golden West Cowboys. "He always told me, being gone all the time, that he was with me all the time right in my heart," she said. 


It was on one of those road trips when Tennessee's state song came to life. "Pee Wee told Redd, 'You know you claim to be a songwriter but you've never written a song about your home state, Tennessee!' And Redd said, 'Well, there's no time like the present!'” said Billy. "Now, Redd smoked cigars and he kept a big box of matches … and he got his pen out and he couldn't think of anything to write on so he took the box, dumped the matches out, tore the cover open and in about 20 minutes, he wrote a song that was called the Tennessee Waltz,” he said. 

The song made it into a recording session with the Golden West Cowboys but did not become a hit until a 1950s recording by Patti Page sent it to the top of the charts. At one point, it was the highest selling song in Japan. It became the Tennessee state song in 1965. Redd's many performances of the song started on the highway and ended with a trip back to the Museum of Appalachia. "The very last time he sang the Tennessee Waltz was here on the main stage at the museum," said Kent. 

 

Redd Stewart died in 2003. Redd and his family live on through an exhibit in the museum. After all these years of playing at the Fall Homecoming, Redd’s nephew Mark Stewart says he and the rest of the family feel the museum is as much a part of them as they are of it. "I got a feeling they'll just mount us and put us in there somewhere,” he said.

Author: Daniel Sechtin 
Published: October 10, 2016

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