Sixteen Tons

Sixteen Tons by Tennessee Ernie Ford was a UK number 1 hit on Friday, January 20, 1956 spending 4 week(s) at the top of the UK charts. This was written in 1947 by the Country & Western guitarist and songwriter Merle Travis. It is based on the experiences of his coal-mining family. His brother, John Travis, wrote him a letter about the death of Ernie Pyle, a war correspondent who had just been killed covering combat. John likened Pyle's job to that of a coal miner, writing: "It's like working in the coal mines. You load 16 tons and what do you get? Another day older and deeper in debt." Merle incorporated his brother's words into the chorus. General Electric used this in a commercial television advertisement campaign. Before he recorded the song, Ford sang it on his TV show and was flooded with more than 1,200 requests to sing it again. Ford's version was used on the TV shows The Simpsons, Mad Men, and Chuck. The Platters' cover was featured on The Blacklist, and The Nighthawks' rendition was used on The Wire. Jim Parsons also sang it on The Big Bang Theory in the 2009 episode "The Work Song Nanocluster."

Sixteen Tons FAQs

Who sang Sixteen Tons?

Sixteen Tons was performed by Tennessee Ernie Ford

What year did Sixteen Tons get to the UK number 1 spot?

Sixteen Tons first became a UK number 1 on Friday, January 20, 1956

How long was Sixteen Tons at number 1 in the UK?

Sixteen Tons spent 4 week(s) at number 1 in the UK.