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Sixteen Tons

Music by Merle Travis

"Sixteen Tons" is a song about a coal miner, based on life in coal mines in Muhlenberg County, Kentucky.[1] It was written and first recorded by Merle Travis at the Radio Recorders Studio B in Hollywood, California on August 8, 1946. Cliffie Stone played bass on the recording.[2] It was first released by Capitol on the album Folk Songs of the Hills (July 1947 The song became a gold record. The line, "You load sixteen tons and what do you get? Another day older and deeper in debt," came from a letter written by Travis' brother John. Another line came from their father, a coal miner, who would say, "I can't afford to die. I owe my soul to the company store. A 1955 version recorded by Tennessee Ernie Ford reached number one in the Billboard charts,[5] while another version by Frankie Laine was released only in Western Europe, where it gave Ford's version competition. On March 25, 2015, Ford's version of the song was inducted into the Library of Congress's National Recording Registry

    Release Date: 1946


Sixteen Tons

Sixteen Tons

Hi-Lo's

The Hi-Lo's give the classic 'Sixteen Tons' their treatment on a Julie London TV show



Songbooks, Arrangements and/or Media

Displaying 1-2 of 2 items.


Forever Plaid : Forever Plaid Songbook : Solo : 01 Songbook : 723188619313  : 00-VF1931

Forever Plaid : Forever Plaid Songbook

Twelve songs from the hit stage production of the same name.

Songlist: Three Coins in the Fountain, Undecided, Moments to Remember, Crazy 'Bout Ya, Baby, No, Not Much!, Cry, Sixteen Tons, Catch a Falling Star , Heart and Soul, Shangri-La, Rags to Riches, Love Is a Many Splendored Thing

More details
Voicing: Solo | 2818b | Songbook | $12.95 | PVG


Various Arrangers : The Great American Songbook - Country : Solo : Songbook : 884088862480 : 1476875499 : 00110386

Various Arrangers : The Great American Songbook - Country

This essential compendium of country tunes includes: Abilene - Always on My Mind - Are You Lonesome Tonight? - Blue Bayou - Breathe - Butterfly Kisses - Can the Circle Be Unbroken - Cold, Cold Heart - Desperado - The Devil Went Down to Georgia - Flowers on the Wall - For the Good Times - Galveston - The Gambler - God Bless the U.S.A. - I Swear - Jolene - The Keeper of the Stars - On the Road Again - Rocky Top - Smoky Mountain Rain - Stand by Your Man - When Will I Be Loved - You Don't Know Me - Your Cheatin' Heart - and scores more! 400 pages of music!

Songlist: I Saw The Light, Abilene, Achy Breaky Heart (Don't Tell My Heart), Act Naturally, I Swear, Teddy Bear, The Keeper Of The Stars, Can The Circle Be Unbroken (Will The Circle Be Unbroken), On The Road Again, All My Ex's Live In Texas, Butterfly Kisses, Through The Years, All The Gold In California, Stand By Me, Breathe, Always On My Mind, You're Still The One, I Am A Man Of Constant Sorrow, Annie's Song, Are You Lonesome Tonight?, Games People Play, You Decorated My Life, Big Bad John, Blue Bayou, Blue Moon Of Kentucky, Bonaparte's Retreat, Jolene, Bye Bye Love, You Don't Know Me, Can't Help Falling In Love, and more

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Voicing: Solo | 2558b | Songbook | $24.95 | PVG


Individual Folios

Displaying 1-3 of 3 items.


Sixteen Tons : SATB : Kirby Shaw : Merle Travis : Songbook : 00-41893 : 038081469737

Kirby Shaw : Sixteen Tons

It's been performed by Elvis, Stevie Wonder, and a host of others, but it was the Tennessee Ernie Ford recording that brought this song to national attention and the top of the Billboard charts. Great voice-leading and a tight rhythmic groove make it fun to sing.

Arranger: Kirby Shaw | Composer: Merle Travis

More details
Voicing: SATB | Sheet Music | $2.00 | A Cappella |
(Minimum order 4 copies)
| 00-41893


Sixteen Tons : SAB : Kirby Shaw : Merle Travis : Sheet Music : 00-41894 : 038081469744

Kirby Shaw : Sixteen Tons

It's been performed by Elvis, Stevie Wonder, and a host of others, but it was the Tennessee Ernie Ford recording that brought this song to national attention and the top of the Billboard charts. Great voice-leading and a tight rhythmic groove make it fun to sing.

Arranger: Kirby Shaw | Composer: Merle Travis

More details
Voicing: SAB | Sheet Music | $2.00 | A Cappella |
(Minimum order 4 copies)
| 00-41894


Sixteen Tons : TBB : Kirby Shaw : Merle Travis : Sheet Music : 00-41895 : 038081469751

Kirby Shaw : Sixteen Tons

It's been performed by Elvis, Stevie Wonder, and a host of others, but it was the Tennessee Ernie Ford recording that brought this song to national attention and the top of the Billboard charts. Great voice-leading and a tight rhythmic groove make it fun to sing.

Arranger: Kirby Shaw | Composer: Merle Travis

More details
Voicing: TBB | Sheet Music | $2.00 | A Cappella |
(Minimum order 4 copies)
| 00-41895

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