James Robert Wills (March 6, 1905 – May 13, 1975) was an American Western swing musician, songwriter, and bandleader. Considered by music authorities as the co-founder of Western swing, he was widely known as the King of Western Swing.
Wills and the Texas Playboys recorded with several publishers and companies, including Vocalion, Okeh, Columbia, and MGM, frequently moving. In 1950, he had two Top 10 hits, “Ida Red Likes The Boogie” and “Faded Love”, which were his last hits for a decade. Throughout the 1950s, he struggled with poor health and tenuous finances, but continued to perform frequently despite the decline in popularity of his earlier music as rock and roll took over. Wills had a heart attack in 1962 and a second one the next year, which forced him to disband the Playboys although Wills continued to perform solo.
The Country Music Hall of Fame inducted Wills in 1968 and the Texas State Legislature honoured him for his contribution to American music. In 1972, Wills accepted a citation from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers in Nashville. He was recording an album with fan Merle Haggard in 1973 when a stroke left him comatose until his death in 1975. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted Wills and the Texas Playboys in 1999.
“Saint Louis Blues”
I hate to see that evening sun go down
‘Cause my lovin’ baby done left this town
If I feel tomorrow like I feel today
I’m gonna pack my trunk and make my getawayOh, that St. Louis woman with her diamond rings
She pulls my man around by her apron strings
And if it wasn’t for powder and her store-bought hair
Oh, that man of mine wouldn’t go nowhereI got those St. Louis blues, just as blue as I can be
Oh, my man’s got a heart like a rock cast in the sea
Or else he wouldn’t have gone so far from meI love my man like a schoolboy loves his pie
Like a Kentucky colonel loves his rocker and rye
I’ll love my man until the day I die, Lord, Lord
I got the St. Louis blues, just as blue as I can be, Lord, Lord
That man’s got a heart like a rock cast in the sea
Or else he wouldn’t have gone so far from me
I got those St. Louis blues
I got the blues, I got the blues, I got the blues
My man’s got a heart like a rock cast in the sea
Or else he wouldn’t have gone so far from me, Lord