Song of the Day, August 20: You Belong to Me by Jo Stafford

JoSBelongToday’s song is a pop standard that Jo Stafford took to the top of the charts in 1952. Country/pop songwriter Chliton Price originally crafted a song called Hurry Home to Me, envisioned as a WWII plea from a stateside woman to her soldier sweetheart. She shared the song with Redd Stewart and Pee Wee King, who made minor changes to the arrangement. They also made the theme more universal, reflecting the circumstances of any separated lovers, and changed the title to You Belong to Me.

King and Stewart promoted the song, shopping it to the major labels in 1952. Mercury picked it up for Sue Thompson, who recorded the original Country version. Patti Page released the next version, but it was relegated to B-side status when DJs flipped it over to play I Went to Your Wedding.

Enter singer extraordinaire Jo Stafford. Columbia picked up the song for her, and she recorded and released her version. It was a smash, lasting over six months on the charts and staying at #1 for an impressive 12 weeks. (Curiously, it vied for the top spot with I Went to Your Wedding, with the two songs moving in and out of #1 around each other.) It became the biggest hit in Stafford’s impressive career, even crossing over to the UK where it was the first #1 by a solo female singer.

Stafford delivers it with her usual casual brilliance. Singing with passion and precision, she captures the spirit of the lyrics flawlessly. You Belong to Me has been covered dozens of times, but Stafford’s lovely performance remains the finest rendition.

Enjoy this classic song today.

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About Robert Hulshof-Schmidt
Freelance writer, researcher, online comic vendor, and project manager. Fan of a wide range of music -- especially folk and 80s pop -- vintage comics, British TV, and LGBT fiction.

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