Sixteen Tons (2:57)

Cover of Folk Songs Of The Hills

From Folk Songs Of The Hills and 70 other releases

Sixteen Tons” is a song about the life of a coal miner, first recorded in 1946 by American singer Merle Travis and released on his box set album Folk Songs Of The Hills the following year.


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  • gdcman

    This should clear things up.....While the song is usually attributed to Merle Travis, to whom it is credited on his 1947 recording, George S. Davis, a folk singer and songwriter who had been a Kentucky coal miner, claimed on a 1966 recording for Folkways Records to have written the song as "Nine-to-ten tons" in the 1930s. Davis' recording of his version of the song appears on the albums George Davis: When Kentucky Had No Union Men and Classic Mountain Songs from Smithsonian. TEF made Merle a bunch of money though and it's the only version most people ever heard.

    1 Aug 2011 Reply
  • wildbilljones

    it's a rip off

    23 Oct 2009 Reply
  • tobyz1

    Sorry, but Merle doesn't come close to Tennessee Ernie on this one.

    18 Sep 2009 Reply
  • whatwhonow

    I love the cover of this at the beginning of the movie Joe Versus the Volcano.

    14 Aug 2009 Reply
  • LondonLouis

    Did this come before the Tennessee Ford hit of this song?

    3 Aug 2009 Reply
  • almagal


    20 Apr 2009 Reply
  • OhYesByAllMeans

    Sounds like a One Meat Ball rip-off.

    8 Mar 2009 Reply
  • lojbud

    Ain't it the truth!

    5 Dec 2008 Reply

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