Today in 1961 Faron Young recorded an odd song called Hello Walls from an unknown songwriter named Willie Nelson. Hank Cochran tells how he and Nelson had been writing songs together, or as Cochran says, trying to write songs together, as Nelson worked better alone. One afternoon Cochran stepped out to make a phone call and when he returned Nelson had written Hello Walls on the back of a piece of cardboard. I guess it was handy. Shortly afterwards they were hanging out in Tootsie’s Orchard Lounge with Roger Miller and in came Webb Pierce and Faron Young. Someone had a guitar and Young asked Nelson to sing him a song. He sang Hello Walls.
The song itself is classic Willie. All economy, airtight, not a word too many or missing; in short a master class in perfection:
How things go for you today
Don’t you miss her Since she upped and walked away And I’ll bet you dread to spend Another lonely night with me
But lonely walls, I’ll keep you company Hello window
Well I see that you’re still here
Aren’t you lonely Since our darling disappeared Well look here is that a teardrop In the corner of your pane
Now don’t you try to tell me that it’s rain She went away and left us all alone The way she planned
Yes we’ll have to learn to get along Without her if we can Hello ceiling
I’m gonna stare at you a while
You know I can’t sleep So won’t you bear with me awhile We must all stick together Or else I’ll lose my mind
I’ve got a feeling she’ll be gone A long long time
Willie offered to sell it to Faron for $500, but for once in the music industry heart was bigger than wallet. Faron Young knew what he had and instead of buying the song he just loaned Willie the money and told him not to sell it to anyone else. It went to number #1 on the country charts in March of ’61 and stayed there for nine full weeks.
Hello Walls, Faron Young
Post Script ~ Since I’ve been talking novelty songs of late I should add that later that year in his one and only chart hit the great Ralph Emery, Dean of Nashville and a nationally radio treasure, sang an “answer song” to Hello Walls written by James Coleman called Hello Fool. It went all the way up to #4.
Hello Fool, Ralph Emery