Move It On Over (song) – 1947

“Move It On Over” is a 12-bar blues song written and recorded by the American country music singer-songwriter Hank Williams in 1947. The song was Williams’ first major country hit, reaching #4 on the Billboard Country Singles chart. The song is considered one of the earliest examples of rock and roll music.

The song’s subject matter, melody, and composition very closely resemble that of “Rock Around the Clock,” released seven years later by Bill Haley and his Comets, which would go on to become the first hit rock and roll single. “Move It On Over” was recorded on April 21, 1947 at Castle Studio in Nashville, Hank’s first session for MGM and the same session that produced “I Saw the Light,” “(Last Night) I Heard You Crying in Your Sleep,” and “Six More Miles to the Graveyard.” Nashville had no session men during this period, so producer Fred Rose hired Red Foley’s backing band, one of the sharpest around, to back Williams. As biographer Colin Escott observes, Rose probably felt the instrumental break needed a touch of class to smooth out Williams’ hillbilly edges, and the band, especially guitarist Zeke Turner, was likely too fancy for the singer’s taste.

The song follows a man who is forced to sleep in the doghouse after coming home late at night and not being allowed into his house by his wife. In many respects, the song typified Williams’ uncanny ability to express in a humorous way the aspects of everyday life that listeners could relate to – and rarely heard on the radio. As fiddler Jerry Rivers later recalled, Hank’s novelty songs “weren’t novelty – they were serious, not silly, and that’s why they were much better accepted and better selling. ‘Move It on Over’ hits right home, ’cause half of the people he was singing to were in the doghouse with the ol’ lady.”

“Move It on Over was Williams’ first Billboard hit, got him a write up in The Alabama Journal, and generated the first serious money the singer had ever seen in his life. It also earned him a spot on the coveted Louisiana Hayride, the training ground for the Grand Ole Opry.

Cover versions

Big band Tiny Hill and the Hilltoppers recorded and performed the song.
Bill Haley recorded “Move It on Over” for Decca Records.
Ray Charles included the song on his 1964 LP Have a Smile with Me.
Williams’ son Hank Williams Jr. recorded the song for his 1980 album Habits Old and New.

George Thorogood and the Destroyers scored a major FM hit with the song when it was released on their second album Move It on Over. A version by Travis Tritt with George Thorogood was included on the 1999 King of the Hill: Original Soundtrack album. It peaked at #66 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart. A live version by George Thorogood and the Destroyers was featured in the video game Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock.

The song was also featured in the 2011 video game LA Noire.
This song was playing softly on a radio in a locker room scene in the movie 42 about Jackie Robinson.