QUEEN OF HEARTS (Hank DeVito song)

Queen of Hearts (Hank DeVito song)

Released June 8, 1981
Recorded 1981
Genre Country pop, country rock
Length 3:26
Label Capitol
Writer(s) Hank DeVito
Producer(s) Richard Landis

Queen of Hearts is a country-pop song written by Hank DeVito, the pedal steel guitarist in Emmylou Harris’ backing group The Hot Band, and first recorded by Dave Edmunds on his 1979 album Repeat When Necessary. It was released as a single and reached No. 11 in the UK that year.

Following an appearance on the 1980 Rodney Crowell album But What Will the Neighbors Think, on which composer DeVito played guitar, “Queen of Hearts” had its highest profile incarnation in a version by Juice Newton from the 1981 album Juice Newton would later recall: “I did ‘Queen of Hearts’ live for about a year…Then I brought it to producer Richard Landis when we started the Juice album. He wasn’t convinced at that point that it was a breakout song but I told him I think this is a real cool song … so we cut it.” Newton’s own favorite cut on the Juice album, “Queen of Hearts” was issued as the album’s second single and would reach No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks in September 1981, behind “Endless Love” by Diana Ross and Lionel Richie. While it was still at No. 2, “Queen of Hearts” was certified Gold for domestic sales of one million units.

“Queen of Hearts” also gave Newton an international hit, with Top Ten chart positions in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa and Switzerland and more moderate success in Austria, Germany and the Netherlands. Her recording of the song earned Newton earned a 1982 Grammy nomination for Best Female Vocalist, Country and Western category, “Queen of Hearts” having been a No. 14 country hit.

Newton re-recorded “Queen of Hearts” for her 1998 album The Trouble With Angels. In 1997, a live version by Dave Edmunds was released on his compilation album Rockin’ .

The song is featured in Oliver Stone’s 1986 film Salvador and the 1997 film Boogie Nights, as well as in the video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas in which it plays on the fictional radio station K-Rose. It also appears as source music in the first episode of The Americans, a 2013 television series set during the first Reagan administration.