They'll Never Take Her Love from Me

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"They'll Never Take Her Love from Me"
Single by Hank Williams
A-side"Why Should We Try Anymore"
ReleasedAugust 1950
RecordedJune 14, 1950
StudioCastle Studio, Nashville
Songwriter(s)Leon Payne
Producer(s)Fred Rose
Hank Williams singles chronology
"Why Don't You Love Me"
"They'll Never Take Her Love from Me"
"Moanin' the Blues"

"They'll Never Take Her Love from Me" is a country song popularized by Hank Williams in 1950. In 1961, Johnny Horton also had a hit with the song, and many others have covered it.[1]

The song was published and first recorded by singer-songwriter Leon Payne in 1948, but its lyrics may have been written by Paul Gilley, a ghost writer from Kentucky.


Leon Payne wrote hundreds of country songs in a prolific career that lasted from 1941 until his death in 1969. He is perhaps best known for his hits "I Love You Because", "You've Still Got a Place in My Heart," and for the two songs Williams recorded: "Lost Highway" and "They'll Never Take Her Love from Me."

Paul Gilley was a young ghost writer from Kentucky who penned a dozen popular songs without receiving credit. Music journalist Chet Flippo published a book in 1981 saying that Williams bought at least two songs from Gilley: "Cold, Cold Heart" and "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry".[2] Kentucky historian W. Lynn Nickell wrote in 2012 that Gilley was also responsible for the lyrics to "They'll Never Take Her Love from Me". Before the song ever appeared in public, Gilley gave the handwritten lyric sheet to a neighbor girl, telling her the song would soon be playing on the radio, and that this was proof he had written it.[3]

Williams cut the song on June 14, 1950, at Castle Studio in Nashville, with Fred Rose producing and backing from Sammy Pruett (lead guitar), Jack Shook or Rusty Gabbard (rhythm guitar), Don Helms (steel guitar), Jerry Rivers (fiddle), and Ernie Newton (bass).[4] The song was released as the flipside to Williams' own "Why Should We Try Anymore," but Payne's song outperformed the A-side, peaking at number 5, while "Why Should We Try Anymore" rose to number 9. As Williams biographer Colin Escott observes, "The message was clear: the public wanted brisk, up-temp juke joint songs. History might decide that Hank Williams was the finest writer and singer of 'heart' songs in all country music, but that wasn't what radio and jukebox audiences wanted in 1950."[4]

Cover versions[]


  1. ^ "Song: They'll Never Take Her Love from Me". Second Hand Songs. Retrieved October 28, 2018.
  2. ^ Chet Flippo (1997). Your Cheatin' Heart: A Biography of Hank Williams (revised ed.). Plexo. pp. 7, 130, 150. ISBN 9780859652322.
  3. ^ "Songwriter Paul Gilley". Kentucky Life. Kentucky Educational Television (KET). July 29, 2013. Retrieved October 28, 2018.
  4. ^ Jump up to: a b Colin Escott; George Merritt; William MacEwen (2009). Hank Williams: The Biography. Little, Brown. pp. 87–88. ISBN 9780316074636.
  5. ^ Joel Whitburn (2008). Joel Whitburn Presents Across the Charts: The 1960s. Hal Leonard. p. 183. ISBN 9780898201758.
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