"You Don't Know Me" is a song written by Cindy Walker based on a title and storyline given to her by Eddy Arnold in 1955. "You Don't Know Me" was first recorded by Arnold that year and released as a single on April 21, 1956 on RCA Victor.[1] The first version of the song to make the Billboard charts was by Jerry Vale in 1956, peaking at #14 on the pop chart. Arnold's version charted two months later, released as an RCA Victor single, 47-6502, backed with "The Rockin' Mockin' Bird", which reached #10 on the Billboard country chart. Cash Box magazine, which combined all best-selling versions at one position, included a version by Carmen McRae that never appeared in the Billboard Top 100 Sides listing.

Contents Edit


  • 1 Origin
  • 2 Notable recorded versions
  • 3 Chart performance
    • 3.1 Eddy Arnold
    • 3.2 Jerry Vale
    • 3.3 Ray Charles
    • 3.4 Elvis Presley
    • 3.5 Ray Pennington
    • 3.6 Mickey Gilley
  • 4 References
  • 5 External links

Origin[edit] Edit

In his book Eddy Arnold: Pioneer of the Nashville Sound, author Michael Streissguth describes how the song came to be:[2]

Cindy Walker, who had supplied Eddy with "Take Me in Your Arms and Hold Me" (a number one country record in 1949 and Eddy's first Cindy Walker release), recalled discussing the idea for "You Don't Know Me" with Eddy as she was leaving one of Nashville's annual disc-jockey conventions. "I went up to the Victor suite to tell Steve Sholes good-bye," she explained, "and just as I was leaving, Eddy came in the door."

Walker remembered him saying, "I got a song title for you... 'You Don't Know Me.'"

"But I know you," teased Walker.

"This is serious, replied Eddy, who proceeded to outline his idea.

The songwriter promised to let the idea stew in her head for a while. And soon, she remembered, the lyrics tumbled onto the page. "The song just started singing. It sort of wrote itself..."

Notable recorded versions[edit] Edit

The best-selling version of the song is by Ray Charles, who took it to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1962, after releasing the song on his #1 album Modern Sounds In Country And Western Music. This version also topped the "Easy listening" chart for three weeks in 1962, and was used in the 1993 comedy film Groundhog Day. The song also became the twelfth number one country hit for Mickey Gilley in 1981.[3]

The song has been performed or recorded by hundreds of artists, including Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, and Willie Nelson. Charles re-recorded the song with Diana Krall on his #1 album of duets, Genius Loves Company, the only song common to both of Charles' two #1 albums. It was sung by Meryl Streep in the 1990 film Postcards from the Edge, by John Legend in the 2007 Curb Your Enthusiasm episode "The Bat Mitzvah", by Robert Downey Jr in the 1998 film Two Girls and a Guy, and by Lizzy Caplan in the 2013 Masters of Sex episode "Phallic Victories".

This article may contain excessive, poor, or irrelevant examples. Please improve the article by adding more descriptive text and removing less pertinent examples. See Wikipedia's guide to writing better articles for further suggestions. (February 2011)
  • Eddy Arnold (1955)
  • Jerry Vale (1956)
  • Lenny Welch (1960)
  • Patti Page (1961) on album Somethin' Country
  • Ray Charles (1962) on album Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music
  • Floyd Cramer (1964) on album Country Piano-City Strings
  • Manfred Mann (1965) on album Mann Made
  • Rick Nelson (1965) on album Best Always
  • Jackie Wilson (1965) on album Spotlight on Jackie Wilson!
  • Jan Howard (1967) on album This Is Jan Howard Country
  • Elvis Presley (1967) on album Clambake
  • Ray Pennington (1970) on album Sings for the Other Woman
  • Steve Marriott (1976) on album Marriott
  • Bette Midler (1977) on album Broken Blossom
  • Kenny Loggins (1977) on album Celebrate Me Home
  • Mickey Gilley (1981) on album You Don't Know Me
  • Juice Newton (1984) on album Can't Wait All Night
  • Richard Manuel (1985) on album Whispering Pines: Live at the Getaway
  • Bob James & David Sanborn (1986) on album Double Vision
  • The Heptones (1986) on album Changing Times
  • Don McLean (1989) on album For the Memories Vols I & II
  • Israel Kamakawiwo'ole (1990) on album Ka 'Ano'i
  • Charlie Rich (1992) on album Pictures and Paintings
  • Emmylou Harris (1993) on album Cowgirl's Prayer
  • Allen Toussaint (1994) on album Bluesiana Hot Sauce
  • Diane Schuur and B.B. King (1994) on album Heart to Heart
  • Van Morrison (1995) on album Days Like This (duet with his daughter Shana Morrison)
  • David Sanborn (1995) on album Love Songs
  • Jann Arden (1997) for the soundtrack of My Best Friend's Wedding
  • Steven Houghton (1997) on album Steven Houghton
  • Patricia Barber (2000) on album nightclub
  • Jennifer Warnes (2001) with Doyle Bramhall on album The Well
  • Anne Murray (2002) on album Country Croonin'
  • Michael Bolton (2003)
  • Janis Siegel (2003) on album Friday Night Special
  • Ray Charles and Diana Krall (2004) on album Genius Loves Company
  • Harry Connick Jr (2004) on album Only You
  • Peter Cincotti (2004)
  • Michael Bublé (2005) on album It's Time ( listen (help·info))
  • John Scofield (2005) with Aaron Neville on album That's What I Say: John Scofield Plays the Music of Ray Charles
  • Willie Nelson (2006) on album You Don't Know Me: The Songs of Cindy Walker
  • Russell Watson (2007) on album That's Life
  • Leon Jackson (2008) on album Right Now
  • Michael McDonald (2008) on album Soul Speak
  • Matt Giraud and Anna Wilson (2010)
  • Michael Grimm (2011) on album Michael Grimm
  • Lulu Roman (2013) on album At Last
  • Ronnie Dunn (2014) on album Peace, Love, and Country Music

Chart performance[edit] Edit

Eddy Arnold[edit] Edit

Chart (1956) Peak


U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles 10

Jerry Vale[edit] Edit

Chart (1956) Peak


U.S. Billboard Hot 100 14

Ray Charles[edit] Edit

Chart (1962) Peak


U.S. Billboard Hot 100 2
U.S. Billboard R&B Singles 5
U.S. Billboard Adult Contemporary Singles 1
U.K. Singles 9

Elvis Presley[edit] Edit

Chart (1968) Peak


U.S. Billboard Hot 100 44
U.S. Billboard Adult Contemporary Singles 34

Ray Pennington[edit] Edit

Chart (1970) Peak


U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles 61

Mickey Gilley[edit] Edit

Chart (1981) Peak


U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles 1
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 55
U.S. Billboard Adult Contemporary 12
Canadian RPM Country Tracks 1
Canadian RPM Adult Contemporary Tracks 6

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