♫ The Letter ♫

When I played this one back in April 2020, I played only the Box Tops version, for that was the one I knew best and liked.  However, about half of those who commented said they preferred Joe Cocker’s version.  And so I decided that this time ’round I would also include Cocker’s version, though I still prefer the Box Tops.  And, as I was seeking the Joe Cocker version, I came across one by one of my faves, Al Green!  So, I guess I will play all three tonight and let you guys choose your favourite!  For the record, having listened to all three, the Box Tops still has my vote!  An interesting final note provided by Roger last time I played this …

“Singer Alex Chilton died of a heart attack in 2010:
Wikipedia quote: “Chilton had experienced at least two episodes of shortness of breath in the week prior to his fatal heart attack, though he did not seek medical attention in part because he did not have health insurance”…


The Nashville songwriter Wayne Carson Thompson wrote the song after his father gave him the line, “Give me a ticket for an aeroplane.”  Thompson gave the song to The Box Tops on the recommendation of his friend, Chips Moman, who ran ARS Studios and liked the sound of an unnamed band headed by then-16-year-old Alex Chilton, who auditioned for him in 1967.

Thompson played guitar on the recording. He didn’t like the singing, believing the lead vocal was too husky, and wasn’t fond of the production either. The addition of the jet sound “didn’t make sense” to him. When producer Dan Penn added the airplane sound to the recording, Wayne Carson Thompson clearly thought that Penn had lost his mind. He hadn’t – several weeks later it became one of the biggest records of the ’60s, and The Box Tops went on to score with a few other Thompson compositions.

The Letter launched Chilton’s career and inspired numerous cover versions. English rock and soul singer Joe Cocker’s 1970 rendition became his first top ten single in the U.S.; several other artists have recorded versions of the song which also reached the record charts.

The video is of very poor quality, for which I apologize, but the sound quality of this one was the best of the 5 or 6 I viewed, so I went with it.

The Letter
The Box Tops

Gimme a ticket for an aeroplane
Ain’t got time to take a fast train
Lonely days are gone, I’m a-goin’ home
My baby, just a wrote me a letter

I don’t care how much money I gotta spend
Got to get back to my baby again
Lonely days are gone, I’m a-goin’ home
My baby, just-a wrote me a letter

Well, she wrote me a letter
Said she couldn’t live without me no more
Listen mister, can’t you see I got to get back
To my baby once-a more
Anyway, yeah

Gimme a ticket for an aeroplane
Ain’t got time to take a fast train
Lonely days are gone, I’m a-goin’ home
My baby, just-a wrote me a letter

Well, she wrote me a letter
Said she couldn’t live without me no more
Listen mister, can’t you see I got to get back
To my baby once-a more
Anyway, yeah

Gimme a ticket for an aeroplane
Ain’t got time to take a fast train
Lonely days are gone, I’m a-goin’ home
My baby, just-a wrote me a letter, my baby just-a wrote me a letter

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Wayne Carson Thompson
The Letter lyrics © The Bicycle Music Company

33 thoughts on “♫ The Letter ♫

  1. Jill, thanks for the encore. This is a great example of a song sounding very different with Joe Cocker singing it. Not just being diplomatic, I like both the Box Tops and Cocker’ versions, as the latter adds the horns and punctuates it with his unique style. He does the same with The Beatles’ “Little help from my friends.” Both versions are great. Keith

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Joe Cocker does it for me. I never liked the Box Tops for some reason. But one 60s band I loved out of Texas I really loved, as I may have mentioned before. FEVER TREE. They only had one hit that I know of, but for today I will offer a cover of a song written by Winnipeg’s Neil Young, and originally recorded by Buffalo Springfield.

    Hope you liked it.

    Liked by 1 person

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