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Country Rewind: Webb Pierce Normalizes Drinking Songs With 'There Stands the Glass'

Oddly enough, the buildup to polarizing, pop-friendly songwriter Sam Hunt's sophomore album Southside (released April 3, 2020) introduced new ears to hard country icon Webb Pierce's 1953 hit "There Stands the Glass." Hunt's "Hard to Forget" samples one of Pierce's signature number one hits and points fans of modern country to a different honky-tonk catalog than that of Hank Williams.

Russ Hull, Mary Jean Shurtz and Audrey Greisham wrote what became a drinking song standard. Blaine Smith recorded it first in 1952, but he lacked the star power of Pierce: an icon of the influential Louisiana Hayride and a Decca recording artist.

Despite coming out at a time when many radio stations banned drinking songs, Pierce's recording spent 12 weeks atop the Billboard chart. The song's success paid off Pierce's calculated gamble. Beforehand, he put his sales background with Sears Roebuck to use and considered the number of drinkers in his audience and the importance at the time of barroom jukebox spins -- factors that inspired special requests to country radio.

Pierce was no stranger to scoring hits by breaking country music taboos. His 1952 single "Back Street Affair" got turned down by Fred Rose as too risque when it was originally pitched to Williams. "Back Street Affair" topped the country charts and was the subject of a lesser-known Kitty Wells answer song, "Paying for That Back Street Affair."

Read More: 10 Classic Country Songs That Were Responses to Hit Songs

Country artists paid homage to "There Stands the Glass" long before it made it onto Hunt's retro playlist, with covers cut over the years by Carl Smith, Wanda Jackson, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Bush and Loretta Lynn.

'There Stands the Glass' Lyrics:

There stands the glass that will ease all my pain
That will settle my brain it's my first one today
There stands the glass that will hide all my tears
That will drown all my fear, brother I'm on my way
I'm wondering where you are tonight
I'm wondering if you are all right
I wonder if you think of me in my misery
There stands the glass fill it up to the brim
Til my troubles grow dim, it's my first one today
I'm wondering where you are tonight
I'm wondering if you are all right
I wonder if you think of me in my misery

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Country Rewind: Webb Pierce Normalizes Drinking Songs With 'There Stands the Glass'