By now, you know Sleepy LaBeef, national treasure, is a honky-tonk man.
Today, he demonstrates. Sleepy covers a tune debuted by Johnny Horton in 1956, covered 10 years later by Conway Twitty and covered 30 years later by Dwight Yoakam.
Horton wrote “Honky Tonk Man” with Tillman Franks and Howard Hausey. It was his first top-40 hit.
You may be more familiar with a couple of Horton’s No. 1 hits — “The Battle of New Orleans” from 1959 and “North to Alaska” from 1960. (Both of those songs were on the jukebox at a bar one of my friends worked at after high school, so they’re etched in my head.)
Sleepy recorded this version at Regent Sound Studio in London on April 23, 1979. It’s a fairly straightforward cover, but pleasant enough.
“Honky Tonk Man,” Sleepy LaBeef, from “A Rockin’ Decade,” 1997.