Dear John Letter

Jean Shepard, Ferlin Husky

About Dear John Letter

"A Dear John Letter", or "Dear John" is the name of a popular country music song, written by Billy Barton, Fuzzy Owen and Lewis Talley. It was popularized by Ferlin Husky and Jean Shepard, and was a crossover country-pop hit in 1953. The song played on the concept of a Dear John letter while referencing the United States' involvement in the Korean War. Here, a young woman, whose boyfriend John was stationed in Korea, writes stating that she is breaking off the relationship. To add to the heartbreak: She is marrying John's brother, Don, and wants her photograph back (because — according to the lyrics — Don wants it now).  


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Dear John, oh, how I hate to write
Dear John, I must let you know tonight
That my love for you has died away like grass upon the lawn
And tonight I wed another dear John

I was overseas in battle when the postman came to me
And he handed me a letter I was just as happy as I could be
For the fighting was all over and the battle have been won
Then I opened up the letter and that started, dear John

Dear John, oh, how I hate to write
Dear John, I must let you know tonight
That my love for you has died away like grass upon the lawn
And tonight I wed another dear John

Will you please send back my picture, my husband wants it now
And when I tell you who I'm wedding I know you won't care, dear anyhow
Now the ceremony has just started and tonight I'll wed your brother Don
Will you please wish us happiness forever, dear John?

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Jean Shepard

Ollie Imogene Shepard (born November 21, 1933), better known as Jean Shepard, is an American honky tonk singer-songwriter who was a pioneer for women in country music. Shepard released a total of 73 singles to the Hot Country Songs chart, one of which reached the No. 1 spot. She recorded a total of 24 studio albums between 1956 and 1981, and has been a member of the Grand Ole Opry for more than 50 years. more »

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Lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc.

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind

12 facts about this song

Release Info
"Dear John Letter" by Jean Shepard and sung with Ferlin Husky was released on June 2, 1953.
Chart Performance
The song became Shepard's first chart hit, reaching No. 1 on the Billboard country chart. It was also the first post-World War II song that featured an answer in the form of a duet.
Written By
This pop country song was written by Billy Barton, Fuzzy Owen, and Lewis Talley.
Genre Classification
"Dear John Letter" falls under the umbrella of the country music genre.
Country Music Firsts
It was not just Jean Shepard’s first major hit, but it was also the first country song to ever cross over onto the pop charts.
Impact on Careers
The success of "Dear John Letter" helped to cement both Jean Shepard and Ferlin Husky’s careers in the country music world.
Record Label
The successful track was released under the Capitol Records label.
Concept Behind the Song
The song tells the story of a soldier receiving a letter from his sweetheart, revealing her intention to end their relationship, hence the term "Dear John letter."
Grammy Hall of Fame
In 1997, “A Dear John Letter” was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.
Shepard's Discography
This track featured on the singer's debut album, "Songs of a Love Affair," released in 1956, which is often recognized as one of the first-ever concept albums in country music.
Influence on Music
"Dear John Letter" helped set the trend for answer songs and duets in country music, inspiring many other artists.
Cover Versions
The song has been covered by numerous artists over the years, including Pat Boone and also Skeeter Davis and Bobby Bare.

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