'"Misty Blue"' is a song written by Bob Montgomery in 1966 which has become a hit in the pop, C&W and soul fields through various versions, the most successful being the 1976 pop/soul hit by Dorothy Moore.
C&W hit versions
Montgomery wrote the song for Brenda Lee; he recalls: "I wrote 'Misty Blue' in about twenty minutes. It was a gift and it was perfect for Brenda Lee, but she turned it down. Her producer Owen Bradley loved the song and as he couldn’t push her to do it, he cut it country style with Wilma Burgess." Burgess recorded the song in a 24 March 1966 session at the Columbia Recording Studio in South Nashville; after another track from the same session, "Don't Touch Me", was released to become a #12 C&W hit that summer, "Misty Blue" was released in October 1966 to spend most of December 1966 and January–February 1967 in the C&W Top Ten, peaking #4 and was Burgess' highest charting release.
Eddy Arnold recorded "Misty Blue" in a Chet Atkins-produced session at the RCA Victor Studio on 20 April 1966; included on the June 1966 album release The Last Word in Lonesome, Arnold's "Misty Blue" had a belated single release in May 1967 to introduce The Best of Eddy Arnold compilation album. Besides virtually matching Burgess' success with the song—Arnold's version peaking at C&W #3—Arnold's "Misty Blue" became the first version of the song to crossover to the pop field reaching #57 on the Billboard Hot 100 in June 1967 and rising as high as #3 Easy Listening: the single's pop chart peaks in Cash Box and Record World were respectively #20 and #48.
Billie Jo Spears had a #5 C&W hit with "Misty Blue" in 1976 after the Dorothy Moore pop/soul hit version had revived interest in the song.
R&B hit versions
The first R&B recording of "Misty Blue" was a 1972 version by Joe Simon which while not one of his biggest R&B hits at #47 did return "Misty Blue" to the Hot 100 at #91 (Cash Box #62).
In 1973 Dorothy Moore recorded "Misty Blue" at Malaco Records in Jackson, Mississippi cutting her vocal in a single take: Malaco owner Tommy Couch was familiar with the song via the Joe Simon version. Malaco then a production company were unable to successfully shop Moore's recording of "Misty Blue" to a label, and in November 1975 the cash-strapped Malaco used the last of its resources to press Moore's "Misty Blue" and release it on the Malaco label. Henry Stone through his TK Productions picked the single up for national distribution and began promoting it heavily using his own independent network. After receiving its initial airplay in Chicago and Washington DC, Moore's single broke in the southern states in April 1976 and three months later it was nominated for a Grammy Award. In 1976 the single reached #2 on the R&B charts and #3 on the Hot 100., as well as #14 on the Adult Contemporary chart. "Misty Blue" was also a UK hit reaching #5 there on the chart dated for the week of 8 August 1976. Moore's single also achieved hit status in Australia (#5), Canada (#4), New Zealand (#4), South Africa (#11) and also Brazil, ranking at #19 on Brazil's Top 100 singles of 1976 while a re-release would rank at #56 on Brazil's Top 100 singles of 1983. Moore's version is included on the soundtrack of the 1996 movie Phenomenon and also the 2008 movie Made of Honor. In 2014 Dorothy Moore's "Misty Blue" had been on the iTunes blues top ten charts in up to nine countries for the last three years. Interesting note: when first released her "Misty Blue" was on the B-side.
Bob Montgomery estimates there are over 200 versions of "Misty Blue". C&W singers who have cut "Misty Blue" include the Browns, Claude Gray, Ferlin Husky, David Houston, Cristy Lane, Reba McEntire, George Morgan, Lorrie Morgan, Johnny Paycheck and T. G. Sheppard. In 1967 "Misty Blue" served as the title cut for an album of C&W songs by Ella Fitzgerald.
R&B versions of "Misty Blue" include versions by Monica and Mary J. Blige which virtually replicate the Dorothy Moore rendition, and also by LaVern Baker, Boyz II Men, Miki Howard, Barbara Lynn, George Veikoso (Fiji) and Little Milton. The 2007 Prince live album Indigo Nights featured a version of "Misty Blue" with Shelby J as vocalist. Shelby J also performs this song live frequently at Prince concerts.
In 2002, English trip hop trio Amillionsons released a song which heavily sampled the track entitled "Misti Blu" which reached #39 UK.
The 1989 Connie Francis album Where the Hits Are, a Malaco release composed mostly of new versions of Francis' own hits, featured her version of "Misty Blue" as well as "Old Time Rock 'N' Roll" and "Torn Between Two Lovers" which like "Misty Blue" were hits recorded at Muscle Shoals, where Where the Hits Are was recorded. Jann Arden, Brian Conley, Sheena Easton, Engelbert Humperdinck, Leon Jackson, Bobbi Martin, Jim Nabors, Anita Sarawak and Bobby Vinton have also recorded "Misty Blue".
The late renowned singer Etta James recorded an R&B version for her final album The Dreamer, released in 2011.
- at MetroLyrics