This was written in 1952 by Chilton Price, Redd Stewart and Pee Wee King. Stewart was the lead singer of Pee Wee King's Golden West Cowboys, who were a popular Country act and regulars at the Grand Ole Opry. Chilton Price was a female songwriter who started writing this song. In a 2002 interview with The Cincinnati Post, Price claimed that Stewart and King had no part in writing the song, but were still given songwriting credit. Billy Stewart, who is the son of Redd, refutes this claim, and points to his father's solo material as proof that he was a key influence in the making of "You Belong To Me." Here's what Billy told us about the song:
Chilton Price, music librarian at a radio station in Louisville, had written six songs, which she shyly gave to Pee Wee King to see whether he thought they had any potential, and if they did, to get him to do whatever he thought necessary to them. Pee Wee and Redd Stewart slowly worked their way through the songs, revising the lyrics as needed to make them easier to sing, punching them up as needed, and coming up with improvements on the melodies.
The original version of the song was recorded by Sue Thompson on Mercury's country label. It was soon covered by Patti Page, whose version was issued by Mercury, with "I Went to Your Wedding" (a bigger Patti Page hit, reaching #1) on the flip side. It entered the Billboard chart on August 22, 1952, and lasted 12 weeks on the chart, peaking at #4.
A cover version by Jo Stafford became the most popular version. Issued by Columbia Records, it was Stafford's greatest hit, topping the charts in both the United States and the United Kingdom (the first song by a female singer to top the UK chart). It first entered the US chart on August 1, 1952 and remained there for 24 weeks.
The song has also appeared on many movie soundtracks. A version by Jason Wade was part of the soundtrack to the 2001 animated film Shrek. Rocker Tori Amos also sang the classic for the Julia Roberts film Mona Lisa Smile in 2003. Actress Rose McGowan sang it on the soundtrack for the Planet Terror segment of the 2007 movie Grindhouse. While onscreen, Bette Midler sings a fragment of the song (to Nick Nolte) in the 1986 comedy Down and Out in Beverly Hills.
On February 1, 2007, a short rendition of the song was sung by 64-year-old Sherman Pore as an audition piece for the television show American Idol, as a tribute to his wife who had passed away from cancer two days before.
n 1962 The Duprees, who were an Italian-American vocal group from Jersey City, New Jersey, made this into a Doo-Wop song that went to #7 in the US. Dean Martin, Jerry Lee Lewis, Patsy Cline, Ringo Starr, and Anne Murray all recorded it, and Bob Dylan did a version of the song for Oliver Stone's movie Natural Born Killers. Vonda Shepard recorded it for the Ally McBeal soundtrack in 1998.
Jo Stafford was one of the most popular female singers of the '50s. In the '30s, she performed with her sisters as The Stafford Sisters and later sang with Tommy Dorsey. She was one of the first artists to record parody versions of hit songs, and was known for her work with the USO where she entertained the troops. She died on July 16, 2008 at age 90.
Stafford's rendition was used in the 2019 Martin Scorsese film The Irishman.