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The song was originally given to pop singer Kay Starr; however, her label rejected it. The song was left unused until Hecht rediscovered it when writing for Four Star Records. Originally Cline was not fond of "Walkin' After Midnight", but after making a compromise with her label she recorded it. In January 1957, Cline performed the song on an episode of the CBS television program, Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts. It garnered a strong response from viewers and was therefore rush-released as a single February 11, 1957. "Walkin' After Midnight" became Cline's first major hit single, reaching No. 2 on the Billboard country music chart and No. 12 on its pop chart. Although the song was her only hit until 1961, the single version sold over one million copies and is often included on authoritative lists of the all-time greatest songs in country music.