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Conway Twitty

Originally a '50s rock & roll singer, Conway Twitty became the reigning country superstar of the '70s and '80s, racking up a record 40 number one hits over the course of two decades. With his deep, resonant down-home voice, Twitty was one of the smoothest balladeers to work in Nashville during the country-pop era, but he was also one of the most adventurous. More than any other singer, he was responsible for selling country as an "adult" music, slipping sexually suggestive lyrics into his lush productions, yet never singing misogynist lyrics -- by and large, his songs were sensitive and sensual, which is part of the reason why he achieved such a large success. Once Twitty reached the top of the country charts in the late '60s, he stayed there for years on end, releasing a consistent stream of Top Ten hits that both defined and expanded the limitations of country-pop by adding subtle R&B, pop, and rock & roll influences. Though he had some pop success, Twitty remained country to the core -- occasionally, his song titles were simply too corny -- which was why he retained his popularity until his death in 1993.

The son of a riverboat captain, Twitty (born Harold Lloyd Jenkins, September 1, 1933; died June 5, 1993) was born in Mississippi and raised in Helena, AR, where he learned to love not only country, but also blues and gospel. When he was ten years old, he joined his first group, the Phillips Country Ramblers, who occasionally performed on local radio. Despite his interest in music, he originally planned to become a professional baseball player. Jenkins was talented enough to be offered a contract by the Philadelphia Phillies, but he was unable to join the team, since he was drafted into the Army during the Korean War. While he was serving in the Far East, he sang with a country band called the Cimarrons. Returning to America in 1956, Jenkins still had an open offer to join the Phillies, yet he decided to pursue a musical career after he heard Elvis Presley.

With dreams of recording for Sun Records, Jenkins headed to Memphis, where Sam Phillips did indeed sign him to a recording contract, but none of the tracks he cut were ever released; Jenkins' biggest contribution to the label was writing "Rock House," a minor hit for Roy Orbison. Leaving Sun in late 1956, he set out on a rockabilly package tour, during which he invented the stage name of Conway Twitty by combining the names of an Arkansas and Texas city, respectively. At the beginning of 1957, he signed to Mercury Records, where he released a handful of singles that didn't make much of an impact, though "I Need Your Lovin'" scraped the very bottom of the pop charts. In 1958, he moved to MGM Records, where he finally achieved success with "It's Only Make Believe," a song he had written with Jack Nance. Recorded with vocal support by Presley's back group, the Jordanaires, "It's Only Make Believe" became a major hit, spending two weeks at number one and going gold. Over the course of 1959 and 1960, Twitty released a number of singles, the most popular of which were the Top Ten "Danny Boy" and "Lonely Blue Boy," and appeared in the B-movies Sex Kittens Go to College, Platinum High School, and College Confidential.

Twitty's rock & roll fame arrived suddenly and it went away just as quickly. By the beginning of 1961, his singles had stopped entering the Top 40. Nevertheless, he continued to tour, but soon MGM dropped him from their roster. Signing with ABC-Paramount, he began to add more country songs to his repertoire, yet he was still primarily recording pop material. Once Ray Price took Twitty's "Walk Me to the Door" to the country Top Ten, Conway decided he wanted to become a country singer, but he didn't actively pursue that avenue until 1965, when he walked out in the middle of a concert at a New Jersey nightclub. By the end of 1965, Twitty had begun a collaboration with record producer Owen Bradley, one of the cornerstones of the Nashville sound, and had signed to Decca Records. In the spring of the following year, he released his first country single, "Guess My Eyes Were Bigger Than My Heart," which peaked at number 18. For the next two years, he had a steady stream of four minor hits, finally breaking into the Top Ten with "The Image of Me" in the spring of 1968, followed a few months later by his first number one hit, "Next in Line." For the next four years, he had a string of 12 Top Five singles for Decca, eight of which -- including "I Love You More Today," "To See My Angel Cry," "Hello Darlin'," "Fifteen Years Ago," and "How Much More She Can Stand" -- were number one hits.

In late 1970, he began a professional relationship with Loretta Lynn, releasing their first duet, "After the Fire Is Gone," early in 1971. The record became the first of five straight number one country hits, which also included "Lead Me On," "Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man," "As Soon as I Hang Up the Phone," and "Feelins'." Over the course of the decade, Twitty and Lynn continued to work together, releasing one album a year and racking up a total of 14 Top Ten hits; they also won four Duo of the Year awards from the Country Music Association, three Vocal Group of the Year honors from the Academy of Country Music, and one Grammy for Best Vocal Performance by a Group ("After the Fire Is Gone").

Twitty's solo career continued to thrive alongside his duets with Lynn. In 1973, Decca became absorbed by MCA Records, and all of his new records were released on MCA. The changeover in labels happened to coincide with an increased suggestiveness in much of his material, including the major hit single "You've Never Been This Far Before," which spent three weeks at number one during the summer of 1973, despite being banned by several radio stations. Not all of his songs were as explicitly sexual, yet they all had an adult theme and their layered, string-laden production was designed for more mature audience, who bought Twitty records in droves. Until 1983, he had a remarkably consistent string of Top Ten singles for Decca, most of which hit number one. Among his best-known hits from this era were "I See the Want To in Your Eyes," "Linda in My Mind," "Touch the Hand," "After All the Good Is Gone," "I've Already Loved You in My Mind," "Happy Birthday Darlin'," "Tight Fittin' Jeans," and "Red Neckin' Love Makin' Night." As he continued to rule the charts, Twitty expanded into other business ventures, including banking, property, a booking agency, and ultimately, a theme park called Twitty City. The size of his international popularity was confirmed when he re-recorded "Hello Darlin'" in Russian for a joint American/Soviet space mission.

In late 1981, he briefly moved to Elektra, where he released several hit singles, many of which were pop covers like the Pointer Sisters' "Slow Hand" and Bette Midler's "The Rose." Twitty signed with Warner Bros. in 1983, where he had a string of hits over the next three years. Again, he covered several pop songs -- the Eagles' "Heartache Tonight," the Commodores' "Three Times a Lady" -- but he kept recording country songs, including the number ones "Somebody's Needin' Somebody," "I Don't Know a Thing About Love (The Moon Songs)," "Don't Call Him a Cowboy," and "Desperado Love," a 1986 chart-topper which proved to be his last number one.

Twitty returned to MCA in 1987, releasing the back-to-back number two hits "Julia" and "I Want to Know You Before We Make Love." Though he continued to have Top Ten hits through the end of the decade, his success began to slip slightly in the early '90s, once new country forced older performers off the top of the charts. Nevertheless, he remained quite popular, selling both records and concert tickets, until his sudden death from an abdominal aneurysm in the summer of 1993. Immediately following his death, Twitty was praised and mourned from all quarters of the public, not just country music fans, and his record of over 40 number one hits (matched only by George Strait in 2009) remains a high-water mark. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: It's Only Make Believe: The MGM Years

1. It's Only Make Believe

2. Mona Lisa

3. Danny Boy

4. Lonely Blue Boy

5. What Am I Living For

6. Knock Three Times

7. Is A Bluebird Blue?

8. C'est Si Bon (It's So Good)

9. Long Black Train

10. Last Kiss (Is The Last Kiss Goodbye)

11. I'm In A Blue, Blue Mood

12. It's Driving Me Wild

13. There Is Something On Your Mind

14. It's Too Late

15. Don't Cry No More

16. Pickup

17. She Ain't No Angel

18. Rosaleena

x

Track List: Master Classics: The Very Best Of Conway Twitty

1. Heavenly

2. Mona Lisa

3. It's Only Make Believe

4. Halfway To Heaven

5. What Am I Living For

6. Big Town

7. I'll Try

8. Is A Bluebird Blue

9. Born To Sing The Blues

10. Double Talk Baby

12. Danny Boy

13. Lonely Blue Boy

14. The Hurt In My Heart

16. Shake It Up Baby

17. Maybe Baby

19. Blue Is The Way I Feel

x

Track List: 11 #1 Hits

1. It's Only Make Believe

2. To See My Angel Cry

3. Hello Darlin'

4. Fifteen Years Ago

5. She Needs Someone To Hold Her When She Cries

6. You've Never Been This Far Before

7. Linda On My Mind

8. This Time I've Hurt Her More Than She Loves Me

9. Touch The Hand

10. (I Can't Believe) She Gives It All To Me

11. The Games That Daddies Play

x

Track List: 25 Number Ones

1. It's Only Make Believe

2. Next In Line

3. Hello Darlin'

4. After The Fire Is Gone

5. Lead Me On

6. I Can't Stop Loving You

7. Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man

8. You've Never Been This Far Before

9. There's A Honky Tonk Angel (Who'll Take Me Back In)

10. As Soon As I Hang Up The Phone

11. I See The Want In Your Eyes

12. Linda On My Mind

13. Touch The Hand

14. After All The Good Is Gone

15. Play, Guitar, Play

16. Don't Take It Away

17. Happy Birthday Darlin'

18. I'd Love To Lay You Down

19. Rest Your Love On Me

20. Tight Fittin' Jeans

21. Red Neckin' Love Makin' Night

22. The Clown

23. Slow Hand

24. I Don't Know A Thing About Love (The Moon Song)

25. Desperado Love

x

Track List: Conway Rocks

1. It's Only Make Believe

2. I Vibrate (From My Head To My Feet)

3. Rock House

4. Give Me Some Love

5. Shake It Up

6. Double Talk Baby

8. Mona Lisa

10. Make Me Know You're Mine

11. Hey Little Lucy (Don'tcha Put No Lipstick On)

12. Danny Boy

13. Hey Miss Ruby

15. She's Mine

16. Foggy River

19. Lonely Blue Boy

20. The Hurt In My Heart

21. Tell Me One More Time

22. Long Black Train

23. It's Driving Me Wild

24. Blue Suede Shoes

25. Platinum High School

28. My Baby Left Me

30. Is A Bluebird Blue

x

Track List: The Legend

Disc 1

1. Hello Darlin'

2. Touch The Hand

3. Lost Her Love On Our Last Date

4. (Lying Here With) Linda On My Mind

6. Baby's Gone

7. I'm Not Through Loving You Yet

8. Don't Cry Joni

9. Danny Boy

10. I Can't Believe She Gives It All To Me

Disc 2

1. You've Never Been This Far Before

2. After All The Good Is Gone

3. Fifteen Years Ago

4. I Can't See Me Without You

6. She Needs Someone To Hold Her When She Cries

7. To See My Angel Cry

8. I'll Try

9. It's Only Make Believe

10. As Soon As I Hang Up The Phone

x

Track List: 20 Classics

1. It's Only Make Believe

2. I'll Try

3. Danny Boy

4. To See My Angel Cry

5. Hello Darlin'

6. Fifteen Years Ago

7. I Can't See Me Without You

8. (Lost Her Love) On Our Last Date

10. Baby's Gone

11. You've Never Been This Far Before

12. I'm Not Through Loving You Yet

13. As Soon As I Hang Up The Phone

14. Linda On My Mind

15. Touch The Hand

16. Don't Cry Joni

17. This Time I've Hurt Her More (Than She Loves Me)

18. After All The Good Is Gone

19. The Games That Daddies Play

20. I Can't Believe She Gives It All To Me

x

Track List: The Best Of Conway Twitty - Vol. 2 - 20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection

1. Next In Line

2. Fifteen Years Ago

3. Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man

4. I See The Want To In Your Eyes

5. Play, Guitar, Play

6. Don't Take It Away

7. Happy Birthday, Darlin'

8. A Bridge That Just Won't Burn

9. Red Neckin' Love Makin' Night

10. Julia

11. That's My Job

12. She's Got A Single Thing On Her Mind

x

Track List: The Best Of Conway Twitty

1. Heavenly

2. Mona Lisa

3. It's Only Make Believe

4. Halfway To Heaven

5. What Am I Living For

6. Big Town

7. I'll Try

9. Born To Sing The Blues

10. Double Talk Baby

12. Danny Boy

13. Lonely Blue Boy

14. The Hurt In My Heart

17. Where I Stand

19. You Made Me What I Am

x

Track List: The Conway Twitty Collection

Disc 1

3. Rock House

4. I Need Your Lovin'

5. It's Only Make Believe

6. The Story Of My Love

7. Lonely Blue Boy

8. What Am I Living For

9. Unchained Melody

10. The Next Kiss (Is The Last Goodbye)

15. Guess My Eyes Were Bigger Than My Heart

16. The Image Of Me

17. Next In Line

19. To See My Angel Cry

21. Hello Darlin'

22. Fifteen Years Ago

23. How Much More Can She Stand

Disc 2

3. (Lost Her Love) On Our Last Date

4. I Can't Stop Loving You

5. She Needs Someone To Hold Her (When She Cries)

6. Baby's Gone

8. You've Never Been This Far Before

9. There's A Honky Tonk Angel (Who'll Take Me Back In)

10. I'm Not Through Loving You Yet

11. As Soon As I Hang Up The Phone

12. I See The Want To In Your Eyes

13. Linda On My Mind

14. Touch The Hand

18. This Time I've Hurt Her More Than She Loves Me

19. After All The Good Is Gone

20. The Games That Daddies Play

21. (I Can't Believe) She Gives It All To Me

22. Play Guitar Play

Disc 3

1. I've Already Loved You In My Mind

4. Boogie Grass Band

5. Don't Take It Away

6. I May Never Get To Heaven

8. Happy Birthday Darlin'

9. I'd Love To Lay You Down

11. A Bridge That Just Won't Burn

13. Rest Your Love On Me

14. Tight Fittin' Jeans

15. Red Neckin' Love Makin' Night

16. We Had It All

17. The Clown

18. Slow Hand

19. The Rose

20. Somebody's Needin' Somebody

21. I Don't Know A Thing About Love

22. Julia

Disc 4

1. I Want To Know You Before We Make Love

2. That's My Job

3. Goodbye Time

4. Saturday Night Special

5. (I Wish I Was) Still In Your Dreams

7. She's Got A Single Thing In Mind

8. House On Old Lonesome Road

9. Who's Gonna Know

10. Crazy In Love

11. I Couldn't See You Leavin'

13. Who Did They Think He Was

15. Don't It Make You Lonely

17. I Will Always Find My Way To You

19. Clinging To A Saving Hand

x

Track List: Conway Twitty's Greatest Hits Vol 2

1. You've Never Been This Far Before

2. Linda On My Mind

3. It's Only Make Believe

4. Baby's Gone

5. I'm Not Through Loving You Yet

6. The Games That Daddy's Play

7. Don't Cry Joni

8. After All The Good Is Gone

9. (Lost Her Love) On Our Last Date

10. She Needs Someone To Hold Her (When She Cries)

x

Track List: Hello Darlin: 15 #1 Hits

1. After All The Good Is Gone

2. As Soon As I Hang Up The Phone

3. Baby's Gone

4. Fifteen Years Ago

5. Hello Darlin'

6. I Can't See Me Without You

7. I'm Not Through Loving You Yet

8. It's Only Make Believe

9. This Time I've Hurt Her More Than She Loves Me

10. (Lying Here With) Linda On My Mind

11. The Games That Daddies Play

12. She Needs Someone To Hold Her (When She Cries)

13. To See An Angel Cry

14. Touch The Hand

15. You've Never Been This Far Before

x

Track List: Let Me Be The Judge

1. Let Me Be The Judge

2. Where I Stand

3. Ever Since You Went Away

4. Big Town

7. Have I Been Away Too Long

8. Turn The Other Cheek

11. He Had A True Love

12. You Made Me What I Am Today

13. Treat Me Mean, Treat Me Cruel

Comments

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ah yes, the dances.
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My grandpa sings all of these and he is good I LOVE YOU GRANDPA!!
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I love this song
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Oh yes!
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This is real country music
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colliegal105 8
Love love this song we never e r hear it anymore
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One of my favorite songs of
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Rockabilly at its best..
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Great song
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Absolutely no one better!!
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My daughter was with Grandpa and came home singing " Love to Lay you Down"! She was a year and half .... she is 45 now! She still remembers ALL the words.!!
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Yeah I'm 12 year old and love me some Conway this is the real country
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There's nothing like good old country music!!
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Good Conway Twitty you make me melt.
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Wow Conway you know how to say it in the most sexual way but yet still be so romantic LOL I love it
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Ooooh those tight fittin jeans will do it every time ;-)
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I love this station! It takes me back to when I was a child. My mother LOVED this man! And so do I because d her!
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sexpounders
I'm laying here with brandy on my mind
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stockard821
My grandpa passed away but when I was born conway twitty was all he listened to. It makes me sad but I love hearing conway cause I can feel his presence when I listen to him
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I would like to lay down is the best song out there from Conway
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veggiearies
He's a favorite! ❤That Voice!
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This back when country music was country
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Conway's songs and delivery style, as well as ALL the other Classic Country singers / balladeers like George Jones et al, will NEVER BE REPLACED by the "new" country!!!
Don't take these treasured voices and music from us fans, please!
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Don't take it away
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Oh darlin how I love to lay down❤
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Love his voice
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Damn! I love this mans voice and his songs are sexy❤
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When I saw him in concert he wrote on my program Hello Darling. ~ Teresa
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Sinfully beautiful!!! ! ! ! !
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He was awesome
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Love his voice
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what else needs to be said but what a hell of a voice
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His music will live on forever .just because it's the best .
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Left us way too soon a great country voice was silenced the day he died
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Tears ones heart out....what a talent. RIP.
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harleymawmaw
He was an awesome singer.
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Gone to soon��
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One the best
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People do not realize how many chartered hits this man had, another good artist who left us to soon
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My husband Don used to drive over the road semi. He would call me up and say Hello darling and it just made my day, he had a deep voice also. He's not with me anymore but listening to Conway's songs really helps me. He would sing love to lay you down By Conway. He also sang Happy Birthday Darlin to me and my sisters on our birthdays. My Hubby was the best and so was Conway Twitty
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I love the oldies
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Hi I'm Nicholas
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my favorite then and now!
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vivikempf6
M
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Conway Twitty is one of my favorite entertainers of all time! Few artists in any category can hold a candle to him!
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he belongs to history now. young artists could learn a lot just by listening to his works, and the orchestratio n . He's simply one of a kind
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I hope you doing to stay himdaddy's mommy knows and adding you yell for wedding
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A true legend...los t way ahead of time.
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I simply don't understand why there I only 26,000 plus likes.Listen to the lyrics young folks.
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right up there with george jones
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