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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, he was praised and mourned from all quarters of the public, not just country music fans, and his record of over 40 number one hits remains unlikely to be surpassed. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: The Conway Twitty Collection

Disc 1
Disc 2
Disc 3
Disc 4

Comments

Love Conway
Yellow poker dotted bikini
Little Conway, please
No more great vocal sounds from him his voice is great. Great hair too. :0))
Love you dad
WHAT A GREAT LOST DEATH OF CONWAY TWITTY.ITS HARD TO BELEIVE HE'S GONE.W/LOVE FOR CONWAY S.L.
See what im talking about
Great stuff pandora. Thank you for all the
Memories
I love this song it's goodbye time
Conway Twitty was utterly amazing when he sang! Didn't care for the period when he moved away from the traditional genre - he was country and that is what defined him.
O darling how I'd love to lay u down! Nice, Conway
Tight fittin jeans
mine aswell
omiller7346
My favorite song is "hello darling"
R.IP. Conway twitty
I'd love to lay you down - GREAT SONG!!!!!
Always, Conway soothes the soul from today's times hustle and bustle. So, remember the simple things in life if you forget, and if you do forget, turn on Conway, he will get you through.
jack.snow
Say hi to Conway for me Mama!!! Don't be jealous Pop, she loved you too, he just sang better!!! Lifelong Twitty fan!
Smooth !
Trying to grieve my great grandma's death today
Out of sight!
hunterwren6
Bill-Arlene8 me to
hunterwren6
Conway u rule
hunterwren6
I'm only 11 been listing to this music since I was born this is real country this new country sucks!!!! ����������
Help darin
i want to play the game daddys play
I really /do not enjoy this Music.
Brings back many old times back roads and some music and?????? Ha ha
He'll take u back, when it seems times were easier & simple.
Tight fittn jeans mmhhhmm
I love George and Conway they are the best singers ever
Love Conway Twitty �� he's the sound of good ol' country music
Conway Twitty will forever be listened to as long as country music exists on the Internet on Pandora and iheart radio because he was and is pure classic country.
R.I.P, Conway! County music of today sucks. There are absolutely no talented singers in the "country music business" any more. Thank goodness we have Pandora so that we do not have to listen to these untalented country music singers of today! :'(
I bet Conway had a lot of panties thrown at him in his day...lol ; )
shirlnbama
Alan Jackson has a hit here.
love all his music
Yes, Country Music has always been strong in my life and heart. I've listen to other music, but away came back to country.
I love his music:) it takes me back when I was growing up at Grandpa's:) RIP CONWAY& RIP GRANDPA
Seen him at Laughlin Nev. total professional worked really hard
Conway Twitty , what can I say u r great !!!!!
leamas1957
I met Joe E. Lewis, Conway s lead singer. Joe always started the shows with "Rollin in my sweet babies arms" I became engaged to Joe in 1976..He was killed in a car accident shortly after. .so sad!!
I saw conway in 1974 great concert for a young teenager
Oh what the hell give me another tequila n a 12 beers plz !!!!!!!!
nkisling1
awesome radio station
ph724
Did Conway and Loretty ever do the deed? I think he hit it!!
I LOVE CONWAY TWITTY. HES MY HERO & IDOL. HES THE VERY BEST
The best song I have ever heard by him
Love this song
don't forget that Loretta Lynn is having a benefit for Mr. Twitty at her Dude Ranch. I love them both and aint too far from her Dude Ranch!:)
Don't read this because it actually works. You will be kissed on the nearest possible Friday by the love of your life. However if you don't read this you will die in two days. Now that you've started reading this don't stop. This is so scary. Put this on five songs in the next 143 min. when your done press F6 an your lovers name will pop up on your screen in big letters. Trust me it works
Ehh
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