Discussion:
The Number Ones: Conway Twitty’s “It’s Only Make Believe”
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Bob Roman
2018-11-04 03:16:18 UTC
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A writer named Tom Breihan has been reviewing, in order, every song to hit #1 in the Billboard Hot 100.

Conway Twitty – “It’s Only Make Believe”
HIT #1: November 10, 1958
STAYED AT #1: 2 weeks

Our first banger! In 1957, a former Army serviceman and Major League Baseball prospect named Harold Lloyd Jenkins, originally from Mississippi, changed his name to Conway Twitty and started making rock ‘n’ roll, recording with Sam Phillips at Sun Studios in Memphis. While playing shows in Hamilton, Ontario, Twitty and drummer Jack Nance wrote “It’s Only Make Believe,” a heart-crushed ballad about wishing someone loved you as much as you love them. It started out as a B-side, but the B-side won. Twitty would go on to country-music legend status over the next few decades, but “It’s Only Make Believe,” which topped charts around the world, would always be his biggest hit.

“It’s Only Make Believe” manages to be both a rock ‘n’ roll song and a country one, but it’s also a grand and showstopping ballad, one that could’ve been a hit in the pre-rock era if it had a big-band backing. A lot of it comes down to Twitty’s voice, a husky twang with more than a little Elvis in it. Twitty sings it the way someone might sing a triumphant love-ballad, building up to a climactic howl on the chorus. But there’s nothing triumphant about the song. Instead, it’s the cry of a man who’s breaking down and abandoning hope: “My only prayer will be / Someday you’ll care for me / But it’s ooooooon-ly make beliiiiiieve.” There’s self-pity in his voice, but there’s accusation, too. The arrangement, with its aaaah-aaaaah backing vocals and its R&B piano, leaves Twitty’s sentiment stark and bare.

“It’s Only Make Believe,” like a lot of other old #1 hits, ended up being covered again and again. Twitty himself recorded it a few times, including once as a duet with Loretta Lynn, and Glen Campbell had a top-10 pop hit with his own version in 1970. But in the case of “It’s Only Make Believe,” I don’t think it was nostalgia that kept people coming back to this song. I think people kept recording it because it’s a powerful expression of a deeply raw feeling.

GRADE: 9/10
Mark Dintenfass
2018-11-04 03:37:17 UTC
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Post by Bob Roman
A writer named Tom Breihan has been reviewing, in order, every song to hit #1
in the Billboard Hot 100.
Conway Twitty ­ ³It¹s Only Make Believe²
HIT #1: November 10, 1958
STAYED AT #1: 2 weeks
Our first banger! In 1957, a former Army serviceman and Major League Baseball
prospect named Harold Lloyd Jenkins, originally from Mississippi, changed his
name to Conway Twitty and started making rock Œn¹ roll, recording with Sam
Phillips at Sun Studios in Memphis. While playing shows in Hamilton, Ontario,
Twitty and drummer Jack Nance wrote ³It¹s Only Make Believe,² a heart-crushed
ballad about wishing someone loved you as much as you love them. It started
out as a B-side, but the B-side won. Twitty would go on to country-music
legend status over the next few decades, but ³It¹s Only Make Believe,² which
topped charts around the world, would always be his biggest hit.
³It¹s Only Make Believe² manages to be both a rock Œn¹ roll song and a
country one, but it¹s also a grand and showstopping ballad, one that could¹ve
been a hit in the pre-rock era if it had a big-band backing. A lot of it
comes down to Twitty¹s voice, a husky twang with more than a little Elvis in
it. Twitty sings it the way someone might sing a triumphant love-ballad,
building up to a climactic howl on the chorus. But there¹s nothing triumphant
about the song. Instead, it¹s the cry of a man who¹s breaking down and
abandoning hope: ³My only prayer will be / Someday you¹ll care for me / But
it¹s ooooooon-ly make beliiiiiieve.² There¹s self-pity in his voice, but
there¹s accusation, too. The arrangement, with its aaaah-aaaaah backing
vocals and its R&B piano, leaves Twitty¹s sentiment stark and bare.
³It¹s Only Make Believe,² like a lot of other old #1 hits, ended up being
covered again and again. Twitty himself recorded it a few times, including
once as a duet with Loretta Lynn, and Glen Campbell had a top-10 pop hit with
his own version in 1970. But in the case of ³It¹s Only Make Believe,² I don¹t
think it was nostalgia that kept people coming back to this song. I think
people kept recording it because it¹s a powerful expression of a deeply raw feeling.
GRADE: 9/10
Grade: A-
--
--md
_________
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RWC
2018-11-04 04:37:26 UTC
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Post by Bob Roman
It started out as a B-side, but the B-side won.
http://www.45cat.com/record/mgm992

The words he sings:
http://www.rockabilly.nl/lyrics2/i0064.htm

Let's hear the flip again:
www.youtube.com/results?search_query=I'll_Try_Conway_Twitty

Bio at Black Cat Rockabilly for Conway Twitty (b. Harold Lloyd Jenkins, 1933):
http://www.rockabilly.nl/references/messages/conway_twitty.htm
SavoyBG
2018-11-04 04:52:57 UTC
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"It's Only Make Believe" is a very good record, but I prefer a couple of his earlier records, the ones he did for Mercury.

My favorite is "Shake It Up" followed by the hit "I Need Your Lovin'" and then Maybe Baby." Then "Double Talk Baby." Then "It's Only Make Believe."

"Golly Gosh Oh Gee" is a straight copy of "Paralyzed" by Elvis with different words. "Born To Sing The Blues" is a good ballad.
Roger Ford
2018-11-04 08:31:05 UTC
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Post by SavoyBG
"It's Only Make Believe" is a very good record, but I prefer a couple of his earlier records, the ones he did for Mercury.
My favorite is "Shake It Up" followed by the hit "I Need Your Lovin'" and then Maybe Baby." Then "Double Talk Baby." Then "It's Only Make Believe."
"Golly Gosh Oh Gee" is a straight copy of "Paralyzed" by Elvis with different words. "Born To Sing The Blues" is a good ballad.
Yeah I always liked "Shake It Up" which was his first ever single here
in the UK. I think it was only ever a 78RPM here which is how I have
it. Never seen a UK 45rpm. And yes,"It's Only Make Believe" is very
good indeed but it isn't quite my favorite by him on M-G-M.

That honor goes to his later "Mystery Train"-derived "Long Black
Train" recorded in 1960 which I believe he originally did for Sun back
in 1956 but which tape is now considered lost.

ROGER FORD
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RWC
2018-11-05 00:44:25 UTC
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Post by SavoyBG
"Golly Gosh Oh Gee" is a straight copy of "Paralyzed" by Elvis with different words.
My favorite is "Shake It Up"...
Following the opening repeated directive to "Shake It Up", does this song also,
remind you of another rocker? - see below
Post by SavoyBG
"Born To Sing The Blues" is a good ballad.
Yes, and not too dissimilar in style, is another Twitty fave of mine,
"Crazy Dreams"

For me, he was most impressive with slow to mid-tempo ballads, which more
effectively highlighted/exploited his deep, resonant, down-home voice.

- Shake, Rattle and Roll.

========================================================

Wiki: Twitty always wanted to record country music, and, beginning in 1965, he
did just that. Disc jockeys on some country-music radio stations refused to play
his first few country albums, because he was known as a rock-and-roll singer.
However, he had his first top five country hit, "The Image of Me", in July 1968,
followed by his first number one country song, "Next in Line", in November 1968.
Few of his singles, beginning in 1968, ranked below the top five...
Steve Mc
2018-11-05 00:59:47 UTC
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Post by SavoyBG
"It's Only Make Believe" is a very good record, but I prefer a couple of his earlier records, the ones he did for Mercury.
My favorite is "Shake It Up" followed by the hit "I Need Your Lovin'" and then Maybe Baby." Then "Double Talk Baby." Then "It's Only Make Believe."
"Golly Gosh Oh Gee" is a straight copy of "Paralyzed" by Elvis with different words. "Born To Sing The Blues" is a good ballad.
I just found on YouTube's sidebar another possibility for Bill's
greatest country song titles list : You're The Reason Our Kids Are Ugly.
--
Steve Mc

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Dennis C
2018-11-05 01:21:01 UTC
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What with this new popularity in hip hop and country fusion ( see Georgia Florida Line) I'm embarking on a recording career. I'm going to record under the name of Kanye Twitty. My first tune: "Hello Bitch" gets released next week,baby!!
SavoyBG
2018-11-05 01:29:25 UTC
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Post by Dennis C
What with this new popularity in hip hop and country fusion ( see Georgia Florida Line) I'm embarking on a recording career. I'm going to record under the name of Kanye Twitty. My first tune: "Hello Bitch" gets released next week,baby!!
Let's make it a duo!

I'll be Conway West!

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