Hello: Todays artists actually had two careers. One as a rock and roll singer and the second as a country music legend who charted 40 #1 hits between 1968 and 1986. But for today we’ll talk about the first career as a rock star. Conway Twitty was born Harold Lloyd Jenkins on September 1, 1933 in Friars Point, Mississippi and raised in Helena, Arkansas. Legend has it that he felt his real name was not marketable and changed it in 1957. Looking at a road map, he spotted Conway Arkansas and Twitty, Texas creating Conway Twitty.
His first chart success came in September of 1958 on the MGM Records label when the A- side of his record I’LL TRY was fliped over and the B-side was played. That B-side was none other than IT’S ONLY MAKE BELIEVE a monster of a record that climbed the Top 100 to #1 where it stayed for 2 weeks and sold a million copies. As 1959 came in Conway released his secord Top 100 hit with THE STORY OF MY LOVE, sounding in the same vain of It’s Only Make Believe it went to #28 and became a solid follow-up for Conway. 1959 would produce 2 more big hits, a rock version of MONA LISA would also climb the charts, reaching #29. The next hit would put Conway back in the Top 10, as again a standard would get the rock treatment. DANNY BOY would spend 18 weeks on the Top 100 and reach #10.
As 1959 was coming to a close Conway released a song that Elvis Presley recorded for the movie “King Creole” in 1958, the song was DANNY. Conway changed the name to LONELY BLUE BOY and had his second biggest rock record, charting at #6 on the Top 100. 1960 would produce 3 more Top 40 hits, they were, WHAT AM I LIVING FOR reaching #26, IS A BLUEBIRD BLUE at #35 and C’EST SI BON (It’s So Good) reaching #22.
After 1960 Conway only placed 2 more records on the Top 100 and they were modest hits reaching no higher than #72. In 1965 he began a second career, that of a country singer and as they say, the rest is history. For a brief period, some believed he was Elvis Presley recording under a different name. I can personally remember going to the record shop and asking for Elvis’s new record “It’s Only Make Believe”, only to find that it was in fact Conway Twitty.
Sadly, Conway Twitty died on June 5, 1993 at the age of 59. He left the world, his gift of music to live on forever.
Till the next time—Joe