Conway Twitty (Wikimedia Commons/United Talent Inc./MCA Records)
Twenty years ago today, country music superstar Conway Twitty died. To mark the day, we’re sharing this September 2012 story by Legacy.com’s own Linnea Crowther. She takes a look back at just a few of Twitty’s dozens of No. 1 hits.
When I decided to write about Conway Twitty, the country music star with the glorious hair, I was thinking I wanted to feature his songs that went to No. 1… but then I discovered that there were not just five or ten… there were actually fifty-five of them.
Country singer Conway Twitty performs in this Aug. 19, 1985, file photo. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, File)
Twitty, in fact, held the record for most No. 1 singles of any artist for decades until George Strait broke it in 2006. Now, I wouldn't mind hearing every one of those 55 No. 1 singles, and I know plenty of our readers would enjoy it too, but I've got a deadline! So I'm going to have to narrow it down to a few of the very best. I'll start with his very first song to make it to the top of the charts.
The 1968 hit "Next in Line" was Twitty's first country No. 1, but it wasn’t his first song to top the charts. That honor goes to "It's Only Make Believe," a song from Twitty’s rock ‘n’ roll days that made it to No. 1 on the pop chart nearly a decade before his next chart-topper. Twitty would later reprise the song in a duet with Loretta Lynn, but he would never again have a No. 1 pop hit – he remained strictly country for the rest of his career.
OK, now how about the first hit to dominate the country chart? "Next in Line" was the beginning of a long string of massive hits for Twitty… and while "It's Only Make Believe" was poppy and doo-woppy, not too country, there's no question that "Next in Line" twangs with the best of them.
Twitty's signature song, "Hello Darlin'," was not just a country chart-topper – it was named the No. 1 country song of the year in 1970. And it became the song Twitty sang to open his concerts.
In 1971, Twitty recorded the first of a series of duets with Loretta Lynn. They were some of his best-loved songs, and – not too surprisingly – a generous handful of them rose to No. 1, starting with "After the Fire is Gone."
Twitty last topped the Billboard charts in 1986, with his single "Desperado Love." It was almost 30 years after his first No. 1 single – and the dozens of chart-toppers in between are testament to Conway Twitty's brilliant career.
Written by Linnea Crowther