Hello Darlin’: Remembering Two-Time Hall of Famer Conway Twitty

MIDNIGHT SPECIAL -- Episode 31 -- Pictured: Conway Twitty
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Conway Twitty started out singing rock ’n’ roll. Inspired by Elvis Presley, he recorded “It’s Only Make Believe” in 1958. Many listeners thought it was a Presley song released under another name, and the song sold 4 million copies. He also had pop hits in “Danny Boy” and “Lonely Blue Boy.”

His first two country albums were largely panned by radio stations that felt he wasn’t a “true” country singer, but his song “Next in Line” broke through in 1968, climbed to No. 1 on the country charts, followed by “Hello Darlin’.” Twitty recorded the song in Russian for broadcast in a gesture of goodwill between U.S. astronauts and Soviet cosmonauts.

Twitty recorded a string of hit duets with Loretta Lynn, including “After the Fire Is Gone” and “Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man.” Together, Twitty and Lynn won four consecutive Country Music Association awards for best vocal duo.

Around 1980 he updated his look, losing his signature slicked-back pompadour for a curlier style and recording smooth country albums into the ’80s. He had hits in this country-pop style with “Tight Fittin’ Jeans” :Slow Hand” and “Don’t Call Him a Cowboy.”

In all, Twitty would have 55 No. 1 hits and sell more than 50 million albums.

Unlike many of his contemporaries, Twitty lived a clean life and was devoted to his family and fans. He never missed a show in 36 years of touring and would stay for hours after concerts signing autographs.

Twitty became ill at a June 1993 concert and died on June 5, 1993 after from an abdominal aortic aneurism. He was 59. He has since been inducted by both the Country Music and Rockabilly Halls of Fame.

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