Daily Song Study

Conway Twitty – It’s Only Make Believe

In songs on January 12, 2012 at 9:14 am

The 1950s were a good time for unrequited love songs, and this is one of the best.

In a time before the reign of lyrical irony, the sentiment is raw and emotional, much like Twitty’s voice. His original version in 1958 was a deliberate Elvis pastiche (leading many listeners to believe it was Presley recording under another name), but this later recording is definitely his own.

Written by Twitty (born Harold Lloyd Jenkins) and Jack Nance, it is a masterpiece of slowly compounded dynamic pressure, each chord notching the melody up in intensity until…well, it sounds like I’m describing something else here, doesn’t it? Twitty was indeed the Barry White of country music, and this song is a good example of why.

It’s also a good showcase of doing a lot with very little. Only a few chords, not many words, and yet there’s a lot going on. Quality, not quantity.

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  1. […] Yesterday’s ramble through classic country alerted me to the fact that I haven’t yet included a Willie Nelson song in this series yet. That must be remedied. […]

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