It's Just a Matter of Time (song)

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"It's Just a Matter of Time" is a popular song written by Brook Benton and Clyde Otis. The original recording by Benton topped the Billboard rhythm & blues chart in 1959 and peaked at No. 3 on the Hot 100 pop chart, the first in a string of hits for Benton that ran through 1970.[1]

The song later found a second life as a country song, with major hit recordings by three different country music performers during the 1970s and 1980s, two of which hit number one.[2]

Origin and original success[edit]

"It's Just a Matter of Time"
Single by Brook Benton
Released February 1959[3]
Format single
Recorded 1958
Genre pop, rhythm and blues
Length 2:28
Label Mercury 71394
Writer(s) Brook Benton, Belford Hendricks, Clyde Otis
Producer(s) Belford Hendricks
Certification Gold
Brook Benton singles chronology
"Crazy In Love With You"
(1958)
"It's Just a Matter of Time"
(1959)
"Endlessly"
(1959)

Writing[edit]

Brook Benton, Belford Hendricks and Clyde Otis established themselves as a songwriting team in the late 1950s, penning hits for Nat King Cole ("Looking Back") and Clyde McPhatter ("A Lover's Question"). During one songwriting session, Benton expressed frustration that they were not hitting on any good ideas, to which Otis replied, "It's just a matter of time, Brook". Those words inspired them to write a love song from the point of view of a man who misses his love, but believes she will come back to him. [4]

Benton's recording[edit]

Benton and Otis placed the song on a demo tape for Cole, and he agreed to record it. However, Otis became an A&R manager at Mercury Records, and signed Benton to the label. Otis felt that "It's Just A Matter Of Time" would be an ideal single for Benton, and he asked Cole not to record the song so it could be Benton's first release on the label.[5] Belford Hendricks, a classically trained composer, co-wrote and arranged the recording. Benton's version, in a style clearly influenced by Cole, was a quick success, rising to number three on the Billboard pop charts while topping the R&B chart for 9 weeks in the spring of 1959, the longest run atop the chart of any song that year. On April 12, during the song's chart run, Benton made his national television debut, singing the song on The Ed Sullivan Show.[6] While Benton had had one previous minor hit ("A Million Miles From Nowhere"), this success established him to the public, leading to a continuous string of hits through 1962, and occasional success thereafter.[7]

The song featured in the film Boogie Nights (1997).

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (1959) Peak
position
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 3
U.S. R&B Singles 1
Preceded by
"Stagger Lee"
by Lloyd Price
Billboard Hot R&B Singles number-one single
March 9-May 10, 1959
Succeeded by
"Kansas City"
by Wilbert Harrison

The country covers[edit]

Sonny James version[edit]

"It's Just a Matter of Time"
Single by Sonny James
from the album It's Just a Matter of Time
Released January 1970
Format single
Recorded 1969
Genre Country
Length 2:35
Label Capitol 2700
Producer(s) George Richey
Sonny James singles chronology
"Since I Met You Baby"
(1969)
"It's Just a Matter of Time"
(1970)
"My Love"
(1970)

The first cover version that became a country hit was recorded by Sonny James; his version spent four weeks atop the Billboard magazine Hot Country Singles chart in February 1970. The song was James' 10th in a string of 16 consecutive chart-topping single releases, spanning from 1967-1971.

James performed the song on The Ed Sullivan Show on January 11, 1970 (just days after the single was released) and Hee Haw on January 21.[8]

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (1970) Peak
position
U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles 1
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 87
Canadian RPM Country Tracks 4
Canadian RPM Top Singles 85
Preceded by
"A Week in a Country Jail" by Tom T. Hall
Billboard Hot Country Singles
number-one single

February 14-March 7, 1970
Succeeded by
"The Fightin' Side of Me" by Merle Haggard

Glen Campbell version[edit]

"It's Just a Matter of Time"
Single by Glen Campbell
from the album It's Just a Matter of Time
A-side It's Just a Matter of Time
B-side Gene Autry, My Hero
Released October 1985
Format single
Recorded 1985
Genre Country
Length 2:27
Label Atlantic 99600
Producer(s) Harold Shedd
Glen Campbell singles chronology
"(Love Always) Letter to Home"
(1985)
"It's Just a Matter of Time"
(1985)
"Cowpoke"
(1986)

In 1985, Glen Campbell — at the time on the roster of Atlantic America Records — recorded his version and released it as a single. His version peaked at No. 7 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart in February 1986.

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (1985-1986) Peak
position
U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles 7
Canadian RPM Country Tracks 7


Randy Travis version[edit]

"It's Just a Matter of Time"
Single by Randy Travis
from the album No Holdin' Back
B-side "This Day Was Made for You and Me"
Released August 1989
Format 7" 45 RPM
Recorded 1989
Genre Country
Length 3:56
Label Warner Bros. 28841
Writer(s) Brook Benton, Belford Hendricks, Clyde Otis
Producer(s) Richard Perry
Randy Travis singles chronology
"Promises"
(1989)
"It's Just a Matter of Time"
(1989)
"Hard Rock Bottom of Your Heart"
(1990)

Randy Travis became the third country artist to find success with the song. Released in August 1989 as the lead-off single to the album No Holdin' Back, Travis' version became his 10th No. 1 hit on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart.

Travis' bluesy rendition was initially recorded as part of the album Rock, Rhythm & Blues, a 10-song compilation featuring covers of 1950s-era pop hits by 1980s stars. The song was later included on No Holdin' Back after Travis and others liked what they had just recorded.[9]

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (1989) Peak
position
Canada Country Tracks (RPM)[10] 1
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[11] 1

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (1989) Position
Canada Country Tracks (RPM)[12] 35
US Country Songs (Billboard)[13] 78
Preceded by
"Yellow Roses"
by Dolly Parton
Billboard Hot Country Singles
number-one single

December 2, 1989
Succeeded by
"If Tomorrow Never Comes"
by Garth Brooks
Preceded by
"Bayou Boys"
by Eddy Raven
RPM Country Tracks
number-one single

December 2-December 9, 1989
Succeeded by
"Yellow Roses"
by Dolly Parton

References[edit]

  1. ^ Allmusic — "It's Just a Matter of Time"[dead link]
  2. ^ Roland, Tom, "The Billboard Book of Number One Country Hits," Billboard Books, Watson-Guptill Publications, New York, 1991 (ISBN 0-82-307553-2), p. 35
  3. ^ Röhnisch, Claus (Jun 25, 2006). "The Golden 50's". Retrieved Nov 30, 2009. 
  4. ^ Colin Escott, "Clyde Otis: Looking Back". Goldmine, October 1, 1993, pp. 42-43.
  5. ^ goldmine
  6. ^ Luke Crampton and Dafyyd Rees, Rock and Roll Year by Year (Bath, England: DK Publishing, 2003), 900.
  7. ^ Joel Whitburn, Top Pop Singles 1955-1999 (Menomonee Falls, WI: Record Research, 2000), 48-49.
  8. ^ ibid.
  9. ^ Roland, p. 570.
  10. ^ "RPM Country Tracks." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. December 2, 1989. Retrieved August 28, 2013.
  11. ^ "Randy Travis Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Hot Country Songs for Randy Travis.
  12. ^ "RPM Top 100 Country Tracks of 1989". RPM. December 23, 1989. Retrieved August 28, 2013. 
  13. ^ "Best of 1989: Country Songs". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. 1989. Retrieved August 28, 2013. 

See also[edit]