It's Only Make Believe

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"It's Only Make Believe"
Single by Conway Twitty
from the album Conway Twitty Sings
B-side "I'll Try"
Released July 14, 1958
Format 7" single
Genre Country, rockabilly, pop
Length 2:28
Label MGM Records
Writer(s) Jack Nance, Conway Twitty
Conway Twitty singles chronology
"I Need Your Lovin'"
(1957)
"It's Only Make Believe"
(1958)
"The Story of My Love"
(1959)

"It's Only Make Believe" is a song written by Jack Nance and American country music artist Conway Twitty, released by Twitty as a single in July 1958. The single topped both U.S.[1] and the UK Singles Chart,[2] and was Twitty's only number-one single on the pop charts of either country. It is believed that Twitty wrote his part of the song while sitting on a fire escape outside his hotel room, to escape the summer heat, in Hamilton, Ontario. Twitty had come to Canada at the request of another American singer, Rompin' Ronnie Hawkins, due to Hawkins saying to Twitty that Canada was the 'promised land' for music.[citation needed]

Twitty recorded many subsequent versions of "It's Only Make Believe", including a 1970 duet with Loretta Lynn on their very first collaborative album, We Only Make Believe. Twitty joins in on the last verse in a 1988 uptempo cover by Ronnie McDowell, which was a #8 hit on the country music charts. Additionally, Twitty contributed to an alternative cover by McDowell.

Content[edit]

The song's lyrics describe the thoughts and feelings of a man who is in a one-way relationship: he has a girlfriend, but she does not love him and only stays in the relationship for appearances, a fact of which he is painfully aware. He hopes and prays that, at some point in the future, the woman whom he is in love with will return his love, but laments that, at present, "it's only make believe."[citation needed]

Chart performance[edit]

Conway Twitty version[edit]

Chart (1958-1959) Peak
position
Australian Singles Chart 5
Canadian Singles Chart 1
Italian Singles Chart 9
Norwegian Singles Chart 2
UK Singles Chart[2] 1
US Billboard Hot 100 1

Cover versions[edit]

  • The Hollies covered it in 1963.
  • Billy Fury had a UK #10 hit with his version in 1964, which also went to #1 in Singapore.
  • Roy Hamilton recorded a version at Chips Moman's American studios in Memphis in 1969.
  • Glen Campbell's 1970 recording became a top ten hit in both the United States and United Kingdom.
  • Ronnie McDowell had a #8 single on the Billboard country chart in 1988 after recording the song as a duet with Twitty.
  • The pop band Child released the song as a single in 1978, reaching the top ten in the UK Charts.
  • Australian rock band Cold Chisel recorded a thundering version of the song in 1983 on their Barking Spiders Live album.
  • Canadian country music singer Carroll Baker covered the song on her 1991 compilation Her Finest Collection. It was released as the album's first single and peaked at number 28 on the RPM Country Tracks chart.[3]
  • The horror punk band Misfits have a cover version on their 2003 covers album Project 1950, retitled "Only Make Believe".
  • Queen guitarist Brian May has also covered it, his band consisting of Cozy Powell, Jamie Moses, Spike Edney & Neil Murray. May's cover was on the b-side of his 1998 single "Why Don't We Try Again".
  • Clay Aiken recorded the song for his 2010 album Tried and True.
  • In 2012, Fiona Apple performed the song as the closing number of all the shows in her The Idler Wheel Tour.[citation needed]

Chart performance[edit]

Glen Campbell version[edit]

Chart (1970) Peak
position
Australian Kent Music Report 1[4]
Canadian RPM Country Tracks 4
Canadian RPM Top Singles 5
Euro Hit 50 10
Irish Singles Chart 3
New Zealand Singles Chart 2
U.K. Singles Chart 4
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 10
U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles 3
U.S. Billboard Easy Listening 2

Year-end chart[edit]

Chart (1970) Peak
position
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 99
Canadian RPM Top Singles 76
U.S. Cashbox Top 100 66

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits: Eighth Edition. Record Research. p. 647. 
  2. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. pp. 92–3. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  3. ^ "RPM Country Tracks". RPM. February 23, 1991. Retrieved September 8, 2013. 
  4. ^ "Go-Set Australian charts - 26 December 1970". Poparchives.com.au. 1970-12-26. Retrieved 2013-02-14. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
"It's All in the Game"
by Tommy Edwards
Billboard Hot 100 number one single
10 November 1958 (one week)
Succeeded by
"Tom Dooley"
by The Kingston Trio
Preceded by
"Tom Dooley"
by The Kingston Trio
Billboard Hot 100 number one single
24 November 1958 (one week)
Succeeded by
"To Know Him Is to Love Him"
by The Teddy Bears