|Single by Bobby Vinton|
|from the album Roses Are Red|
|B-side||"It's Better to Have Loved"|
|Format||Vinyl, 7", 45 RPM|
|Songwriter(s)||Bobby Vinton, Gene Allan|
Arranged and conducted by Robert Mersey
|Bobby Vinton singles chronology|
Vinton began writing the song while serving in the Army. The song describes a soldier who is sent overseas and has no communication with his home. The singer laments his condition and wishes for someone to talk with. The single of Vinton's recording was released just as the Vietnam War was escalating and many soldiers were experiencing a similar situation. Vinton's version was noted for his sobbing emotionally during the second verse. Vinton and Gene Allan later re-teamed to compose "Coming Home Soldier", which reached No. 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 in January 1967.
Epic Records never had much initial faith in Bobby Vinton, but he turned out to be their best selling artist of the 1960s; with this being used as an example of the matter. Bobby included it on his first vocal album "Roses Are Red" (it was done in a single take), but it was not initially released as a single. He wanted the single to be a follow up to his first hit "Roses Are Red" but Epic's executives went with the decidedly similar "Rain Rain Go Away" and then gave "Mr. Lonely" to Buddy Greco, whom they were grooming as their next big superstar. Greco's version reached No. 64 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart on November 10, 1962. When Vinton heard Greco's version on the radio, the executives at the company confessed to him that the move was made because they felt he was not a singer, but rather, a musician and a songwriter. However, in the following months, Bobby's continued success as a vocalist proved them wrong. Many months later, when Epic was preparing a "Greatest Hits" album, they had eleven cuts and asked Bobby what should be the twelfth; "Mr. Lonely" was his response to the question. Following its inclusion, many disc jockeys started to play it - particularly those who remembered Buddy Greco's version and how Epic had shortchanged Bobby on his own song. With this newfound playing came many a demand for "Mr. Lonely" to be released as a single. "Mr. Lonely" became one of Bobby's signature songs and a favorite with servicemen around the world. Epic subsequently built an entire album release around "Mr. Lonely" when it became a hit as a single.
The song spent 15 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100, reaching No. 1 on December 12, 1964, while reaching No. 3 on Billboard's Middle-Road Singles chart. In Canada, the song reached No. 1 on RPM's "Top 40 & 5" chart. The song also reached No. 2 on New Zealand's "Lever Hit Parade", No. 8 in Australia, and entered into the top 3 in South Africa.
Johnny Hallyday version (in French)
Covers and adaptations
Philippine singer Victor Wood made a bilingual version of the song, alternating the original lyrics with Filipino ones. This particular cover version became popular in the Philippines and gave some fame to the entertainer.
In 2005, Senegalese-American R&B and hip hop singer Akon borrowed and sampled lyrics from this song for his 2005 hit single Lonely, which features on his debut studio album Trouble. This song uses a sped-up sample of the earlier song, reminiscent of the fictitious animated singing group Alvin and the Chipmunks.
The song was parodied in the 2006 animated film Flushed Away.
- Alan Levy, "His movie got him money but no fame", Life, March 12, 1965. p. 78
- Bobby Vinton "Mr. Lonely" OldieLyrics. Accessed October 18, 2015
- Bob Leszczak, "Who Did It First?: Great Pop Cover Songs and Their Original Artists", Rowman & Littlefield, Mar 13, 2014. p. 134
- Bobby Vinton - Chart History - The Hot 100, Billboard.com. Accessed July 28, 2016.
- Buddy Greco - Chart History - The Hot 100, Billboard.com. Accessed October 16, 2015
- "Bobby Vinton - Rain Rain Go Away (Stereo)". YouTube. 2014-08-27. Retrieved 2017-06-04.
- "Bobby Vinton - Mr Lonely (Stereo)". YouTube. 2016-01-02. Retrieved 2017-06-04.
- Bobby Vinton - Chart History - Adult Contemporary, Billboard.com. Accessed October 16, 2015
- "Middle-Road Singles", Billboard, November 21, 1964. p. 33. Accessed October 16, 2015
- "Top 40 & 5", RPM Weekly, Volume 2, Ed. 16, December 14, 1964. Accessed October 16, 2015
- "Lever Hit Parade" 21-Jan-1965, Flavour of New Zealand. Accessed October 17, 2015
- "Hits of the World", Billboard, January 30, 1965. p. 20. Accessed October 17, 2015
- "Hits of the World", Billboard, April 24, 1965. p. 22. Accessed October 17, 2015
- Bobby Vinton - Mr. Lonely, Ultratop. Accessed October 17, 2015
- Sam at Discogs
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