With over fifty No. 1 albums, record-breaking attendance at concerts, and countless awards, guess we can safely say Conway Twitty made a permanent spot for himself as a country music legend. Thanks to hit songs like “Hello Darlin’,” Twitty’s legacy will never fade.
Even though most of his songs reached the top spot on the charts, “Hello Darlin'” became his biggest country hit and remained to be his signature song. It was named the No. 1 song in 1970 and stayed on that spot for four weeks. Impressive, isn’t it?
It Took an Entire Decade Before the Public Ever Heard “Hello Darlin'”
Written by Conway Twitty himself, the emotional ballad describes an encounter with a past flame and the misery of the one that got away. It begins with, “Hello darlin’, nice to see you. It’s been a long time. You’re just as lovely as you used to be.” Aren’t these the lyrics that anyone can relate to?
But did you know the song exist for an entire decade before the public ever heard it?
During the days when Conway Twitty embraced a career in rock and roll, he would still frequently write country songs; however, he had no outlets to record them. As a result, he would simply drop cassette copies into a huge box and place them into storage. Twitty finally shifted to country in 1969. He took out the piece he had written ten years ago and played it for record producer Owen Bradley.
Bradley liked it, and they went to work on it. But when Twitty sang the opening lines during the recording, it did not work for some reasons. So Bradley suggested speaking the lines instead of singing it. The result was a hook that made the song recognizable to fans at once.
The iconic song went on to become Conway’s concert opener. Oftentimes, singing it with his favorite co-singer, Loretta Lynn. It’s a beautiful song that is even lovelier when sung by two of Country Music’s greatest artists!
The Song Was Even Recorded in Russian
It’s no longer a surprise how “Hello Darlin'” had as much success as it did. The country legend even once recorded the song in Russian, and was named “Privet Radost.”
The new version was commissioned for the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, the first joint space flight between the United States and the Soviet Union. The recording was played by the American astronauts in 1975 while onboard the Apollo module to Russian cosmonauts flying in Soyuz 19. It served as a gesture of peace and goodwill toward the Russians after years of strained relations.
“All of a sudden, the talking stopped, and the song started playing: ‘Privet Radost,'” Twitty said in his autobiography. “That song was played in Russian all around the world. I don’t know how many millions of people heard it–the only time anything like that had ever happened! It was a tremendous experience.”
Although “Privet Radost” was released as a single during that year, it didn’t make it onto the country or pop charts. It may have a great story behind it, but it did not have the same smooth rhythm as the original.
Over decades since the release of “Hello Darlin’,” many artists have covered the classic song too. In 1993, George Jones recorded the track for the album, High Tech Redneck, and was considered to be part of Jones’ tribute to Conway Twitty who died earlier that year.
Loretta Lynn also recorded a cover version of the song on her 1971 album Coal Miner’s Daughter. Among the artists recording cover versions of “Hello Darlin'” were Charley Pride, Lynn Anderson, Wanda Jackson, Bobby Bare, and so much more.
Even though these talented covers are amazing, no one can sing “Hello Darlin'” quite like Conway Twitty. His music will forever pay tribute to the legacy he left behind. Don’t miss his performance of the signature song, watch it below.