It is fully remembered that the late Conway Twitty had a fulfilling career throughout his life. As proof, he charted over 50 number one songs in the Billboard charts especially in country music, pop and other music publications. His song, “Hello Darlin’,” is actually his signature song and his most known song. And then, there were others that paved his success and earned him the greatest limelight of his career.
In July 1979, Conway released “I May Never Get to Heaven,” a hit that would add up to his no. 1 hit collection. However, prior to this, the song dates way back around two decades earlier. In fact, this was originally recorded by fellow country music artist Don Gibson in 1960.
“I May Never Get to Heaven:” Conway Twitty’s 22nd No. 1 Hit
Written by good friends, Bill Anderson and Buddy Killen, “I May Never Get to Heaven” was recorded and made famous by Conway Twitty in 1979. It was the second single from his album Cross Winds. Conway co-produced it with David Barnes for MCA Records.
To note, “I May Never Get to Heaven” became Conway’s 22nd no.1 song to hit the country charts. In fact, it stayed a total of 10 weeks on the Billboard Hot Country Songs. In addition, it also peaked at no. 1 on the RPM Country Tracks in Canada.
Aside from Gibson’s and Conway’s renditions, “I May Never Get to Heaven” was also covered by other artists. Most notably, Wanda Jackson rendered hers in 1961, and Aretha Franklin in 1967.
A Song about Anderson’s College Heartbreak
Bill Anderson, one of the songwriters, was the song’s inspiration. He came up with the song because of his breakup with his ex-girlfriend way back in college.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, Anderson revealed:
“I was living in Nashville, but I really hadn’t moved here to stay. I had to leave and go back home to Georgia and finish some college courses that I thought I had finished but I found out that I hadn’t. And I’d been dating this girl and we’d broken up and I was just sittin’ around my little one-room apartment just thinking about our relationship. That lyric was pretty much right from the heart. ‘I may never get to heaven, but I almost did one time.'”
Little did he know that his college heartbreak would soon become an all-time hit by several artists. Upon hearing the arranged melody, Don Gibson immediately owned the song and quickly recorded it. It reached no. 2 in 1960. Almost 20 years later, “I May Never Get to Heaven” made its way into the hands of Conway Twitty who soon placed it to the no. 1 spot.
LISTEN to Don Gibson’s original rendition of his 1960 recording, “I May Never Get to Heaven:”
WATCH: Conway Twitty performs “I May Never Get to Heaven” live on Hee Haw in 1979.
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