Conway Twitty is a man that almost everyone knows by name. He was not just a great artist – he had a profound influence in both country and pop music worlds. In fact, he was the first ever to bridge country and pop songs together, creating a new style of music. This earned him a spot in the annals of time with legacy that nobody will ever forget.
Before becoming the superstar that he was, the 25-year-old Twitty showed off one of his performing chops. It was a live version of one of his biggest hits – “It’s Only Make Believe” – to ever strike the charts.
In one of the episodes of the Saturday Night Beech-Nut Show in 1959, Twitty was one of the special guests of Dick Clark. His arrival to the show was anticipated, stirring the crowd into solid excitement. With wild cheers and roars of applause, the audience, especially the ladies, squealed with delight as the young crooner set foot on stage. Twitty then belted out his 1958 country-pop hit, “It’s Only Make Believe.”
Check out the full performance of Conway Twitty as he charms the audience with his ecstatic performance at the Saturday Night Beech-Nut Show in 1959:
“It’s Only Make Believe,” A Single by Conway Twitty
Released on July 14, 1958, “It’s Only Make Believe” was penned by Jack Nance and Twitty himself. The tune went to No. 1 on both the U.S. and the U.K. Singles Chart. In fact, it was Twitty’s only no. 1 single on the pop charts of either country. In addition, the single became a hit in over 22 countries and sold over 8 million copies.
Sources say that Twitty conceived his part of the song while sitting on a fire escape outside his hotel room in Hamilton in Ontario, Canada.
Throughout his career, Twitty had recorded many subsequent versions of “It’s Only Make Believe.” This includes a duet with country music partner Loretta Lynn in 1970. It became a part of their very first collaborative album, We Only Make Believe. Also, Ronnie McDowell had his version in an uptempo cover in 1988. Twitty joined McDowell for the last part of the verse.
Listen to the archived original recording of the song: