The Scribes Behind the Song
Unlike the Baseball Hall of Famers, Nashville has the Songwriters Association that honors songwriters when they can still enjoy the fruits of their labor. It is the same as the case Bill Anderson who was inducted back in 1975. The year after, Anderson started a new series of successful recordings with a producer named Buddy Killen.
The friendship between Buddy Killen and Anderson went goes back to more than two decades. Killen came to the Music City originally as a bass player. He met Whispering Bill through Roger Miller. Getting along very well, Killen and Anderson wrong several songs together, one of which was “I May Never Get To Heaven.” Inspired by a breakup with a girlfriend, Bill wrote the lyrics of the song in 1959. He brought the lyrics to Killen who immediately sat down at the piano and created a melody.
How It Became a Hit
After several years, a lot of artists covered the song like Aretha Franklin (R.I.P.), however, it didn’t become a hit until Conway Twitty. He took the song to the top of Billboard’s Hot Country Singles Chart back on September 8, 1979, marking his 27th No. 1 hit.
Conway Twitty had known of “I May Never Get To Heaven” hearing the original version of Don Gibson back in 1960. During that time, Conway was still in the rock n’ roll genre. Even though he knew that he would eventually end up going into the country genre. He knew it very well because whenever he hears a new country song, he especially like it and he would save it for future use. Twenty years after hearing the song for the first time, he thought that it was time to cover the song.
Buddy Killen almost forgot about the song during that time. However, he got excited when he found out that the Conway Twitty was going to record the song and release it as a single. Killen always felt the potential of the song. He was disappointed that the song didn’t become a hit back when it was first written. Moreover, he thought that Conway Twitty’s recording was perfect. That time, the song was performed the way how Killen had envisioned it to be.