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“The Twelfth of Never:” A Classic Johnny Mathis Covered by Dolly Parton


“The Twelfth of Never” is a classic song that has been recorded numerous times by different artists from different genres of music. In particular, it is a classic pop song recorded in the ’50s.

What is The Twelfth of Never?

Before we check out this classic recording, let us first know what the meaning of Twelfth of Never is. This phrase means time in the future that will never happen. So, twelfth of never becomes an expression.

The Origin of the Song

This classic song was penned by Jerry Livingston and Paul Francis Webster in 1956. It was first recorded by Johnny Mathis on the same year. Mathis was not a fan of this song, that is why he made this as the B-side to his compilation album.

“I didn’t like it because it was all so repetitious, and nothing seemed to happen. And I was really Joe College at that time. I was right out of college and I was hot to trot. I wanted to do something, you know, rah-rah-rah, something earth-shattering – at least pyrotechnical.”

However, without him knowing, this song became a standard single that was recorded various times. Even though Mathis didn’t like the song, it was still released as a single. As a result, it reached number nine on the Billboard pop chart.

the twelfth of never, dolly parton, keith urban, and johnny mathis
Photo Credit: Johnny Mathis/ Billboard

Other Versions

The first artist to make the song score a spot on the country chart was Slim Whitman in 1966. It made it to number seventeen on the chart. His version is the highest charting on the country chart.

David Houston also released his rendition, but it only entered the country chart at number ninety-eight.

Dolly Parton and Keith Urban

One of the greatest names in country music also released her rendition of this classic song. Dolly Parton collaborated with Keith Urban for the recording of “The Twelfth of Never.” Their cover was released as a single in November 2005.

the twelfth of never, keith urban dolly parton
Photo Credit: Keith Urban and Dolly Parton/ Beth Gwinn/Redferns/ Getty Images

Here’s Keith Urban and Dolly Parton. You can hear the lovely sound of the banjo playing louder than any of the instruments. Urban and Parton’s vocals didn’t overpower each other. Instead, it came out to be an appealing duet.


The Album

Parton’s album Those Were the Days included her duet with Urban. Her album comprised of twelve songs from the ’60s and the ’70s. She collaborated with other artists to make each song in her album. She worked with Norah Jones, Kris Kristofferson, David Foster, Alison Krauss, and more.

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