American country musician Penny Jay had her biggest success as a professional songwriter with her penned tune “Don’t Let Me Cross Over.” Released in 1962, the song was made famous by country music husband-and-wife duo, Carl Butler, and Pearl. Barely four weeks after its release, the song skyrocketed to No. 1 on Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. And for 11 non-consecutive weeks, “Don’t Let Me Cross Over” enjoyed the chart’s top. With that, the song became the longest-running No. 1 debut single by a duo until 2013. Florida Georgia Line took over the said position with their single, “Cruise” reigning as a chart-topper for 24 weeks.
Carl and Pearl Butler began performing together in 1962. Their first ever single, “Don’t Let Me Cross Over,” was also their biggest hit. What hugely contributed to the song’s success was their exposure at the Grand Ole Opry. In the previous year, before recording their debut single, the couple was invited to the famous show. This appearance then propelled their song to the top of the country chart. While the singing duo did not have any other No. 1 hit, they remained one of country music’s most popular duos for the next two decades. In the 1950’s, the Butlers were among the artists with whom Dolly Parton have worked with. In the following decade, they’ve been instrumental in Parton’s career establishment in Nashville. Hence, the “Jolene” singer paid tribute to the Butlers by including their major hit in her 1996 album, Treasures.
Two Notable Cover Versions
There were over 30 artists who recorded their version of “Don’t Let Me Crossover.” But, the two earliest covers of it were considered the most successful. It was Jerry Lee Lewis who recorded the first remake of the song in 1969. His sister, Linda Gail, joined him in this recording which reached No. 9 on the country chart. Another charting version of the song was the electronically created duet of Jimmy Reeves and country vocalist Deborah Allen. Initially, the two separately recorded their version of the song until producer Bud Logan managed to remix them to form a single track. In late 1979, the newly produced cover was released and went on to peak at No. 10 on the country chart.
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