Sonny James’ Success with Brook Benton’s hits
Sonny James success with Brook Benton’s pop hit “It’s Just A Matter Of Time” was followed up with “Endlessly,” another song by Benton.
Although Sonny James was persuaded to do it, recording “Endlessly” was not his idea. Brook Benton’s producer, publisher and frequent co-writer, Clyde Otis, had suggested “Endlessly” after “It’s Just A Matter Of Time”. In addition, a disc jockey took the time to write James a letter echoing Otis’s sentiment. Suggesting an up-tempo pattern as an arrangement for “Endlessly,” the deejay felt sure the tune would be perfect for Sonny’s style.
Sonny James thought, “Maybe these two guys have got something there.” Especially the DJ, who had no connection with the song whatsoever. Sonny took his guitar and quickly worked up an arrangement. He kept his signature guitar riffs going throughout the song. After playing the song, he was convinced of its hit potential and took “Endlessly” into the studio at his next recording session.
“Endlessly” brought landmark results for Sonny James. The record sent him into a category that only a selected few shares: artists who have spent over a year at No.1 on Billboard’s country singles chart (the others are Eddy Arnold, Conway Twitty, Merle Haggard and George Strait). In Sonny James’ case, the tally was 54 weeks at the top, thanks to “Endlessly’s” three-week appearance. Sonny would finish with six more chart-toppers.
Being a True Gentleman
Sonny James earned the nickname “The Southern Gentleman” for good reason. He was one of the most thoughtful and patient men who ever worked in the country music industry. After “Endlessly” became a hit, Sonny had every intention of calling the DJ who wrote the letter thanking him. However, he couldn’t find the letter and thus was never able to call the guy.