October 23

Story of “That’s Why I Love You Like I Do” by Sonny James

Story of "That's Why I Love You Like I Do" by Sonny James 1

This song was written by Jack Morrow and  Kelso Herston. Everybody knows that Sonny James had a penchant for covering old pop classics, and was very successful at it. After “Only Love Can Break A Heart,” he officially broke the string of number ones, James’ only option was to start up a new streak, which he did with his next release “That’s Why I Love You Like I Do,” returning him to the #1 position on June 24, 1972. This tune wasn’t an earlier pop hit like many in Sonny’s chart-topping string of sixteen, but it was different in the fact that the song was a re-working of a previous Sonny James release that featured new lyrics co-written by his producer during those time, Kelso Herston. It was first recorded as the “B” side to Sonny’s first number one single “Young Love” way back in 1957.

Originally, “That’s Why I Love You Like I Do” was titled “You’re The Reason I’m In Love.” Sonny actually liked that song much better than “Young Love,” and recommended to Capitol Records’ A & R chief Ken Nelson that “You’re The Reason I’m In Love” be shipped as the “A” side. Nelson disagreed, but instead of over-ruling James outright, a compromise was struck. The record was shipped without either song being designated as the “A” side, so as to let the radio programmers and deejays decide for themselves which one they wanted to go with. “Young Love” won hands down and soared to #1 on both the country and pop charts of Billboard Magazine. However, Sonny still believed in “You’re The Reason I’m In Love,” and decided to save it and try issuing it again as an “A” side when he determined the time was right. Four years after, James was ready to release it again. However, just before he could do it, Bobby Edwards came out with a country hit called “You’re The Reason,” so James put his record on hold to avoid confusion. In 1963, Sonny felt the time was right again, but Bobby Darin released a pop hit “You’re The Reason I’m Living” and he put it off once more. Finally, he did get around to issuing “You’re The Reason I’m In Love” in 1972, the song had evolved into “That’s Why I Love You Like I Do.”

The new version also moved at a faster tempo than the original, and producer Herston even threw in some trumpets which Sonny didn’t care for. He described them as “junior high schoolish.”James’ re-activated string of No. 1 singles turned out to be very short-lived. “That’s Why I Love You Like I Do” did make it to the top, and so did the follow-up “When The Snow Is On The Roses,” another cover of a pop song first recorded by Ed Ames, but then the hit supply dried up. Sonny reached the summit just one more time after that with a cover of an actual country hit this time, Warner Mack’s “Is It Wrong (For Loving You),” but it took him over two years to get that last one. While “That’s Why I Love You Like I Do” was climbing up the chart in the summer of ’72, rumors began flying around Nashville that James was contemplating ending his long association with Capitol Records. Word was out that CBS Records president Clive Davis had approached Sonny about signing with Columbia.

That fall, Capitol president Ken Nelson confided to James that he was retiring, more or less suggesting that Sonny accept Columbia’s offer. Unfortunately for Columbia, they signed James at a time when his power as a major hit-maker was diminishing. Although no longer knocking each new release out of the park, Sonny did manage to score sixteen Top Twenty hits for the label, including the two previously-mentioned number ones: “When The Snow Is On The Roses” and “Is It Wrong (For Loving You).


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