“Then and Only Then” is a song that Bill Anderson wrote for the American country artist, Connie Smith. The said composition was one of a series of hit songs written by Anderson for Smith. The other songs that he wrote were “Nobody but a Fool (Would Love You)” and “Cincinnati, Ohio”.
“Then and Only Then” was Smith’s second single released on RCA Victor Records. At its Studio B in Nashville, Tennessee on November 18, 1964, Connie Smith recorded the said track. During the session, Ferguson featured Nashville’s “A-Team” of musicians, including members of Anderson’s backing band, The Po’ Boys. Being produced by Bob Ferguson and released in January 1965, it reached the Top 5 on the Billboard country music chart in early 1965. This gave Smith her second major hit. It was her follow-up single to her multi-week number one hit, “Once a Day”, released the previous year.
Shortly after the radio issue of Connie Smith’s track in January 1965, it instantly became a major hit. It reached #4 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, while it peaked outside the Billboard Top Pop 100, reaching #116. The B-side, “Tiny Blue Transistor Radio”, also charted the country music list, peaking at #25 at the same time.
About “Then and Only Then”
When you listen to the song, you will know what “Then and Only Then” is about.
It describes how a woman’s lover has momentarily left her with a promise that he will return. The female narrator forgets when he will be returning.
In the song, she says that when he returns then and only then will she stop crying. The lines of the chorus go:
For then and only then will I stop cryin’
And this achin’, breakin’ heart of mine will mend
Not until I feel your arms around me
Will I be happy and I live for then and only then
In “Then and Only Then‘s” original recording, Smith showcased her talents. Not only did she sing the lead vocals, but also played the guitar accompaniment. This was just like what she did for her previous single.
Another great artist that made a version of “Then and Only Then” is American country singer, Loretta Lynn. She made it a part of her 1965 studio album, Blue Kentucky Girl.
Who do you think sang it better?