Did you know that this song was first pitched to Kenny Rogers? However, he turned it down and that’s how the Restless Heart got the hit. The song was written by Pam Rose, Mary Ann Kennedy, Todd Cerney and Pat Bunch. Two of the songwriters, Pam and Mary Ann had written hits for Janie Fricke, Lee Greenwood, and Crystal Gayle. Not only that, they have worked in an all-female quartet called “Calamity Jane.” They decided to break away from the group creating a duet named “Kennedy Rose.” Thereafter, the ladies signed a contract with Pangaea Records.
Writing a Hit
Unfortunately, the success of the duet didn’t come from being singers. However, it was in their songwriting skills. Pam and Mary Rose composed “I’ll Still Be Loving You” while in the house of the former Billboard Magazine Country Editor Kip Kirby. The husband of Kip, Todd Cerney was showing his music room with the ladies that was filled with synthesizers and drum machines. Pam Rose made her progression in this room while sitting on one of the synthesizers. Cerney meddled playing along with his guitar and Kennedy started writing lyrics. After an hour, a good part of the song was finished. Kennedy decided that the title would be aligned with the lyrical framework. However, she couldn’t put the details together.
The song was stashed for about a year until they asked help from songwriter Pat Bunch. It took her less than 30 minutes to finish the song. The group of writers pitched the song to Kenny Rogers, but he turned it down.
A Hit with a Lot of Problems
The song landed in the hands of producer Tim Dubois and the band he was producing, Restless Heart. Dubois saw the potential of the “I’ll Still Be Loving You.” Unfortunately, the band was having lots of problem making the song work. The demo version had all been done with synthesizers which were problematical to adapt and it was too short.
The lead vocalist of the Restless Heart, Larry Stewart and the guitarist Greg Jennings refused to give the song up. Then finally, Jennings suggested “James Taylorish” guitar arrangement and they added an acoustic instrumental bridge. Dave Innis, also a member of the band, remembered that the song wasn’t a standard three-chord song. It required very intricate fine-tuning and it took an abundance of effort by everyone involved to make the song work. Innis said that it was,
“The song that did not want to be recorded.” In addition, he reiterated, “It was a tough one to do.”
The hard work paid off very well. “I’ll Still Be Loving You” did not only reach No. 1 on the Billboard’s Country Singles Chart and made the Top 40 on the Pop listings. Moreover, the song was one of the most popular songs played at weddings since it was released in 1987.
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