November 24

Sonny James’ Cover of “It’s Just a Matter of Time”

James Hugh Loden, professionally known as Sonny James, was born on May 1, 1928. Sonny James was an American country music singer and songwriter best known for his 1957 hit, “Young Love”.  When he died on February 22, 2016, his dubbed name “Southern Gentleman” because of his congenial manner stuck with him. Among his greatest successes were from ballads about the trials of love. In 30 years’ time, from 1953 to 1983, James had 72 country and pop charted releases. Apart from that, it included an exceptional five-year streak of 16 straight Billboard #1 singles among his 26 #1 hits. Twenty-one of his albums reached the country top ten from 1964 to 1976. In 1961, James received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Six years later, he co-hosted the first Country Music Association Awards Show. His great achievements made him part of the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2007.

“It’s Just a Matter of Time” has quite an interesting story to tell. At first, it was a rhythm and blues hit in 1959. Later in the 70’s and 80’s, three major country music recordings took place.

From the three country versions, two occupied the top. When Brook Benton, Belford Hendricks and Clyde Otis completed its lyrics, they gave it to the great Nat King Cole. He was then asked to record it, but the writers changed their mind and decided that Benton should record it.

Sonny James’ Version

The first cover version became a country hit.  The “Southern Gentleman”, Sonny James, recorded “It’s Just a Matter of Time”. In February 1970, this version spent four weeks atop the Billboard magazine Hot Country Singles chart. This was James’ 10th in a string of 16 consecutive chart-topping single releases, spanning from 1967 to 1971.

On January 11, 1970, days after its release, James performed the song on The Ed Sullivan Show. Then, on Hee Haw on January 21st.

In 1985, Glen Campbell recorded the song, scoring a top ten hit. Then in the fall of 1989, Randy Travis found success with the storied song scoring his 10th chart topping hit.


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