Don Gibson and Conway Twitty | Country Thang Daily Archives

Written by good friends, Bill Anderson and Buddy Killen, “I May Never Get to Heaven” was originally recorded by Don Gibson in 1960. Anderson came up with the song because of his breakup with his ex-girlfriend way back in college.

It was later revived and made famous by Conway Twitty in 1979. It was the second single from his album Cross Winds. He co-produced it with David Barnes for MCA Records. For Conway, “I May Never Get to Heaven” became his 22nd no.1 song to hit the country charts. In fact, it stayed a total of 10 weeks on the Billboard Hot Country Songs. Also, it reached at no. 1 on the RPM Country Tracks in Canada.

Aside from Gibson‘s and Conway‘s renditions, “I May Never Get to Heaven” was also covered by other artists. Most notably, Wanda Jackson rendered hers in 1961, and Aretha Franklin in 1967.

Wanda Jackson’s Version

Wanda Jackson | Photo Credits: rockhall.com

Dubbed by many as the Queen of Rockabilly, and to some, First Lady of Rockabilly, Wanda Jackson is known to have mixed country music with rockabilly. However, as the popularity of rockabilly music declined, she opted to pursue a career in mainstream country music. During that time, she has released a string of successful hits namely, “Tears Will Be the Chaser for Your Wine,” “A Woman Lives for Love,” and “Fancy Satin Pillows.”

Before Conway Twitty popularized it 20 years later, “I May Never Get to Heaven” caught Jackson’s attention after recently recorded by Don Gibson in 1961. With high hopes of the song, she immediately recorded her own version including it on her album Right or Wrong.

Truly, Jackson’s voice just suits the song. Her vocals soothe every ear and cleanse every soul.

Here are some of the lyrics of the song:

I walked with you and talked with you and held your loving hand
We loved awhile I lived awhile and thought that fate had it planned
Then someone stole my angel and I lost what I loved most
I may never get to heaven but I once came mighty close

I may never play a golden harp or spread celestial wings
Or walk a golden staircase while the distant chorus sings
Oh but I once held your sweet love and felt your tender touch

I may never get to heaven but I didn’t miss it much
I may never get to heaven but I didn’t miss it much

Listen to Wanda Jackson’s rendition of “I May Never Get to Heaven” below:

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