The year 1953 marked a significant point in Kitty Wells’ career as a solo performer. During this particular year, Wells scored her breakthrough hit “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels.” Reaching No. 1 on the country chart, the song propelled Wells to stardom making her the first authentic female solo artist in country music. This further led to the consistent production of a string of Top 10 singles. In no time, another record earned Wells her second chart-topper. This time, the singer worked with Red Foley for a duet recording of the song “One By One” which gave both of them success.
Wells’ Version of “Making Believe”
Two years after Wells had her breakthrough hit, she recorded a cover song that would set another record on Billboard’s music chart. The song is entitled “Making Believe” which country musician Jimmy Work composed and first recorded in 1955. About one month after his original version entered the chart’s Top 5, Wells’ cover hit the second spot. Although her cover never reached No. 1, it remained in the runner-up position for 15 weeks. Incredible, isn’t it? To note, no other record has ever surpassed yet such chart performance of Wells’ “Making Believe.” With that, the song became the third biggest hit in country music history.
Here’s the original version of the song by Jimmy Work.
Wells happened to hear Work’s recording of “Making Believe” and she fell in love with it. Barely after a month, she recorded her version of the song and it further elevated her status as a country music star. The tune narrates a tale about the narrator who could not forget her lover. She continued dreaming about him and fantasizes how much she’s in love with her ex. The sad truth is, there’s no chance of them getting back to each other again. Listen to Wells’ rendition of the song below.
Given the fame that the song reached and boosted by Work and Wells’ versions, many other great artists became interested in recording their own version of “Making Believe.” Among them were Johnny Cash, Roy Acuff, Lefty Frizzell, Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, Merle Haggard, and Ernest Tubb. Below is Emmylou Harris’ version of the hit.
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Jimmy Work, kitty wells, making believe