April 12

A Special Song for Tammy Wynette, “Bedtime Story”

A Special Song for Tammy Wynette, “Bedtime Story” 1

Tammy Wynette’s  “Bedtime Story”  is something of a hybrid. The song has several instrumental riffs that are almost carbon copy of “Stand By Your Man” and “I Don’t Wanna Play House.”

The Story

A few of the circumstances behind “Bedtime Story” were the same as “I Don’t Wanna Play House.” Just before Tammy Wynette recorded the latter in 1967, she walked into Billy Sherrill’s office at Columbia Records to find nursery-rhyme books scattered all over the floor. Sherrill co-wrote “I Don’t Wanna Play House” with Glenn Sutton and in 1971. Sherrill and Sutton used children’s books once again to research the verses of “Bedtime Story.”

The two men were working on the song and got stuck almost immediately, so Billy sent Glenn down to the bookstore to buy several children’s storybooks. Sherrill and Sutton spent a couple of hours reading those bedtime stories. After finishing, they jotted some notes down and finished it up pretty quickly.

A bit of a question mark lay ahead though. When the cut turned out longer than most country records of them. “Bedtime Story” ran 4:15 and there was some initial concern that radio stations might resist programming it because of its excessive length.

In fact, while they were cutting “Bedtime Story,” one of the studio musicians on the session spoke up and said:

“Isn’t this thing awfully long? What is it, about four or five minutes?” Producer Billy Sherrill said, “I don’t care if its ten minutes long! I like it.”

Tammy Wynette liked the record for much more personal reasons. Her daughter with George Jones, Georgette, had just come into the world and “Bedtime Story” meant a lot to Tammy. To her, it was as if she was doing the song especially for her new baby, so it was very special.

“Bedtime Story,” despite its long length, reached No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot Country Singles chart on March 4, 1972, just eight weeks after its New Year’s Day debut.


Billy Sherrill, Tammy Wynette

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