December 9th is where we are, almost into double figures! Todays little chocolate delight (well ok chocolate substitute then) behind the cardboard on my UK Christmas Number Ones Advent Calendar is the song that was number one in the UK on the day I was born and was also the UK Christmas number one at Christmas 1958. For those of you that are curious I was born on Thursday January 1st 1959 and as I said this very song was the UK number one. It is Conway Twitty‘s “It’s Only Make Believe”. Considering what might have been number one when I was born I have never been too disappointed with this. What was number one the day you were born?
Conway was born Harold Lloyd Jenkins in 1933, he died aged just 59 in 1993. He was turned on to rock n roll after hearing Elvis Presley’s “Mystery Train“. He made his way to Sun Studios in Memphis and actually recorded with head honcho Sam Phillips. Twitty resided near Nashville and built his own country music entertainment complex, as many country stars seem to do, his was called in a mildly amusing kind of way, Twitty City.
As with many big hits the song started out as a B Side to “I’ll Try” but radio stations just flipped the disc and played “It’s Only Make Believe” instead, which just goes to prove what poor judgement record companies often have! The song has been covered by many acts including Billy Fury, Glen Campbell, Gary Glitter and the Misfits. Twitty also rerecorded it as a duet with Loretta Lynn in 1970. You can check out the original and some of those covers below.