My Kind of Country

Country music from a fan's point of view since 2008

Classic Rewind – Jim Reeves – ‘Am I Losing You’

Written by Reeves, “Am I Losing You” was originally released in 1957 and spent two weeks at #3 on the country charts. A re-recording of the song charted in 1960 and peaked at #8. A third version, by Ronnie Milsap, hit #1 in 1981.

6 responses to “Classic Rewind – Jim Reeves – ‘Am I Losing You’

  1. Paul W Dennis April 12, 2012 at 5:31 am

    If I recall correctly, Jim recorded this song on at least three occasions and never felt he got it right. I disagree since each version he recorded was excellent. I did not particularly care for Milsap’s version

  2. Ken Johnson April 12, 2012 at 10:07 am

    Perhaps it was not an issue of Jim never “getting the song right” as much as timing. Country music and Jim himself were in the middle of an era of significant stylistic change. But his greatest motivation for making multiple recordings was that because he wrote the song it would also deliver songwriting and broadcast royalties to him. Money is always a great motivator in the music bu$ine$$.

    Jim’s first recording of “Am I Losing You” on July 18, 1956 was the most country sounding interpretation of his three released versions. It’s also very similar to the video version posted here. The low-key fiddle & steel guitar arrangement framed Jim’s intimate vocal. Studio engineers had begun positioning Jim’s mouth closer to the microphone adding significantly more presence to his vocals. Also his delivery was devoid of the rural approach that permeated most his earlier sessions as he now sang in a straight-ahead almost “pop” style. This recording was actually a precursor to the sound that Jim would fully adopt the next year for his breakthrough hit “Four Walls.” It also borrowed some of the stylistic elements of Eddy Arnold’s 1954 hit “I Really Don’t Want To Know.” Jim’s first single release of the recording (2:43) climbed to #3 in March 1957.

    A second version made on January 21, 1959 took advantage of the new stereo technology that was not available for the 1956 recording. Though this version was released only as an album track for his “Songs To Warm The Heart” LP it was (probably mistakenly) included on “The Best Of Jim Reeves” album in 1964. From that point forward that 2nd version was almost exclusively reissued for all Jim Reeves albums containing that title until the CD era. Many country radio stations even played that non-hit version as an “oldie.” This recording is 2:15 and begins with Jim’s vocal (no instrumental intro) and features the Jordanaires.

    The third version created on August 8, 1960 is notable for the inclusion of strings and the Anita Kerr Singers. This 2:36 rendition was released as the “B” side to Jim’s single “I Missed Me.” Jim’s popularity was rising exponentially at that time so radio stations opted to play both sides of that single. In December 1960 “Am I Losing You” became a hit for a second time rising to #8 while “I Missed Me” peaked at #3. Oddly this recording was never released on a regular Jim Reeves album though it was included on at least two RCA Victor various artist compilation albums in the early 1960’s. Other than the huge Bear Family Jim Reeves box set this recording is available on the “Essential Jim Reeves” CD (RCA 66589-2) This is actually my favorite version of the song though as Paul pointed out all three were indeed excellent.

    I enjoyed Milsap’s recording as well as his tribute album to Jim Reeves. Perhaps because Milsap’s 1981 version was released during his string of very pop-influenced singles any song with a true country pedigree was even more appreciated.

    • Cluin August 5, 2012 at 4:54 pm

      Thanks for that history of the releases, Ken. It’s possibly worth mentioning that the second version (for the 1959 album), in addition to including the Jordanaires on backing vocals, also featured Floyd Cramer on piano, playing the tinkling ivories hook that is so familiar with this song from radio airplay. The shorter runtime of this version also likely contributed to its popularity with radio stations… less music, more time to sell commercial airtime. 😉

      • Ken Johnson August 6, 2012 at 10:23 am

        Floyd Cramer played on all three recordings though as you correctly pointed out he was most prominently featured on the 1959 recording.

  3. luckyoldsun April 12, 2012 at 11:27 am

    The hardcore music–Jimmy Rodgers, ET, Hank and Cash–may go out of fashion at times, but it always comes back.The sweet–or possibly narcoleptic–sounds of Como, Eddy and Reeves disappeared and don’t seem to be coming back.

  4. J.R. Journey April 12, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    I had no idea until today this was a cover song for Milsap. I have been familiar with his version for years, but it was never one of my favorites by him. I have to admit after hearing Reeves sing the song in the video above, I feel like he does a much better job with the lyric than Milsap. And this is coming from a big fan of Milsap, particularly the songs he recorded in the early to mid ’80s.

    Thanks for keeping me up on the history here, guys.

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