My Kind of Country

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

Week ending 11/3/18: #1 singles this week in country music history

1958: City Lights — Ray Price (Columbia)

1968: Next In Line — Conway Twitty (Decca)

1978: Sleeping Single In A Double Bed — Barbara Mandrell (ABC)

1988: Darlene — T. Graham Brown (Capitol)

1998: Honey, I’m Home — Shania Twain (Mercury)

2008: She Never Cried In Front of Me — Toby Keith (Show Dog Nashville)

2018: Meant To Be — Bebe Rexha featuring Florida Georgia Line (Big Machine)

2018 (Airplay): She Got The Best of Me — Luke Combs (Columbia Nashville)

4 responses to “Week ending 11/3/18: #1 singles this week in country music history

  1. Jman Burnett November 4, 2018 at 6:34 pm

    Only know the 1958, 1978, and 2018 (non-Airplay) records. Don’t recall that T. Graham Brown single existing before now. Interesting to see the first of Conway Twitty’s many, many chart-toppers here and I kinda wish that Barbara Mandrell photo had been at least a picture sleeve for one of her singles. Wonder if she’ll be a Spotlight Artist any time soon.

  2. Ken November 6, 2018 at 11:10 am

    Fifty years ago this week on November 2, 1968 Conway Twitty scored the first of his forty #1 country hits. Ten years earlier on November 10, 1958 “It’s Only Make Believe” became a #1 rock & roll hit. Although that MGM single failed to enter the Billboard country chart the record did climb to #4 on the Cashbox country survey so it did attract some country fans.

    Producer Owen Bradley and Decca records showed great patience as Conway transitioned from a teen idol to a country star. Bradley signed Conway to the label in 1965. Conway’s debut Decca single “Together Forever” released that year went unnoticed to the extent that it failed to chart. His next five singles released in 1966 & 1967 did chart and earned some airplay but none became breakout hits. The tide finally turned in 1968 when “The Image Of Me” entered the top five in June. His subsequent release “Next In Line” went to #1 and firmly established Conway as a country star.

    The distinctive intro for “Next In Line” was played by John Hughey whose steel guitar was included on most of Conway’s sessions for the next 20 years. During that period he was also a member of Conway superb road band “The Twittybirds.”

  3. Paul W Dennis November 8, 2018 at 8:49 am

    On the Music Vendor (later Record World) C&W charts “It’s Only Make Believe” was #1 for four weeks, so I’d say a lot of country fans were aware of the song. I was only six years old when the song came out but I remember hearing it on country radio in Jacksonville, FL

    At the time “Next In Line” came out Conway’s band was still known as THE LONELY BLUE BOYS and that is how they were introduced at Wembley in April 1969 and later that year at the USAF NC Club in Ruislip. I am not sure when the name change occurred but I believe it came after “Hello Darlin’ “.

    • Ken November 9, 2018 at 9:56 am

      When songs were cross-over hits from pop to country back in that era it’s a bit unclear how much their country chart positions were influenced by pop sales. Chart methodology at that time was a combination of airplay & sales. Pop record sales were usually significantly higher than country only hits. I understand that the country charts had their own panel of reporting retail outlets & one stops but it’s likely that some sales could not be separated regarding what type of buyer was purchasing a particular record. Of course country fans do not live in a vacuum and are exposed to music outside of the country genre. They often like songs not played on country radio stations. So in those instances airplay was critical to determine if songs indeed had a country constituency.

      In 1958 country music was in big trouble. Rock & roll had caused many country radio outlets to switch format. Nationwide only 60 stations were programming country music full time although there were some stations that had a country music program or two for a few hours during their broadcast week. That rock & roll onslaught caused a backlash that resulted in many country stations and programs to be very resistant to playing pop/rock& roll records. At the same time country artists that recorded rock & roll style songs like Marty Robbins seemed to get a pass to some extent. But artists from outside the genre were not as widely accepted. That may be the issue with Conway Twitty and “It’s Only Make Believe.” The Billboard airplay panel obviously did not report significant action or that record would have at least charted. The fact that it was a #1 pop hit demonstrates it did have significant sales. The other trades obviously received reports from monitored stations or individual country radio programs that did play the song.

      In any case the fact that “It’s Only Make Believe” did so well on the country chart in two trades but failed to even debut in the other is definitely an anomaly. After Conway broke through as a country star in the late 1960’s most country stations included “It’s Only Make Believe” in their oldies libraries.

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