Mississippi Writers and Musicians
MISSISSIPPI MUSICIANS: Conway Twitty


Conway Twitty Conway Twitty, Number ones

Major Works

Songs (partial listing)

  • Hello Darlin'
  • You've Never Been This Far Before
  • Linda On My Mind
  • Don't Cry Joni
  • It's Only Make Believe
  • The Games That Daddies Play
  • I Can't Believe She Gives It All To Me
  • She Needs Someone To Hold Her (When She Cries)
  • Touch The Hand
  • After All The Good Is Gone
  • As Soon As I Hang Up The Phone
  • Baby's Gone
  • To See An Angel Cry
  • You've Never Been This Far Before
  • Danny Boy

Albums (partial listing)

  • Best Of Conway Twitty
  • Greatest Hits
  • Legendary Country SingersConway Twitty, photo from College Confidential film promotion
  • 20 Greatest Hits
  • At His Best
  • Best Of The Early Years
  • Borderline
  • A Bridge That Just Won't Burn :
    Classic Conway
  • Crazy Dreams
  • Greatest Hits: Volumes I, II, III
  • Hello Darlin'
  • House On Old Lonesome Road
  • It's Only Make Believe: The Conway Twitty
  • Number Ones The Warner Years:
  • Red Neckin' Love Makin' Night:
  • Sings Songs Of Love
  • Super Hits: Volumes I and II
  • The Very Best Of Conway Twitty
  • Greatest Hits: Volumes I and II
  • Who Will Pray For Me

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Conway Twitty: A Biography
By Stephen Ellis (SHS)

Harold Lloyd Jenkins, known as Conway Twitty in the world of country music, has established himself as one of the best country singers and songwriters. Singing and playing the guitar were at first just hobbies, but Twitty had bigger and better ambitions in store for himself.

Twitty was born in Friars Point, Mississippi, on September 1, 1933.  His father was a pilot on a Mississippi riverboat . Twitty learned to play the guitar on the riverboat at the age of six. Twitty said his early years were "kind of a Huckleberry Finn type of childhood. I used to sit up in the pilot house and practice on the guitar and sing songs. Growing up there really helped make me turn out the way I am."  At the age of ten, he started his own band, and by the age of twelve, was on a radio station in Helena, Arkansas . Twitty and his group performed in night clubs and on street corners. Since singing and playing the guitar were just hobbies for Twitty , his biggest dream was to play baseball. He was actually recruited by the Philadelphia Phillies; but before he could sign with the Philadelphia Phillies, he was drafted into the service. He performed in the U. S. Army with a country and western band.

After he was released from the service, Twitty signed with Mercury Records and his producer urged him to change his name. He did not want to change his name at first because he wanted the people from his home town to see that Harold Jenkins had made it. Twitty used a map of the South to decide his name.  He came up with the name Conway Twitty from Conway, Arkansas, and Twitty, Texas.  There is some confusion about his early marriages. Some sources say he married Ellen Matthews, but they were divorced;  and he later married Temple Maxine Jaco Medley.   He was married to Medley for thirty years, but later  they also were divorced and Twitty then married Dee Henry.  However, some sources list him as having two wives: the first named Georgia and the second Dee Henry. Just recently  (December, 1999),   the Tennessee State Supreme Court recently affirmed the splitting of  the assets of the late star between his four children and Dee Henry, his wife at his death,  but a life insurance benefit went to Temple Medley, who they say was  married to Twitty for thirty years.

 Crazy in Love, Conway Twitty "It's Only Make Believe" was his biggest hit in 1958, and it also held the record for the number one single of country musicians. Twitty's lyrics have had a big effect on women. He has a powerful voice and is known for his trademark growl. His love for country music made the hit songs very easy for him to write. Twitty has been one of the most successful country music artists of his day and time. One unusual thing about Twitty was that he started out with rock 'n' roll and changed to performing country. Most of his early fans knew him for his rock music, but in his spare time he wrote and sold country songs . When Twitty decided to do country, he took a big pay cut. Twitty has done many live tours in the United States, Canada, and Europe.  He has been featured on the "Living Legends" tour with George Jones and Merle Haggard.  For awhile he had his own televisions show.  He has also appeared in film, including Platinum High, Sex Kittens Go to College, and College Confidential. In terms of number one hits, Conway Twitty is the most  successful recording artist in the history of country music because he has reached the top of the charts with country singles no less than fifty times in a career that has lasted thirty years.

Conway Twitty

In conclusion, Conway Twitty's rags to riches life is something that everyone should admire. Since his life has been more than that of just being a country musician, you must really examine his whole life. Conway Twitty's life could have easily been turned around by his other goals. Twitty had many different talents, but he chose to use his abilities as a singer/songwriter for his career to the joy of many country music lovers. Twitty  was still going strong when he died at the age of 59 on June 5, 1993.

He was survived by four grown children--Joni, Kathy, Jimmy, and Michael--by his first wife, his mother Velma Dunaway. and his second wife, Dolores (Dee) Henry, whom he had married in 1987.

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Timeline

1933 - Conway Twitty was born Harold Jenkins in Friars Point, Mississippi
1943 - First band formed
1951 - Drafted into the service Conway Twitty Vol. 1
1955 - Married Temple Medley and had two daughters by her
1957 - Recorded rock songs with Mercury and MGM Records
1958 - First number one hit "It's Only Make Believe"
1965 - Moved to country music
1966 - Television show called "The Conway Twitty Show"
1968 - Signed with Decca Records
1971-1981 Named country music vocal duo of the year with Loretta Lynn for ten years
1974,75,76,77--Named country male artist of the year.
1987 - Married Dee Henry
1993--Died of aneurysm

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Related Websites

List of albums recorded by Twitty alone or with Loretta Lynn.
Real audio samples of songs of Twitty.
Owen Bradley played  an important role in career of Conway Twitty and others.
Recipe for Conway Twitty cake.
Information about Trinity Music City, Conway Twitty's mansion.
List of winners of Music City News/TNN Country Awards listing Twitty as Male Artist for 1974,75,76,77 and winner of  vocal duet with Loretta Lynn for ten years--1971-1981.
The films of Conway Twitty listed with photos and other stars.
Biography by Dan Cooper of Twitty.
Biography  of Conway Twitty: Contemporary Musicians, December 1991 (Volume 6)  by Anne Janette Johnson
Law site discusses problems of Twitty's will.

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Bibliography

Dellar, Fred. "Conway Twitty." The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Country Music. New York: Hawthorn, 1976. 236-237.

LaBlanc, Michael. "Conway Twitty." Contemporary Musicians. Detroit: Gale Research International Limited, 1992.      245-247.

Rosenberg, Jim. "The Official Jew of the Conway Twitty Tour" at http://pobox.com/slt/revenge/tw. March 26, 1997.

Wilson, Christine. "Conway Twitty." All Shook Up: Mississippi Roots of American Popular Music. Meridian: The Phil Hardin  Foundation. 1995. 32. 

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