Encyclopedia  |   World Factbook  |   World Flags  |   Reference Tables  |   List of Lists     
   Academic Disciplines  |   Historical Timeline  |   Themed Timelines  |   Biographies  |   How-Tos     
Sponsor by The Tattoo Collection
Conway Twitty
Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

Conway Twitty

Conway Twitty, born Harold Jenkins, (September 1, 1933 - June 5, 1993) was a United States rock and roll and country music singer.

Twitty was born in the small town of Friars Point, Mississippi. His family moved to Helena, Arkansas when he was 10, and there he put together his first band, the Phillips County Rambles. Two years later, he had his own local radio show every saturday morning. While in Arkansas, Twitty indulged his second passion, baseball. He received an offer to play with the Philadelphia Phillies after high school but he joined the United States Army instead.

After his discharge from the Army, Twitty again pursued a music career. After hearing Elvis Presley's "Mystery Train," he began writing original rock 'n' roll material. As a matter of course, he headed for the Sun Studios in Memphis, Tennessee, and worked with the likes of Presley, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash and many others. He changed his name in 1957, taking the names from two towns in Arkansas. The character of Conrad Birdie in the musical Bye Bye Birdie is said to be based loosely on a combination of Twitty and Presley.

Twitty didn't try rockabilly like some of his cohorts. Instead , he scored his first hit with a teen ballad, "It's Only Make Believe," on MGM in 1958, making him a teen idol of the day. Eight years and three gold records later, he began his country career with MCA/Decca in 1965, and by the early 1970s, he had scored four straight No. 1 hits including "Hello Darlin'." Many of them, featuring his signature growling vocal style, especially endeared him to female listeners. In 1971, he released his first hit duet with Loretta Lynn, "After the Fire IS Gone," followed by "Lead Me On" in 1971, "Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man" in 1973 and "As Soon As I Hang Up the Phone" in 1974.

Together, they won four consecutive Country Music Association awards for vocal duo, but Twitty never won a solo CMA award. Yet, by the end of his tenure at MCA in 1981, he had accumulated 32 No. 1 hits. Another 15 had reached the Top. Twitty became ill while performing in Branson, Missouri, and he died from an abdominal aneurysm. Shortly before he died, he had recorded a new album, suitably called Final Touches. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1999.