Just two years after releasing his debut single, Conway Twitty managed to score his first number one hit. That song was titled “It’s Only Make Believe,” which Twitty co-wrote with Jack Nance.
The song is told from the perspective of a man in love who isn’t loved in return. Although he’s in a relationship, he knows that the girl he is with is only doing it for the sake of appearances. Still, he remains hopeful that one day she will love him back. In the meantime, they just have to pretend like she does.
“It’s Only Make Believe” topped the charts in the U.S., the UK, and Canada, and also found its way into the Top 10 in various other countries. It has been covered many times since its release in 1958, with the most notable cover being Glen Campbell‘s 1970 version.
Twitty also recorded multiple renditions of “It’s Only Make Believe” throughout his career. One of those renditions was his 1970 duet with Loretta Lynn, which was included on their first duets album, We Only Make Believe.
Since “It’s Only Make Believe” played such a crucial part in Twitty’s career, it’s always a joy to watch him sing it. Recently, some footage resurfaced of one of Twitty’s earliest performances of the song, and it’s a sight to see.
What makes this footage such a treasure is the fact that it was shot in full color, which obviously wasn’t as common back then as it is now. The footage shows a young Twitty performing on the set of a television show. Dressed in a sharp black suit, Twitty stared straight into the camera as he effortlessly sang his first big hit.
You could read the emotion on Twitty’s face and hear it in his voice as he sang. The heartbreak in the lyrics came through clear as day because of how well he was able to connect with the song. It takes a real artist to be able to deliver such a convincing performance, and Twitty was a master at it.
Watching this, it’s no surprise at all that Twitty went on to become a country music legend. You can enjoy his early performance of “It’s Only Make Believe” in the clip below.
Twitty was truly one in a million. There will never be anyone else like him, that’s for sure.