Kalpana Kalpana (Editor)

It's Only Make Believe

Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit
"I'll Try"

7" single

MGM Records

July 14, 1958


Country, rockabilly, pop

"It's Only Make Believe" is a song written by Jack Nance and American country music artist Conway Twitty, and produced by MGM Records' Jim Vienneau, released by Twitty as a single in July 1958. The single topped both U.S. and the UK Singles Chart, and was Twitty's only number-one single on the pop charts of either country. On a segment of Pop Goes The Country, Twitty states the single was a hit in 22 different countries and sold over 8 million copies. It is believed that Twitty wrote his part of the song while sitting on a fire escape outside his hotel room, to escape the summer heat, in Hamilton, Ontario. Twitty had come to Canada at the request of another American singer, Rompin' Ronnie Hawkins, due to Hawkins saying to Twitty that Canada was the 'promised land' for music.


Twitty recorded many subsequent versions of "It's Only Make Believe", including a 1970 duet with Loretta Lynn on their very first collaborative album, We Only Make Believe. Twitty joins in on the last verse in a 1988 uptempo cover by Ronnie McDowell, which was a #8 hit on the country music charts. Additionally, Twitty contributed to an alternative cover by McDowell.


The song's lyrics describe the thoughts and feelings of a man who is in a one-way relationship: He has a girlfriend, but she does not love him and only stays in the relationship for appearances, a fact of which he is painfully aware. He hopes and prays that, at some point in the future, the woman whom he is in love with will return his love, but laments that, at present, "it's only make believe."

Cover versions

  • The Hollies covered it in 1963.
  • Billy Fury had a UK #10 hit with his version in 1964, which also went to #1 in Singapore.
  • Roy Hamilton recorded a version at Chips Moman's American studios in Memphis in 1969.
  • Glen Campbell's 1970 recording for The Glen Campbell Goodtime Album became a top ten hit in both the United States and United Kingdom.
  • Lynn Anderson recorded a version for her 1970 album Rose Garden.
  • Ronnie McDowell had a #8 single on the Billboard country chart in 1988 after recording the song as a duet with Twitty.
  • The pop band Child released the song as a single in 1978, reaching the top ten in the UK Charts.
  • Australian rock band Cold Chisel recorded a thundering version of the song in 1983 on their Barking Spiders Live album.
  • American pop-rock band Cock Robin recorded the song during their third album First Love Last Rites (1989) recording sessions, but the track was only released in the 1990 US version of the album, and more generally as a bonus track in their Best of Cock Robin compilation album in 1991.
  • Canadian country music singer Carroll Baker covered the song on her 1991 compilation Her Finest Collection. It was released as the album's first single and peaked at number 28 on the RPM Country Tracks chart.
  • The horror punk band Misfits have a cover version on their 2003 covers album Project 1950, retitled "Only Make Believe".
  • Queen guitarist Brian May has also covered it, his band consisting of Cozy Powell, Jamie Moses, Spike Edney & Neil Murray. May's cover was on the b-side of his 1998 single "Why Don't We Try Again".
  • Clay Aiken recorded the song for his 2010 album Tried and True.
  • In 2012, Fiona Apple performed the song as the closing number of all the shows in her The Idler Wheel Tour.
  • Screamin' Jay Hawkins covered the song on his 1972 album "A Portrait of a Man and his Woman" and it has appeared on several subsequent compilation albums.
  • Ivo Linna and Rock Hotel recorded Estonian version titled "Liiv tuule käes" (words Ats Joorits) in 1986.
  • Robert Gordon covered this song in 1979... https://www.discogs.com/Robert-Gordon-Its-Only-Make-Believe/release/4131489 YouTube has various performances of it...treat yourself!


    It's Only Make Believe Wikipedia

    Similar Topics