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"It's Only Make Believe" is a song written by Jack Nance and American country music artist Conway Twitty, 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. 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 a victim of unrequited love. 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."
Conway Twitty version
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Billy Fury had a UK #10 hit with his version in 1964, which also went to #1 in Singapore. Glen Campbell's 1970 recording became a top ten hit in both the United States and United Kingdom. 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. 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.
Glen Campbell version
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