Friday Five: The Class of 1993

Ken Morton, Jr. | September 27th, 2013

Twenty years ago today, the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame inducted one of the strongest classes it’s ever had: Don Schlitz, Red Lane, and Conway Twitty.  The Hall of Fame just opened a new permanent exhibition gallery as part of the opening of the new Music City Center in Nashville and these three artists are featured prominently. The years have done nothing to dissipate the influence that these three writers have had on the fabric of country music history. What is your favorite Schlitz-, Lane-, or Twitty-penned track?

5. Don Schlitz – “The Gambler”

The inclusion of this iconic track seems only appropriate as the singer that made it famous, Kenny Rogers, is one of this year’s inductees into the Country Music Hall of Fame.


4. Red Lane – “They Don’t Make Love Like They Used To”

Eddy Arnold recorded this song first back in 1969, but here’s Lane–who wrote songs recorded by Waylon Jennings, John Conlee, Dottie West, and Faron Young, to name a few–singing it himself.


3. Conway Twitty – “Hello Darlin’”

Conway Twitty released this single in 1970 and it would become his signature song.


2. Don Schlitz – “Forever and Ever, Amen”

Randy Travis is the voice of this song, but Schlitz is the pen behind it. He’s written 24 Number One singles over the course of his career.


1. Conway Twitty – “It’s Only Make Believe”

This was Twitty’s first chart-topping hit and his only Number One on the pop charts.  He’s got some serious Elvis mojo going on in this track, which was co-written with Jack Nance.

  1. bob
    September 27, 2013 at 10:08 am

    I have the 45 and remember hearing “It’s Only Make Believe” on the NYC rock radio stations in the late 50’s, then wondering what happened to Twitty. Didn’t know at the time that he had gone country.

    Love the 2 Schlitz songs here. As a big baseball fan, I always enjoy hearing “The Greatest” with its twist at the end, a song recorded by Kenny Rogers. Schlitz’s 2010 album has some very good songs including the title track, “Allergic to Crazy” as well as “About the Money” and “Work in Progress”.

    I like the Red Lane song “Till I Get It Right” which I have by Trisha Yearwood.

  2. Rick
    September 27, 2013 at 3:28 pm

    I’ll forgive Don Schlitz for “The Gambler” and put him at the top of this list. I’m not familiar with the name of Red Lane, so no comment. I’ve never been a Conway Twitty fan. Apart from the dopey stage name he always struck me as a second rate, self-absorbed Elvis wannabee. I grew up on Johnny Cash, Marty Robbins, Eddy Arnold, and especially Merle Haggard. Compared to those artists Conway just didn’t rate in my book and I’m not a fan of 70’s country music in general. I will give him a brownie point for recording the duet with Loretta of “You’re The Reason Our Kids Are Ugly” but that’s about it…

  3. Barry Mazor
    September 27, 2013 at 3:32 pm

    If ya didn’t grow up on it, ti’s not much, eh Rick? Imagine the whole world wired to your childhood.

  4. TX Music Jim
    September 27, 2013 at 3:45 pm

    Can’t argue with Conways success. He had a huge number of number 1 hits across the years. There was something very soulful about that growl in his voice. Would have loved to hear Conway do some old motown stuff.

  5. Barry Mazor
    September 27, 2013 at 6:06 pm

    Far as I know, this was the only Motown song Conway recorded–but I could be wrong. His catalogue was very deep:

  6. Paul W Dennis
    September 27, 2013 at 8:50 pm

    On the whole 1970s country was pretty good stuff with a lot more diversity of approach than either before or after. While the 1940s and 1950s are my favorite decades for country, the 1970s saw the heydays of Charley Pride, Merle Haggard, Loretta Lynn, Conway Twitty and Cal Smith. Country radio was open to the likes of Crystal Gayle, Dottsy, Linda Hargrove, Gary Stewart and Ol’ Willie and yet accepting of the likes of Stoney Edwards and Johnny Paycheck. Hard-core or Nashville Sound, Outlaw or Tex-Mex, it was all on the airwaves during this decade

    Red Lane had a little success as a performer during the 1970s. “The World Needs A Melody” only barely broke into the top forty but was really popular in some markets reaching #1 on WHOO-AM in Orlando and hittting the top ten on the local charts of several Florida stations

    Conway Twitty’s output through 1978 was killer – he didn’t get soft until the end of the decade. As a performer Conway was unique – he simply stood there and sang and let his band do the antics – no Elvis posturing for Conway and he had pipes second to none during the decade

  7. Donald
    September 27, 2013 at 10:20 pm

    Ignore the troll.

  8. Luckyoldsun
    September 28, 2013 at 4:55 am

    That’s a classic song, but Conway seems to come in in the middle of it in this clip. What happened to “People see us standing there….They think you really care….

  9. Ben Foster
    September 30, 2013 at 10:35 am

    Love me some Don Schlitz songs. “The River and the Highway” and “Cheatin'” are a couple other great songs of his that come to mind, though I’m sure there are many that I am forgetting.

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