Twitty, Conway
▪ 1994

      (HAROLD LLOYD JENKINS), U.S. singer (b. Sept. 1, 1933, Friars Point, Miss.—d. June 5, 1993, Springfield, Mo.), was a successful songwriter and rockabilly star who struck gold with the 1958 pop recording "It's Only Make Believe" and, when his star began to wane in the early 1960s, reinvented his image and used his rich, tremulous baritone to specialize in country ballads. Twitty, backed up by the Lonely Blue Boys and, later, the Twitty Birds, eventually scored more than 50 number one hits on the country charts. He was known for his lost-love classics and for his steamy love lyrics; his hits included "Tight Fittin' Jeans," "Hello Darlin'," "You've Never Been This Far Before," and "After All the Good Is Gone." During the early 1970s Twitty teamed up with Loretta Lynn, and the two produced a string of duets, notably "Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man" and "After the Fire Is Gone," which won them a 1971 Grammy award. They also won the Country Music Association's vocal duo award for four consecutive years (1972-75). Twitty was a dynamic yet no-nonsense stage performer. He sported a succession of distinctive haircuts, ranging from a Brylcreem-laden Roman centurion look to a semi-Afro. He was also an astute businessman, and in 1982 he launched Twitty City, a popular 3.6-ha (9-ac) tourist complex in Hendersonville, near Nashville, Tenn., where he also had part ownership in a baseball team. Twitty, who created his name from the names of two towns—Conway, Ark., and Twitty, Texas—died shortly after surgery for a stomach aneurysm.

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