Conway Twitty

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Known as the High Priest of Country Music, Conway Twitty is one of the most recognisable names in country and a true American icon. Through his five decades of stardom, the Mississippi superstar earned more Number Ones than any other artist. The teen rockabilly idol who yearned to be a country music singer was honoured by the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1999.

The High Priest of Country Music

Mississippi-born Conway Twitty started life as Harold Lloyd Jenkins and would later be dubbed ‘The High Priest of Country Music’. With a keen passion for music from the age of four, he landed his own local radio show at just 12 and it wouldn’t be long before he dominated the country music scene.

After some time in the US army, Jenkins headed to Memphis to pursue music. He took on the stage name ‘Conway Twitty’ and scored his first million-seller, ‘It's Only Make Believe’ in 1958. He made teen movies and was even offered the role of Conrad Birdie — a character loosely based on Twitty himself — in the 1960 Broadway musical Bye Birdie but declined, preferring to stick with music.

Despite being a teen rockabilly heartthrob, Conway was a prolific writer of country songs and yearned to make his name in Nashville. He broke the country top 10 with ‘The Image of Me’ and then scored the first of his unbroken run of over 40 number ones with ‘Next in Line.’ His phenomenal string of hits throughout the 70s, either alone or with Loretta Lynn, won him a legion of female fans.

The next couple of decades saw continued country success, with hit after hit. He even opened the multi-million dollar Twitty City complex in Nashville in 1981, inaugurated the ‘Country Explosion’festival and boosted the careers of Reba McEntire, Vince Gill and Naomi Judd.

Coway Twitty was married four times. His fourth marriage to Dolores Virginia Henry lasted until his death in 1993. The singer’s sudden passing from an abdominal aortic aneurysm shocked the world. His last ever album, fittingly titled Final Touches was released later on that year.

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