Is there anyone classier in country music than Emmylou Harris? In this video for “Making Believe” from 1977, the self-proclaimed gatherer of songs is at her finest, warbling her way through four minutes of pure country music heartbreak.
Backed by the Hot Band, including a young, afro-ed Rodney Crowell (he only makes a brief appearance on Emmylou’s right but come on, just look at that hair!) and guitar ace Albert Lee, “Making Believe” rose to number seven on the charts. Interestingly, “Making Believe” was a single for three different artists in 1977-78. Emmylou’s was the most successful, but Merle Haggard released a version as a B-side to his single “Running Kind” and The Kendells’ released a version that reached no higher than number 80 on the charts.
“Making Believe” was originally released in 1955 by Kitty Wells and since then has found its place as one of the greatest songs of country music history. It’s been recorded and sung by everyone from Harris to Ernest Tubb.
But it’s Harris’ version that we like best. Emmylou’s voice, the one once described as “most telling because of its feathery delicacy, an almost tentative dying fall capable of stirring deep emotions” is never more apparent than on “Making Believe.” How can your heart not tremble when she sings “Making believe I never lost you” and then she hits you with a signature Emmylou lonesome yodel and a pedal steel crying out?