Conway Twitty was a successful country music singer who was known for his own hits as well as his many duets with Loretta Lynn, and one of his most iconic songs came in the form of 1970's "Hello Darlin.'' In this tune, from his album Hello Darlin', Twitty runs into an ex-love, and although he plays it cool at first, he admits that he's still pining over her. The song features classic country instrumentation and became one of Twitty's greatest hits, spending four weeks atop the Billboard country charts. It's also one of the singer's most recognizable country songs, alongside "It's Only Make Believe," "Tight Fittin' Jeans" and others.
"Hello Darlin'" was written solely by Twitty long before it made its way onto country radio. Prior to launching his country career in 1968, Twitty, inspired by Elvis Presley, pursued a career in rock 'n' roll. Twitty received a record deal with Mercury Records and later with MGM, resulting in "It's Only Make Believe," "Danny Boy" and "Lonely Blue Boy." While he was releasing rock music, Twitty would still write country songs, but since he had no vehicle to release them, he would record them for himself and then place them in storage, never to be heard again.
Thankfully, "Hello Darlin'" was heard again when Twitty officially made the switch to country in the late '60s. It was then that he pulled out the almost-forgotten tune and played it for his producer Owen Bradley. Bradley instantly loved the song, but proposed one small change: instead of singing the opening line, "Hello darlin', nice to see you," Bradley suggested that he simply speak the line. Twitty took this suggestion and it has since become an unforgettable moment to kick off the tune.
The song was released on Decca records in 1970 and has since become Twitty's signature song. The tracklist of his Hello Darlin' album also includes "Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain." Conway opened his concerts with "Hello Darlin'" and he often sang it to Loretta Lynn like in the live performance below.
Lynn recorded her own version of the song for her 1971 Coal Miner's Daughter album and George Jones also covered it on his High Tech Redneck album in 1993. The song has also been recorded by Lynn Anderson, Bobby Bare, Wanda Jackson, Charlie Rich, Scotty McCreery, Charley Pride and more. A clip of Twitty performing the hit song also appeared in an episode of Family Guy.
This story previously ran on June 13, 2021.