I heard “It’s Only Make Believe” on the radio today and it took me back along time ago when I met Conway Twitty. It was before he got into country music. He was set to play Shorty’s Club on a Wednesday night here in Sioux Falls. His whole band came down with the flu and were at the motel and very sick. Conway hated to cancel the date so Shorty gave Conway my number. We were asked to open and rehearsed all afternoon, then played to a packed crowd that night. What a thrill for us. I promoted some dates on the side and a year later in January, I rented the Spearfish Pavilion hiring Conway and his band for a dance. The price then was $850.00 or 50 % of the gate. They drove there from Conway, Arkansas in a station wagon pulling a U Haul trailer. He drew a huge crowd and I payed him over $1100.00–big bucks then.
I was taking flying lessons at the time and needed cross country time so my instructor and I flew there on a beautiful sunny winter day, but after the dance when we were ready to fly back, it was 20 below and light snow. We were at the airport outside of Spearfish ready to take off about 2am and here comes Conway and his bass player. He was so worried about us flying in that kind of weather, but we were young and stupid and didn’t listen. We made it back to Sioux Falls okay, but I have often thought about how caring Conway was to leave his nice warm hotel room that time of the morning because he was worried about us.
“It’s Only Make Believe” is one of my all time favorites.