Country singer Conway Twitty dies in hospital

SPRINGFIELD (Reuter) - The country and western singer Conway Twitty, whose soulful ballads made him a music legend for nearly 40 years, died at a hospital in Springfield, Missouri yesterday. He was 59.

Twitty, who had more than 50 number one hits in the country music charts, collapsed last night on his tour bus following a performance in nearby Branson, Missouri.

The hospital said his family was with him when he died, but would not reveal the cause of death.

A year ago, Twitty collapsed on stage during a matinee performance in Branson. He said at the time that he fainted because he 'simply got too warm', and dismissed remarks by the theatre manager that he was suffering from diabetes.

Twitty was born Harold Jenkins in Mississippi and raised in Helena, Arkansas. He took his name from two small towns - Conway from Conway, Arkansas, and Twitty from Twitty, Texas.

In the Fifties, he started out as a rock'n'roll singer and his song, 'Lonely Blue Boy', went gold. His first number one country hit was released in 1958 - the ballad 'It's Only Make Believe'. He specialised in ballads of lost love and his biggest hits included 'Tight Fittin' Jeans', 'Hello Darlin' ' and 'After All The Good is Gone'. In the Seventies, he sang a string of hit duets with Loretta Lynn. Twitty was prolific, releasing an average of one album every eight months.

'I pick a song a woman will like for sure,' he once said. 'Women are more sensitive and get the point quicker. I like a song that says things a man wants to say and doesn't know how to say.' Another veteran country singer, Porter Wagoner, described him as a legend. 'We got into the music business about the same time,' he said. 'I first met him when I was playing a club in Minneapolis in 1957. He had a pop song which was a pretty big hit at the time, but he told me he wanted to be a country singer and recording star. He became one of the true legends of our business.

'He had a great ear for songs that were commercial. He'd go through hundreds of songs, looking for a single or numbers for an album.'

Twitty had a strong interest in sport and before he went into show business, was offered a contract with the professional baseball team, the Philadelphia Phillies. Later, he became part owner of the minor league baseball team, the Nashville Sounds.

Twitty once summed up his career: 'I've survived and stayed on top. I worked my way up there and stayed there and I did it without taking dope.'

(Photograph omitted)

News
Emma Watson has become the latest target of the 4Chan nude hacking scandal
peopleThreats follows actress' speech on feminism and equality at the UN
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
Life and Style
tech
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Geena Davis, founder and chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media
tv
News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
Sport
John Terry, Frank Lampard
footballChelsea captain sends signed shirt to fan whose mum had died
Arts and Entertainment
Rita Ora will replace Kylie Minogue as a judge on The Voice 2015
tv
Life and Style
tech
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
life
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Life and Style
life
Arts and Entertainment
Tennis player Andy Murray's mum Judy has been paired with Anton du Beke for Strictly Come Dancing. 'I'm absolutely delighted,' she said.
tvJudy Murray 'struggling' to let Anton Du Beke take control on Strictly
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
Sport
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
football
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Graduate Pricing Analyst - 6 months / 1 year analytical experience

£20000 - £25000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Year 2 Teachers needed for day to day supply

£110 - £130 per day + Competitve rates of pay: Randstad Education Reading: Yea...

Year 4 Teachers needed for day to day supply across the region

£110 - £130 per day + Competitive rates of pay: Randstad Education Reading: Ye...

Nursery Teachers needed for supply roles

£110 - £130 per day + Competitive rates of pay: Randstad Education Reading: Nu...

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits