Two of the great names in country music were at the top of their game with a No.1 single on August 17, 1974. Loretta Lynn and Conway Twitty were acting out one of the genre’s most dramatic breakup songs in “As Soon As I Hang Up The Phone.”
Both artists already had many years of success under their belts by this time. Twitty was the veteran of many rock‘n’roll era hits from 1957, and country favourite since the second half of the 1960s; Lynn had been a consistent country hitmaker since the early 1960s. Her early career featured several duets with another country great, Ernest Tubb, before she teamed with Twitty for the first time for 1971’s “After The Fire Is Gone.”
Country partners, time and again
That went all the way to No.1, as did their follow-up “Lead Me On,” and in 1973 the chemistry was at work again on another country bestseller, “Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man.” Now came “As Soon As I Hang Up The Phone,” the only single from the duo’s fourth album together, Country Partners.
The song was written by Twitty and had the clever and unusual attraction of being a conversation apparently taking place between Lynn, singing her lines, and Twitty speaking his over the telephone. Each time he starts to tell her that their relationship is over, she cuts him off, initially in the belief that the gossip about them being “through” is unfounded.
Halfway through the song, Loretta realises the truth, and goes on singing as Conway is saying goodbye. It’s a memorable and melodramatic piece of theatre in a genre that’s famous for it. “As Soon As I Hang Up The Phone” entered the country chart in mid-June 1974 and spent its one week at the summit in mid-August, replacing Billy “Crash” Craddock’s “Rub It In” at No. 1.
“As Soon As I Hang Up The Phone” is on the Country Partners album, which can be bought here.
Follow the official Conway Twitty Best Of playlist.