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Conway Twitty: Country music legend, or kind of a perv?

July 16, 2013
Conway Twitty performs "You've Never Been This Far Before" on Hee Haw in 1974.

I have to admit that as I get older, I seem to get more prudish about the lyrics in contemporary pop songs. I think it’s more about having kids than anything else, but when I hear certain things on the radio, I can’t help but cringe. I don’t mind a well-used bit of foul language for artistic impact, but when a singer talks explicitly about sex, drugs and violence I have to pay attention to what they may be teaching my kids. Yes, I teach my kids first, but I also monitor the constant multimedia assault on their senses.

Growing up, my parents faced the same issue with me. Looking back at ‘70s music, I ran across a highly successful tune from one of my favorite country acts – Conway Twitty. I’m not a big fan of contemporary country music, but the sheer audacity and humor in a lot of the old country/western tunes just gets to me, sometimes. My interest in Conway Twitty was reignited over the last couple of years by Family Guy’s use of him as a comedic cut-away to fill time in otherwise foreshortened episodes. One of those cut-aways included the full rendition of “I See the Want to in Your Eyes,” a true classic of subtle naughtiness. I thought it couldn’t get any better until I found another of Twitty’s number one country hits: “You’ve Never Been This Far Before.”

Of course, he could be throwing out a simple metaphor about a deep and abiding love, but it becomes pretty clear that it is, indeed, the taking of someone’s virginity. Yee-haw. Let’s stroll through it step by step, shall we?

I can almost hear the stillness
as it yields to the sound of your heart beating

This is quite the poetic opening – it shows great promise for the metaphorical journey I was expecting.

and I can almost hear the echo
of the thoughts that I know you must be thinking

It’s so ethereal, so just-on-the-edge… ‘almost’… ‘echo’… ‘thoughts’… such great allusion!

and I can feel your body tremble
as you wonder what this moment holds in store

Okay, that’s just a bit braggadocios, isn’t it, Conway? I mean, are you really thinking this is going to just shatter her world, ruin her for all future men? Or are you holding her down?

and as I put my arms around you

Okay, good – not holding her down…

 I can tell you’ve never been this far before

Here she is, all nervous about her first time and you’re rubbing it in her face. She’s wondering if she’s good enough and you’re starting right off the bat with a huffy “amateur” under your breath. Nice.

I don’t know what I’m saying

You’re saying pretty much what I just said you’re saying…

as my trembling fingers touch forbidden places

Wow. Just, wow. It’s no wonder radio stations wouldn’t play this song in 1973. Seriously, this has just become a Britney Spears lyric.

I only know that I have waited
for so long for the chance that we are taking

Oh, good. I mean, since you’ve waited so long, it’s all so totally justified. Totes.

I don’t know and I don’t care

Well, that’s good…

what made you tell him you don’t love him anymore

Oooooo, you’re stealing her away – yeah! Conway Twitty has a habit of writing himself into his songs as the greatest lover on Earth. And that’s perfectly acceptable, but – have you seen your hair, Mr. Twitty?

and as I taste your tender kisses
I can tell you’ve never been this far before

Again, “amateur.” Huff.

and as I take the love you’re giving

I’m sincerely relieved that there’s giving and not just taking, ‘cause it could’ve gone that way. The Con Way.

I can feel the tension building in your mind
and you’re wondering if tomorrow
I’ll still love you like I’m loving you tonight

It’s a good question, sister – will he still love you tomorrow?

you have no way of knowing
but tonight will only make me love you more

So, here he makes it clear: You really don’t know if you should trust me or not, lady, and that’s cool. But if you really want me to love you, I mean really, really want me to really, really love you, just let me touch all these forbidden places tonight. I will literally, explicitly, as stated in this song, by binding contract, love you even more for giving it up tonight. Because, damn it, that’s what love is.

and I hope that you’ll believe me

So, I can get some tail…

’cause I know you’ve never been this far before

Or because of that. Wait, is that really a reason? I’m not sure I follow. Anyway, in summary: Mr. Twitty has clearly taught virgins in other relationships that it is right and good and fulfilling to leave your current partner, and to hook up with a smooth talker to give your virginity to because it will make him love you even more tomorrow. But not with Conway Twitty, because that would ruin you for other men.

On second thought, maybe he is a genius.

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