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Brenda Lee - Johnny One Time

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Published on Sep 9, 2009

A richly textured vocal painted over a haunting melody. This recording has grown in stature since it's release over 40 years ago. The best way to categorize it may be "timeless work of art". When she heard Willie Nelson's recording of this song on the radio, Brenda Lee had not scored a hit since "Ride, Ride, Ride" reached #37 early in 1967. She thought her interpretation of "Johnny" might fare better than Willie's. Sure enough, in 1969, it reached #3 on the Adult Contemporary chart, #34 on the CashBox survey and #41 on the Hot 100. Surprisingly. it also reached #50 on the Country chart although it was not promoted or even released to country radio stations. Brenda had not had a song on the country chart since One Step at a Time in 1957. This development pointed to a new career direction. The recording was nominated for Grammy in 1970.

"Johnny" was a rare Brenda Lee hit recorded outside of Nashville and her record company. It was recorded at Columbia Recording Studio, 30th St., New York City on October 16, 1968. The session players: Jay Berliner [gt], Louis Mauro [bass], Buddy Saltzman [drums], Arthur Brennan [piano], Dave Carey [vibes]. The producer was Mike Berniker. Arranged and conducted by Marty Manning

The single was released December 23, 1968.


Songwriters: Dallas Frazier; Arthur Leo "Doodle". Owens (1930-1999)

So he told you that you're the dream that he's been searching for
And he told you that he's never met anyone like you before
And I can hear him telling you, your lips taste just like sherry wine
But did he tell you that he's known as Johnny One Time

Did he tell you that your heart will soon become
Another trinket on his bracelet of broken hearts?
Did he tell you that the morning sun will find you
Patching up your shattered pride and searching for the missing parts?

Did he tell you that the special love you're saving
Will disappear in flames of shame like mine?
Did he tell you that he's known as Johnny One Time

So he told you that he'd never lead your heart astray
And he told you that he'd love you forever and a day
And I can hear him telling you that he's the shy and bashful kind
But did he tell you that he's known as Johnny One Time

Did he tell you that your heart will soon become
Another trinket on his bracelet of broken hearts?
And did he tell you that the morning sun will find you
Patching up your shattered pride and searching for the missing parts?

And did he tell you that the special love you're saving
Will disappear in flames of shame like mine?
Did he tell you that he's known as Johnny one time?

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