After Conway Twitty passed away on June 5, 1993, country music lost not only one of its greatest artists, but songwriters as well. A year later in October 1994, many of his fans gathered for an auction of over 2,000 Twitty-related artifacts in hopes of walking away with something to remember him by.
Mike Patton was one of those people. A longtime fan of Twitty and a collector of music and movie memorabilia, Patton purchased a stack of yellowed papers that included some of Twitty's handwritten lyrics.
After purchasing the papers, Patton tucked them away and didn't look at them for over twenty years. Then earlier this year, as he was sorting through the items in his various collections in preparation of moving, Patton came across Twitty's lyrics again and discovered something incredible.
Patton's friend, Ramsey Dean, started researching the stack of lyrics Patton had, and discovered that half of the songs had never been recorded by Twitty.
Two of the lyric sheets appeared to be early drafts of songs Twitty recorded during his lifetime, called "The Story of My Love" and "Together Forever". Lyrics to another song, called "I Kinda, Sorta Think You're Wonderful" were copyrighted, but the song was never recorded.
There are other pages of lyrics that don't even have a copyright, including lyrics to one song called, "I Want Everyone to Know".
Jay Orr of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum told The Tennessean the discovery is huge, noting that modern artists could finally bring Twitty's unrecorded songs to life.
"If these can be proven to be Conway's work, there might be some [artists] interested in doing something with them," he said.
It isn't a new concept to have modern artists sing unrecorded songs of late country legends. In 2011, artists such as Jack White and Merle Haggard recorded some songs that were written by Hank Williams, but never recorded by the "Hey Good Lookin'" singer himself.
While Orr says that having modern artists record Twitty's lost lyrics would be an amazing thing for country music, he admits it won't be the same to hear the songs without Twitty's voice attached to them.
"He was able to transform a song with his performance," he said. "If you look at the lyrics to 'Linda on My Mind,' they don't have quite the same impact on the page that they would coming out of his mouth."
Regardless of what ends up happening with the four unrecorded songs, the discovery is still a monumental one for country music. Hard to believe that Patton had four unrecorded songs of Twitty's for over two decades and didn't even know about it!
You can listen to one of the songs Twitty did end up recording from Patton's stack of lyrics, called "The Story of My Love," in the video below.
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