Don Gibson worked as a pop performer in the 50's and 60's and as a country performer. His primary success came as a songwriter.
He was born in Shelby, North Carolina in 1928 and his name at birth was Donald Eugene Gibson. He enjoyed singing, songwriting, and the guitar and appeared profesionally on local radio programs as early as age 14. In 1952 Don went to Nashville and became a regular on the Barn Dance program on radio. Record producer Wesley Rose heard Gibson singing at a Knoxville honky tonk in 1954 and signed him to a contract as a songwriter. A short time later, Don had a record deal with the RCA label. He moved to MGM, then back to RCA in 1957.
By this time some of the songs he had written had become hits, including I Can't Stop Loving You for Kitty Wells and Sweet Dreams for Faron Young. Under the guidance of record producer Chet Atkins, Gibson recorded Oh Lonesome Me on a record that contained his I Can't Stop Loving You on the reverse side; he had written both songs on the same day. Oh Lonesome Me turned out to be his first hit, and his biggest pop hit ever. (He had written it as Ole Lonesome Me but a secretary at Acuff-Rose misunderstood him and wrote it down differently.) It made the pop top ten in 1958 and established his name with the record-buying public. Other top forty pop hits followed for Gibson (as a performer), including Blue Blue Day, Just One Time, and Sea Of Heartbreak. The first of these was also a number one country hit. Altogether, from 1958 to 1961, Don put 14 hits in the pop top one hundred. He joined the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville in 1958.
Gibson also succeeded as a country performer, with 37 hits in the top forty from 1958 to 1971. Some of the more notable of these were Look Who's Coming, Give Myself A Party, Don't Tell Me Your Troubles, Sweet Dreams, Lonesome Number One, I Can Mend Your Broken Heart, and (Yes) I'm Hurting. He wrote most of his hit songs himself. Gibson also recorded some records as part of a duet with such notable performers as Dottie West and Sue Thompson.
Gibson said one time that he wrote songs mostly for the guitar. He wrote about love, and about loneliness, using simple words. Gibson's two most successful songs were ones that he wrote and which were recorded by a number of different artists. The first is I Can't Stop Loving You, a beautiful song that was released not only by Kitty Wells and by Don Gibson himself, but also by others including Elvis Presley and Conway Twitty. The most successful version, of course, was by Ray Charles, who made it a number one pop hit in 1962. Gibson's other smash success is Sweet Dreams, recorded not only by Faron Young and by Don Gibson himself, but also by Loretta Lynn, Patsy Cline, Emmylou Harris, and Reba McEntire. Sweet Dreams was chosen as the title for the biopic about the life of Patsy Cline which was released in 1985.
Don Gibson issued more than half a dozen albums over the years. His biggest selling hit as a pop performer was Oh Lonesome Me. Two years before he died on November 17, 2003 at age 75, Gibson was inducted into the Country Music Hall Of Fame.
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