A Lover's Question

Album: The Best Of Clyde McPhatter (1958)
Charted: 6
Play Video

Songfacts®:

  • This was McPhatter's first Top 10 hit after leaving the Drifters. He wrote the song with Brook Benton, who had his first of 24 US Top 40 hits in 1959 with "It's Just A Matter Of Time." Benton sang the demo version of "A Lover's Question," which his producer Clyde Otis then presented to Jerry Wexler and Ahmet Ertegun of Atlantic Records, who liked it so much that they invited Benton and Otis to come into the studio and recreate that feel for Clyde McPhatter's hit version of the tune. That's Benton doing the finger snaps.

Comments: 11

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn this day in 1978 {April 2nd} Jacky Ward's covered version of "A Lover's Question" peaked at #3 {for 1 week} on Billboard's Hot Country Singles chart, for the week it was at #3, the #2 record for that week was "It Don't Feel Like Sinnin' To Me" by the Kendalls and at #1 was "Someone Loves You Honey" by Charley Pride...
    "A Lovers's Question" was Jacky Ward's highest charted record, between 1972 and 1988 the Groveton, Texas native had twenty four records on the Hot Country Singles chart, five* made the Top 10...
    Besides the above "A Lover's Questions", his other four Top 10 records were "Fools Fall In Love" {#9 in 1977}, "Wisdom of A Fool" {#8 in 1979}, "Save Your Heart For Me" {#8 in 1980}, and "That's The Way A Cowboy Rocks and Rolls" {#7 in 1980}...
    Jacky Ward will celebrate his 78th birthday in seven months on November 18th, 2020...
    * He just missed having a sixth Top 10 record when his "Rhythm of The Rain" peaked at #11 in 1978...
    And from the 'For What It's Worth' department, the remainder of the Hot Country Singles' Top 10 on April 2nd, 1978:
    At #4. "Cheated On A Good Woman's Love" by Billy 'Crash' Craddock
    #5. "Ready For The Times To Get Better" by Crystal Gayle
    #6. "Every Time Two Fools Collide" by Kenny Rodgers and Dottie West
    #7. "Hearts On Fire" by Eddie bbitt
    #8. "I've Got A Winner In You" by Don Williams
    #9. "Sweet Sweet Smile" by the Carpenters
    #10. "We Believe In Happy Endings" by Johnny Rodriguez
  • Barry from Sauquoit, Ny"A Lover's Question" peaked at #6, and Mr. McPhatter had one other Top 10 record, "Lover Please"...
    And on March 7th, 1962 "Lover Please" entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #89; and seven weeks later on April 5th, 1962 it peaked at #7 {for 1 week} and spent 14 weeks on the Top 100...
    Between 1956 and 1965 Mr. McPhatter, as a solo artist, had sixteen records make Billboard's R&B Singles chart; nine made the Top 10 with three reaching #1, "Treasure of Love" {1956}, "Long Lonely Nights" {1957}, and "A Lover's Question" {1958}...
    He just missed having a fourth #1 record when "Seven Days" peaked at #2 in 1956...
    With the Drifters he had four Top 10 records on the R&B Singles chart; "Money Honey" {#1 in 1953}, "Such a Night" {#5 in 1954}, “Honey Love” {#1 in 1954} and a covered version of "White Christmas" {#2 in 1954}...
    And in a duet with Ruth Brown he reached #8 with "Love Has Joined Us Together" in 1955.
  • Val Edwards from Asheville Nc@ TJ Williams; TJ, your grandfather and I were best of friends for over 2 decades, I'm sorry I have not checked this post
    for a very long time to get back to you. I am writing a screenplay about your grandfather and would love to share with you everything I knew about him, his music, his friends etc. I have a great photo and a couple of Demos with Jimmy singing our songs on.
    Val Edwards
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn December 26th 1958, Clyde McPhatter performed "A Lover's Question" at the Apollo Theater in Harlem in N.Y.C.
    At the time the song was at #9 on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; and twenty-four days later on January 19th, 1959 it peaked at #6 {for 1 week} and spent almost a half-year on the Top 100 {24 weeks}...
    And on December 2nd, 1958 it reached #1 {for 1 week} on Billboard's R&B Singles chart...
    Three covered versions have made the Top 100 chart; Ernestine Anderson's version peaked at #98 in 1961, Otis Redding reached #48 in 1969, and in 1975 Loggins & Messina took it to #89.
  • Tj Williams from Newport News, Va@ Val Edwards, Detroit, MI - Did you really write with Jimmy Williams? If so, would you mind telling me more about him please? He was my grandfather, but I was never able to meet him. So, I just know of some of the songs he wrote, which inspired my writing.
  • Peter from Chicago, IlClyde Mc Phatter started out in 1951, singing for Billy Ward and The Dominoes, for King/Federal Records. Then, in 1953, McPhatter formed the first generation of Drifters and they recorded for Atlantic Records, beginning in 1953, their first hit was "Honey Love". In 1954, Mc Phatter left the group to serve in the army, an when he was discharged he went solo, recording the 1956 song, "Treasure of Love". Then, in 1958, he recorded "A Lover's Question". Mc Phatter stayed with Atlantic until 1960,then he switched to Mercury Records, hitting with "Lover Please". After this, he only had minor hits, or covers of older hits. Clyde McPhatter died at a young age in 1972.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyThis is the first song I recorded on my 'Voice of Music' 7 inch reel to reel tape recorder that I had purchased with the money I saved from my paper route in 1958...
  • Steve Dotstar from Los Angeles, CaI'd like to know who did the arrangement on this record.
    I love the choral voicings in the backround...was it RayEllis or Stan Applebaum?...it sounds like Stan's choral concept..
    Steveo
  • Val Edwards from Detroit, MiMcPhatter did not write this song with Brook Benton as claimed by Brad Wind of Miami (Brad,sorry you are full of hot wind,do your homework.} The song was written with Brook with Jimmy Williams,Jimmy also wrote Nancy Wilson's smash Grammy award hit "How Glad I Am" Trust me Brad, I wrote with Jimmy and worked with Brook in the 60's and 70's
  • Dae from Sumter, ScClyde McPhatter's son, Ron, sings with Bill Pinkney and The Original Drifters. Dr. Pinkney is the surviving member of the original Drifters.
  • Brandon from Seattle, WaSounds a lot like Jackie Wilson singing "Lonely Teardrops."
see more comments

Editor's Picks

P.F. Sloan

P.F. SloanSongwriter Interviews

P.F. was a teenager writing hits and playing on tracks for Jan & Dean when he wrote a #1 hit that got him blackballed.

Alice Cooper

Alice CooperFact or Fiction

How well do you know this shock-rock harbinger who's been publicly executed hundreds of times?

The Real Nick Drake

The Real Nick DrakeSong Writing

The head of Drake's estate shares his insights on the late folk singer's life and music.

Experience Nirvana with Sub Pop Founder Bruce Pavitt

Experience Nirvana with Sub Pop Founder Bruce PavittSong Writing

The man who ran Nirvana's first label gets beyond the sensationalism (drugs, Courtney) to discuss their musical and cultural triumphs in the years before Nevermind.

Supertramp founder Roger Hodgson

Supertramp founder Roger HodgsonSongwriter Interviews

Roger tells the stories behind some of his biggest hits, including "Give a Little Bit," "Take the Long Way Home" and "The Logical Song."

Goodbye, Hello: Ten Farewell Tour Fake-Outs

Goodbye, Hello: Ten Farewell Tour Fake-OutsSong Writing

The 10 biggest "retirement tours" that didn't take.