You're Only Lonely

Album: You're Only Lonely (1979)
Charted: 7
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Songfacts®:

  • A #1 Adult Contemporary hit for 5 weeks, Souther told us that Roy Orbison, who had a hit with "Only The Lonely," was a big influence on this song. Said Souther: "I was a little kid when I first heard Roy Orbison, but he was magic. He's the guy that you turned out the lights and listened to his records by yourself - or with a girl - because he was just completely other-worldly. He had sarcastic and adventurous songs and great arrangements, and then that beautiful, almost operatic voice. Beautiful, natural deep echo on it. He is one of half a dozen or so rockabilly musicians that I really loved. When I was in junior high school was the first time I really started listening to that.

    But then I started playing drums all the time, and I got so fascinated with jazz, I didn't really think much about singing or making rock and roll records for quite a few years. The first song I ever heard called 'Only the Lonely' was this song that Frank Sinatra sang. It's a Johnny Mercer song; it's on a Sinatra album called Songs for Only the Lonely. There are a lot of songs with that name. But the beat that I used for 'You're Only Lonely' is that rockabilly beat. That sort of break in it was taken from another Roy Orbison record called 'I'm Hurtin'' that I really love."

Comments: 6

  • Seventhmist from 7th HeavenInteresting story, Ken. Thanks for sharing.
  • Keith Mccarthy from Southern CaliforniaWikipedia states that J.D. Souther was born in Detroit, Michigan. Does anyone know where, and for how long he lived there? (Another Detroit kid).
  • Art from South CarolinaI was wondering if he was writing that to Linda Ronstadt. The lyrics go "I was there when you were a queen and I'll be the last one their beside you". Linda was referred to as the queen of rock and roll along with a couple others and her and J.D. were an item at one time. Linda never married but did have a seemingly endless list of boy friends although she stated in one interview she was often left alone when "the boys" went out.
  • Ken from Louisville, KyA lot of people wonder why Souther wasn't in the Eagles. In 1971, J.D. and his roommate Glenn Frey were told by neighbor Jackson Browne that his label, Asylum Records, was looking for solo singer-songwriters. So they both auditioned for Asylum co-owner David Geffen. Geffen signed Souther, but told Frey that he "needed to be in a group". Frey then joined Linda Ronstadt's backup band and recommended she hire a drummer he knew named Don Henley. While on tour, they decided to start their own band. But by then, Souther was already a solo artist.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn December 9th, 1979, "You're Only Lonely" by J.D. Souther peaked at #7 (for 2 weeks) on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart and stayed on the chart for 21 weeks...
    As stated above it was #1 for five weeks on Billboard's Adult Contemporary Tracks chart, it reached #1 on November 17th, 1979...
    Mr. Souther, born John David Souther, celebrated his 68th birthday one month ago on November 2nd, 2013.
  • Carol from Indianapolis, InPossibly my all-time favorite song. J.D. Souther has never gotten the recognition he deserves. Perhaps he can take heart that music legends like Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris have recorded his work and recognize him for his genius.
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