One Day At A Time

Album: Hello Misty Morning (1979)
Charted: 1
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Songfacts®:

  • Lena Martell was born Helen Thompson near Glasgow. She began singing with her brother's band at the age of 11 and was discovered on the talent show Find The Singer four years later. Her primetime TV shows for BBC Television ran over a period of ten years in the 1970s and 1980s.

    Martell was 39 when this version of a Marijohn Wilkin and Kris Kristofferson-penned country favorite spent three weeks at the top of the UK charts. It is the only UK #1 bearing Kris Kristofferson's name.
  • The song was taken from Lena Martell's album, Hello Misty Morning. She said: "I love that song because it is a very simple lyric with a very big message. It appeals to people who are poorly or have just lost someone or are getting divorced. You take life one hour at a time, then one day at a time, and time does eventually heal."
  • "One Day at a Time" was originally recorded by Marilyn Sellars in 1974. Minnesota native Sellars was an airline stewardess before moving to Nashville in 1973. This single, which peaked at #37 in the US, was her biggest hit and won the 1975 Gospel Music Association (GMA) Dove Award for best song.
  • For many country fans, the best known version was the one recorded by Cristy Lane, which topped the US Country chart in 1980. Lane recorded "One Day at a Time" after Lena Martell reached #1 UK with her version.
  • Though Kris Kristofferson is credited as a co-writer, he claims he didn't write the gospel-influenced song. Kristoffersen admitted in the book 1000 UK #1 Hits:

    "I never sing the song because I didn't write it. Marijohn Wilkin was the first publisher I worked for and she published 'For The Good Times' and 'Darby's Castle.' She was a good songwriter herself and I was in the room when she was writing 'One Day At A Time' and I might have given her a line or two. If I studied the lyrics, I might find a phrase of mine but I think she wrote the whole song and I remember her singing it to me. Marijohn was paying me back for some of the songs I had written for her - it was her way of saying 'Thank you.' I've done it myself. I've given a lot of people who've never written a word a piece of one of my songs."

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