Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye

Album: Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye (1967)
Charted: 28 6
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Songfacts®:

  • Written by the country singer/songwriter John D. Loudermilk ("Tobacco Road"), this dreamy ballad suggests a romantic pact that entails a million-year commitment. If the couple can't work out their differences after a near eternity together, only then they can split up.

    Since its debut in 1962, the song has been recorded by several artists, with the most popular being The Casinos' 1967 version, which went to #6 on the Hot 100.
  • This was the Casinos' very first hit. It took the group nine years to attain it. (Funny enough, the group consisted of nine men and it took them nine years to receive their first hit!).
  • This has also been covered by Johnny Tillotson, Andy Williams, Bettye Swan, The Manhattans, James Brown, Perry Como, Frankie Valli, Rosanne Cash, and Joss Stone, among others.
  • Loudermilk worked on the demo with Nashville hitmakers Don Gant and Norro Wilson, who helped him add the finishing touches. He recalled, "Now it was Don Gant who suggested: John, you need to repeat that line 'then it don't work out, then it don't work out...' And that was a good idea, it sounded good, it was a little hook, you know."
  • This was first recorded by "Band Of Gold" (1955) singer Don Cherry as a country tune in 1962, but went nowhere. Two years later, Johnny Nash recorded it in Nashville, where it garnered some local attention but never went national.

    When Gene Hughes, lead singer of the Cincinnati-based doo-wop group The Casinos, heard Nash's version, he brought it on the road. They performed it on the club circuit for several years before they finally recorded it. The Casinos had just inked a deal at Fraternity Records when Tom Dooley, a Cincinnati disc jockey, asked them to cut an instrumental of King Curtis' "Soul Serenade." The group used the extra studio time (at King Studios in Cincinnati) to record a swoonworthy orchestral arrangement of "Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye."
  • The odds of this becoming a pop hit in '67 weren't great. The Casinos' doo-wop stylings and clean-cut image were falling out of fashion by the mid-'60s as America was firmly in the grip of Beatlemania, and long-haired, blue-jeans-wearing youths were embracing the laid-back hippie aesthetic.

    Hughes attributed the success to luck. He noted in the Billboard Book of One Hit Wonders: "Everybody says, 'What a great idea, what a great arrangement.' It was luck. Luck and perfection. We were comfortable with it. There was nothing to it. Luck. Work hard and sometimes luck happens."
  • This was The Casinos' only major hit. Harry Carlson, the head of Fraternity, pushed the Don Everly-penned "It's All Over" (a rather prophetic title) as its immediate follow-up, and it went to #65 on the Hot 100. Hughes knew it was a mistake. "As I told him, that song didn't have our sound," he recalled. "It was just to be an album cut, then on the way back from a gig I heard it on the radio - announced as our next single - and I knew it was all over."
  • Casinos guitarist Mickey Denton and organist Bob Armstrong came up with the arrangement.
  • Although it wasn't a hit for Loudermilk, who included it on his 1967 album, Suburban Attitudes In Country Verse, his version did pave the way for the song's success on the Country chart. Eddy Arnold's cover, from his Walkin' In Love Land album, went to #1 on the Country chart in 1968. In 1976, Glen Campbell's version, a medley with "Don't Pull Your Love," peaked at #4 (and also reached #27 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the Easy Listening chart). In 1996, Neal McCoy took it to #4 on the tally when he issued it as the lead single from his self-titled album.
  • This was used in the TV shows The End Of The F***ing World (episode #2.8) and Transparent ("Moppa" - 2014).

    The Casinos' version was also featured in the 2006 movie Paris, je t'aime, and Nash's cover showed up in the 2021 Sopranos prequel, The Many Saints of Newark.

Comments: 13

  • BobPoignant
  • Maryhelen from Illinoisthe original recording or this song was by don cherry in 1962 and there are 5 other covers before the casinos.
  • John From Bel Air from Maryland67 was when we started dating and two years later we married, but we still used this song at our wedding. We're still together 52 years later.
  • Marilyn from FloridaFirst record I ever bought I sing it to one of my senior cat's as his time is running out.
  • Sam from Sherman Oaksit's actually interesting what the Casino's did to their version of the song compared to the original by Don Cherry. the original was a super typical I minor VI Minor II Major V so when they did their version of the song, they substituted the Major V with the diminished II (they also added a 7th onto it). they also added a cool intro with a Diminished I chord resolving to the Diminished II chord that wasn't in the original.
  • Ricky from Ohsweken, Ontario CanadaListen CAREFULLY and you can hear talking in the middle of this song.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn January 8th, 1967, "Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye" by the Casinos entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; and on March 5th it peaked at #6 {for 1 week} and spent 13 weeks on the Top 100...
    It was composed by John D. Loudermilk, who also wrote Paul Revere & the Raiders #1 hit, "Indian Reservation"...
    Three covered versions have charted on the Top 100; Eddy Arnold {#84 in 1968}, Glen Campbell {#27 in 1976}, and Toby Beau {#57 in 1979}...
    And on October 13th, 1968 Eddy Arnold's version reached #1 {for 2 weeks} on Billboard's Hot Country Singles chart.
  • Robert from Hagerstown, MdThis was one of the greatest songs of all time. I was stationed at Ft. Bragg, NC in basic when I first heard it.
  • Camille from Toronto, OhWow. The words say it all. Everything else is a bonus. What a classic.
  • Stacie from Farmerville, LaPhil Langley of Lake Charles, Louisiana actually co-wrote this song when he was 15. Story was he had just broken up with a girlfriend. He ended up selling the song for about $1,500.00. Phil was, and still is a wonderful Saxophone player who now plays for the Lord in his church orchestra.
  • Darren from Clarkston, WaDobie Gray also did a soulful rendition of this song too!
  • Donovan from Sacramento, CaWhat is very surprising is that this song cracked the Billboard Top 10 in 1967 when psychedelic music was in full swing and when slow doo-wop ballads were from a bygone era. It is a very beautiful song though.
  • Chip from Tiltonsville, OhNeil McCoy also did a great version of this song a few years ago.
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