Elizabeth

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Songfacts®:

  • After the Statler Brothers tenor singer Lew DeWitt departed the group because of health problems stemming from Crohn's disease, he was replaced by Virginia native Jimmy Fortune. This was the first song Fortune wrote for the group. He recalled to The Boot in 2011 how the iconic actress Elizabeth Taylor inspired the tune: "We were on our way to Tulsa Oklahoma, in 1983, and Harold (Reid) and Don (Reid) pulled out the movie Giant, which I had never seen. It starred Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson and James Dean, and some of it was filmed in Virginia (the Statlers' home state) so they thought I should see it. We started watching it, and I fell in love with her. Of course I knew who she was, but I wasn't all that familiar with that movie. It became one of my favorites.

    When I got down to Tulsa, I asked Harold and Don, if I wrote a song would the Statlers record it? They said they would if it was good enough. That night after the show, this lady walked up to me and stuck out her hand and said, 'I'm Elizabeth.' I thought to myself that somebody was trying to tell me something. I wrote the song that night, and played it for Harold and Don the next day and they said it would be on the Statlers' first record with me."
  • "Elizabeth" was The Statler Brothers' forty-fourth country hit and their second #1 on the country charts spending one week at the peak position. Fortune recalled to The Boot: "It was the first song I ever wrote. I was like, 'That was easy enough!' But I found out it wasn't that easy to write No. 1 songs," Jimmy says, laughing. "It was a pretty incredible experience, and being with the Statlers and having a platform to build off of was a huge part of its success."
  • Bluegrass music band Dailey & Vincent covered the song on their 2010 Cracker Barrel album Dailey & Vincent Sing the Statler Brothers. Their version was nominated for the 2011 Grammy Award for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.

Comments: 3

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyHarold Reid, who sang bass for the Grammy-winning country group the Statler Brothers, died on Friday, April 24th, 2002 after a long battle with kidney failure. He was 80 years old...
    Between 1965 and 1990 the Staunton, Virginia group had sixty six records on the Billboard Country charts, thirty three made the Top 10 with four reaching #1, "Do You Know You Are My Sunshine" for two weeks in May 1978, "Elizabeth" for one week in March for 1984, "My Only Love" for one week in March of 1984, and "Too Much On My Heart" for one week in November of 1985...
    Founding member Lewis Calvin DeWitt passed away at the young age of 52 on August 15th, 1990 {Crohn's disease}...
    May both Mr. Reid and Mr. DeWitt R.I.P.
    * They just missing having three more #1 records when their "Flowers On The Wall" for four weeks in 1966, "Do You Remember These" for four weeks in 1972, and "Oh Baby Mine (I Get So Lonely)" for one week in 1983, all peaked at #2...
  • Patricia from IndianaI love this song, but cried eveytime I listened to it, thinking of my Mother who was. ELizabeth. Thanks for writing it Jimmy. Love the Statlers always.
  • Ginny White from Bay AreaLove this song. I first herd it years ago, but it took on a new meaning about 25, 26 years ago, when my second niece was supposed to be born. Her first name was Elizabeth. Sadly she died in the womb, a few days before she was to have been born. I have often wondered through the years, what she would have been like or what she would be doing. can't wait to meet her in heaven. wish I could tell Jimmy THANKS for this song, and for Name On A Wall.
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