About the song
If you are a fan of classic pop and country music, you might have heard of Johnny Tillotson, an American singer-songwriter who had nine top-ten hits in the early 1960s. One of his most popular songs was “Why Do I Love You So”, a touching ballad that reached #42 on the Billboard Hot 100 in January 1960. But do you know the story behind this song? In this blog post, we will explore the history and meaning of “Why Do I Love You So”, and why it still resonates with listeners today.
Johnny Tillotson was born in Jacksonville, Florida, in 1938, and began to perform at local functions as a child. He was discovered by a Nashville publisher who took a tape of his singing to Archie Bleyer, the owner of Cadence Records. Bleyer signed Tillotson to a three-year contract, and issued his first single, “Dreamy Eyes”, in September 1958. The song was written by Tillotson himself, and made the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at #63.
After graduating from the University of Florida in 1959, Tillotson moved to New York City to pursue his music career. He released several singles that charted in the lower half of the Hot 100, including “True True Happiness”, “Earth Angel”, and “Pledging My Love”. His breakthrough came with his sixth single, “Poetry in Motion”, which went to #2 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the UK chart in 1960. The song sold over one million copies and earned him a gold disc.
“Why Do I Love You So” was Tillotson’s follow-up to “Poetry in Motion”. The song was written by Clifford Rhodes, a songwriter who also wrote for Elvis Presley, Pat Boone, and Connie Francis. Rhodes had originally written the song for another singer, but Bleyer thought it would suit Tillotson’s voice better. Tillotson recorded the song in Nashville with session musicians such as Boots Randolph on saxophone and Floyd Cramer on piano. The song was released in November 1959 as the B-side of “Never Let Me Go”, another ballad written by Rhodes.
“Why Do I Love You So” is a simple but heartfelt song that expresses the narrator’s devotion to his lover, despite her flaws and mistakes. The chorus repeats the question “Why do I love you so?” four times, followed by different answers: “My heart should break / But it don’t / Because I love you so / I love you so”. The song has a gentle melody and a smooth rhythm that convey the tender emotions of the singer. The song also features a saxophone solo by Randolph that adds some flair and contrast to the otherwise mellow tune.
The song was well received by the public and the critics. It reached #42 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #43 on the UK chart in early 1960. It also became one of Tillotson’s signature songs, along with “Poetry in Motion” and “It Keeps Right On a-Hurtin'”. The song has been covered by many artists over the years, such as Ricky Nelson, Bobby Vee, Skeeter Davis, and Johnny Rivers.
“Why Do I Love You So” is a classic example of pop music from the late 1950s and early 1960s, when rock and roll was still young and innocent. The song captures the feelings of young love and romance that many people can relate to. The song also showcases Tillotson’s talent as a singer and his versatility as an artist who could sing both pop and country songs with ease. The song is still popular today among fans of oldies music who appreciate its timeless charm and beauty.