About the song

Today, we delve into one of his lesser-known gems, a tender ballad titled Don’t Cry Joni. Released in 1975 as the lead single from his album The High Priest of Country Music, this song offers a glimpse into the complexities of young love and the yearning for connection that transcends age differences.

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While not reaching the chart-topping heights of some of Twitty’s other hits, Don’t Cry Joni holds a special place in the hearts of many country music aficionados. Its charm lies in its poignant lyricism and the unique duet performance with Twitty’s own daughter, Joni Lee. This familial collaboration adds a layer of authenticity to the narrative, one that resonates with the innocence and vulnerability of young love.

The song’s narrative revolves around a young girl named Joni, presumably a neighbor or childhood friend of the protagonist. The lyrics, penned by Twitty himself, paint a picture of a blossoming affection between the two. The protagonist, likely an older man compared to Joni, grapples with his feelings – torn between his growing affection and the societal constraints of such an age gap.

Don’t Cry Joni unfolds in a classic country music format. The verses, delivered with Twitty’s signature smooth baritone, establish the backstory – the childhood friendship, the innocent crush blossoming in Joni’s heart, and the protagonist’s internal conflict. The simple yet evocative guitar work creates a melancholic atmosphere, perfectly complementing the emotional weight of the lyrics.

Joni Lee’s entrance in the chorus adds a beautiful dimension to the song. Her youthful vocals, brimming with a touch of naivety, perfectly capture the hopeful spirit of young love. The lyrics in the chorus, sung by Joni Lee, plead with the protagonist to wait for her, expressing her unwavering love and commitment despite their age difference. “Jimmy please say you’ll wait for me / I’ll grow up some day you’ll see / Saving all my kisses just for you / Signed with love forever true,” she sings, her voice a beacon of hope amidst the protagonist’s emotional turmoil.

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The story takes a heartbreaking turn in the second verse. The protagonist, unable to ignore the societal pressures and the age difference, breaks Joni’s heart. The lyrics, “Slowly I read her note once more / Then I went over to the house next door / Her tear drops fell like rain that day / When I told Joni what I had to say,” paint a vivid picture of Joni’s devastation.

The remaining verses explore the protagonist’s internal struggle. He leaves their hometown, seeking solace and a fresh start. However, Joni’s memory continues to haunt him, the weight of his decision a constant burden. Unable to bear the separation any longer, he returns to Joni, only to discover that time has moved on, and she has found happiness elsewhere.

Don’t Cry Joni is a poignant ballad that transcends the boundaries of a simple love song. It delves into the complexities of human emotions, societal expectations, and the enduring power of young love. Through Twitty’s masterful storytelling and the heartfelt duet with his daughter, the song leaves a lasting impression, reminding us of the bittersweet beauty of first love and the sacrifices we sometimes make in the name of societal norms.

Video

Lyrics

(Conway Twitty)
Conway Twitty & Joni Lee

(Joni)
”Jimmy, please say you’ll wait for me
I’ll grow up someday you’ll see
Saving all my kisses just for you
Signed with love forever true.”

(Conway)
Joni was the girl who lived next door
I’ve known her I guess ten years or more
Joni wrote me a note one day
And this is what she had to say.

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(Joni)
”Jimmy, please say you’ll wait for me
I’ll grow up someday you’ll see
Saving all my kisses just for you
Signed with love forever true.”

(Conway)
Slowly I read her note once more
Then I went over to the house next door
Her tear drops fell like rain that day
When I told Joni what I had to say.

(All)
”Joni, Joni please don’t cry
You’ll forget me by and by
You’re just fifteen, I’m twenty two
And Joni, I just cant wait for you.”

(Conway)
Soon I left our little home town
Got me a job and tried to settle down
But these words kept haunting my memory
The words that Joni said to me.

(Joni)
”Jimmy please say you’ll wait for me
I’ll grow up some day you’ll see
Saving all my kisses just for you
Signed with love forever true.”

(Conway)
I packed my clothes and I caught a plane
I had to see Joni, I had to explain
How my heart was filled with her memory
And ask my Joni if she’d marry me.

I ran all the way to the house next door
But things weren’t like they were before
My tear drops fell like rain that day
When I heard what Joni had to say.

(Joni)
”Jimmy, Jimmy please don’t cry
You’ll forget me by and by
It’s been five years since you’ve been gone
Jimmy, I married your best friend John…”