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Song ID: Jerry Wallace’s Night Gallery hit

screen-shot-2013-09-02-at-92411-pmI’ve been watching reruns of Rod Serling’s Night Gallery on MeTV. This was an early ’70s series that ran for three seasons and had a format similar to the Twilight Zone, with Serling as the host introducing creepy tales with twist endings. Each episode featured a corresponding painting in keeping with the “gallery” theme and fright factors that were more heavy-handed than in the Twilight Zone.

I finally got to see an episode called “The Tune in Dan’s Cafe” (painting on left), which I had known spawned the Jerry Wallace 1972 country #1 hit “If You Leave Me Tonight I’ll Cry.”  The episode told the story of a jukebox that played the same record over and over again due to its being haunted by the ghost of a jilted lover. After the episode ran in January of ’72, apparently, radio stations received enough requests for the nonexistent record to prompt an official release by studio vocalist Wallace, who’d had moderate pop chart success until the mid-sixties, when he’d shifted gears to country.

I’ve never much liked this Wallace record, being the kind of overwrought schmaltz country radio had more than its share of in the early ’70s.  When I saw the episode, though, I realized that the TV version is better, having a harder country sound.  Would listener demand for the song have been so strong if the TV version had been as goopy as the official release? Well, probably. Try as I might to decipher why songs become popular, sometimes melodies just get stuck in people’s heads.

Read more at Early ’70s Radio

Jerry Wallace – “If You Leave Me Tonight I’ll Cry” (Night Gallery TV excerpt) (1972)

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Jerry Wallace – “If You Leave Me Tonight I’ll Cry” (hit record excerpt) (1972)

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3 Responses to “Song ID: Jerry Wallace’s Night Gallery hit”

  1. Boneyard Media » Blog Archive » Song ID: Jerry Wallace – “Mandom” (1970) Says:

    […] wrote about Jerry Wallace previously, about how he had a hit single that sprung from a Rod Serling Night Gallery episode, about how he […]

  2. Troy Hess Says:

    … What is unusual about the song is the haunting sound of the ” tremelo” that the lead guitar notes make! It’s very haunting for lack of another term! And then when the record skips in the show where it says ” I will never love another”….that ties in so well with the episode!! My dad said the same thing you did about the original being more country than the released version, & Ill concur, but the fact that the song was used in a Night Gallery episode, & the way it was used made the song so catchy & gave it an elevated stance!!! I was living in Nashville the night the episode aired, & WSM’s phones blew up afterward with requests!!

  3. Kim Says:

    I love recollections like this! Thanks for posting. I do hope a full version of the song the way it appeared on TV will turn up some day…

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