16: Everlasting Love

16: Everlasting Love

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Country Music

Everlasting Love

Story by Buzz Cason

Song written by Buzz Cason and Mac Gayden

Recorded by Robert Knight, Carl Carlton, Louise Mandrell, Narvel Felts, Gloria Estefan, and others

Mac Gayden and I were producing Robert Knight, a young black singer from Franklin, Tennessee, on my label, Rising Sons Records. I owned it with Bobby Russell and it was distributed by Fred Foster on Monument Records. We had cut three songs and we had room for one more. Mac came over with two songs that had real nice riffs and grooves. I asked him, “Could you hook those two songs together in one song somehow?”

He said, “Yeah, I could, but I’ve got to go right now because my wife’s got dinner at home waiting for me.”

We were going to finish cutting the next day so I put a lyric to it that night. It was kind of a rush job actually. The original version we cut did not even have a second verse. It just had a bunch of “ooooh’s” in the song. The “girls” sang that part, the girls actually being Carol Montgomery and me! Then we added a second verse and Carol and I did all the high background vocals on the Robert Knight version and the Carl Carlton version. Carl’s is the version that most people recognize on the oldie stations. He cut his in 1974, and they really upped the tempo for his version.

I got the title from the Old Testament. In the book of Jeremiah, there’s a verse that says, “Yea, I’ve loved you with an everlasting love.” That always stuck in my mind, so I thought it would make a good title for a song one day, but that was just the title. The verses talk about a guy who splits up with his girlfriend: “Hearts go astray leaving hurt when they go / I went away just when you needed me so.” The singer in the song is obviously not married because there is another verse that says “Need you by my side / girl to be my bride. . .” I was married at the time, but wasn’t thinking of anyone in particular. It wasn’t about an old girlfriend or anything like that. It’s a pretty simplistic little lyric. Like I said, it was a rush job so we knocked out the lyrics in about 20 minutes. The next day when we were doing the session, we almost ran out of time to put it down.

We cut it at Fred Foster Sound Studio on 7th Avenue downtown in Nashville. It was the first master session for Brent Maher. Ten years later, Brent would be the chief engineer for Creative Workshop, my studio. He also later worked with The Judds and tons of other acts.

It was also a Top 40 song in four consecutive decades: Robert Knight in the 1960s, Carl Carlton in the 1970s, Rachel Sweet and Rex Smith in the 1980s, and Gloria Estefan in the 1990s. In the 2000s, U2 covered it on an album. The biggest single on it was a singer named Sandra who released it in Europe in the late 1980s. Hers was a huge hit in several countries — Germany, Spain, Italy, France, and the Netherlands — and sold three million records. And Jamie Cullum’s version was in the movie Bridget Jones’s Diary. It’s been in five or six movies.

Louise Mandrell and Narvel Felts released their country versions of the song at the same time about 1979. Narvel was on ABC/Dot at the time and it was a Top 20 hit for him on the country charts. People didn’t think twice about getting in a cover war back then. They would just jump right in.

My favorite is still the Robert Knight one. It was done with a slower, Motown beat. It also had some different sounds on it that, for the time period, were kind of innovative. The string sound is actually an organ and we used a lot of echo. This was before all that crazy dance junk came in during the 1970s and, later, disco. I just think Robert’s was the one that had the magic in it.

Everlasting Love

Hearts go astray, leaving hurt when they go.

I went away just when you needed me so.

Filled with regret, I come back begging you

Forgive, forget, where’s the love we once knew?

Open up your eyes, then you’ll realize.

Here I stand with my

Everlasting love.

Need you by my side.

Girl to be my bride.

You’ll never be denied everlasting love

From the very start, open up your heart, be a lasting part of

Everlasting love.

Ohhh, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. . . .

When life’s filled with woes

No one really knows

’Til someone’s there to show

The way to lasting love

Like the sun that shines

Endlessly it shines

You always will be my mine

It’s eternal love

When other loves are gone

I will be strong

We have our very own

Everlasting love

Open up your eyes, then you’ll realize.

Here I stand with my everlasting love

Need you by my side.

Girl to be my bride.

You’ll never be denied

Everlasting love.

From the very start

Open up your heart

Be a lasting part of

Everlasting love.

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