Don Robertson

Best Selling Chart Songs


PLEASE HELP ME I'M FALLING
(Don Robertson & Hal Blair)
Click for Lyrics

#2 - BILLBOARD MAGAZINE'S ALL-TIME GREATEST COUNTRY HITS
(Billboard Magazine 11/1/94)

#2 COUNTRY SONG OF ALL TIME (Country Weekly Magazine 4/30/96)

* The Blue Ridge Rangers (John Fogerty) * Anita Bryant * The Clebanoff Strings * Bobby Darin * Rusty Draper (#54 POP charts) * Dave Dudley * Duane Eddy * Tommy Edwards * The Everly Brothers * Freddy Fender * Red Foley * Connie Francis & Hank Williams Jr. * Janie Fricke (#12 Country charts) * Gogi Grant * Puff Johnson [Click to buy Puff Johnson's Miracle] * Tom Jones * Gladys Knight * Hank Locklin (#l Country HIT/#8 POP charts) [Click to buy Hank Locklin's Please Help Me I'm Falling (Collectables)] * Johnny Mathis * Patti Page * Dolly Parton w/ Tammy Wynette & Loretta Lynn * Webb Pierce * Charley Pride * Billy Swan * Sweethearts Of The Rodeo * Nino Tempo & April Stevens * Conway Twitty & Loretta Lynn * Lawrence Welk * Slim Whitman * & others *

  WAL-MART nationwide television commercial, 1993/94
 "A PERFECT WORLD" movie (Kevin Costner/Clint Eastwood), 1993
 "THE BODY SNATCHERS" movie, 1993
 "9/30/55" movie, 1977
 "TRAVELLER" movie, 1997
 "FAST PITCH" documentary, 2000

 quotes During the early and mid-fifties, I had been experimenting with translating some of the country guitar (and other instrumental, and vocal) sounds I had come to love to the piano. Not because I had any idea that piano would come to play a starring role on country records, but because I wanted to be able to make these sounds, or something close, and being a keyboard player only and unable to play guitar or steel guitar or fiddle, my only solutions was to find something on the piano that would satisfy my longing to make this kind of music. After Hal (Blair) and I finished PLEASE HELP ME I'M FALLING, we went down to Hill&Range and I played and sang it for Julian Aberbach. They were, at that time, working from their home in Hollywood on Hollywood Blvd.; a big old mansion from the golden days of Hollywood. Julian liked it immediately and said he could get us a top country record on it. Next step: we needed a demo. I was on the outs with my ex-wife Lou, who had been singing the demos up until that time. Also, when I first got the idea and the melody and a partial lyric, I had performed it for Lou who didn't like it. So I decided, for the first time, to try singing it myself, uncertain as I was about my solo vocal work. I plunged in and booked some time at Goldstar and worked with Stan Ross (my all time favorite engineer/producer) in their small studio B in the back. I did it as I had been rehearsing it, using some of the figures in the accompaniment that had resulted from my piano experiments. Stan seemed to like it, which helped enormously since I had, up to that time, been depending totally on Lou's judgment. So my neck was stuck way out on this one: different piano style, me doing the vocal, working without Lou, who had done the vocal solos on just about every one of my demos since I began my serious songwriting career. Hal almost never came around to the studio during the making of a demo... I don't know why, since he undoubtedly could have made important contributions. Too late to find out. Hal died last year.

Anyway, I took the demo to Julian Aberbach and he sent it to Chet Atkins at RCA. Chet wanted to record it with Jim Reeves. He gave it to Jim, who kept it for several weeks and then turned it down. Chet then decided to try it with an artist who was in a real slump in his career and down on his luck but whom Chet felt could do it well. Hank Locklin apparently liked it (and is still alive and performing his major hit, PLEASE HELP ME I'M FALLING, all over the world). Anyway, Chet hired his favorite piano sideman, Floyd Cramer, to play on the session. He had given my demo to Floyd a while before the date and asked Floyd to learn my fills and imitate my style for the Locklin record. If you listen to the original record the piano intro is almost verbatim the intro on my demo. Later on in the record he departed somewhat and (perhaps on Chet's suggestion) played some of the fills in a higher register, which cut through nicely above Locklin's high irish tenor voice. So, in one fell swoop, a revived artist, a hit song, both country and pop, a new piano style, a happy record company, and a happy publisher and two very happy writers. A few years back, Billboard listed PLEASE HELP ME I'M FALLING as the #2 Most Popular Country Song "Of All Time." In aquotes ddition, Skeeter Davis recorded an answer song, I Can't Help You, I'm Falling Too, with the same music, which became a huge hit as well. The power of a song! The right song plus a string of unbelievably lucky events. I think I like doing it better than writing about it, but what the hell, I'm the only one left who actually experienced these events. Floyd died a couple of years ago, and Steve Sholes died maybe ten years ago.

 quotes My personal piano style's origin went back to the time when I rehearsed the Dinning Sisters. In doing this, over and over, I played songs using their voicing with the melody in the middle. I was always trying to get the vocal sounds at the piano. At the same time, I was listening to other country musicians, primarily guitar, steel guitar and fiddle players. I noticed how the guitar players slid from one note to another in whole tones, producing a wonderful effect. Same with fiddle players. There was no way to do this on the piano ... or was there? I began trying. At that time, when piano was used in country bands (which was not often, as I recall), the pianists played honky tonk or bar room or rinky tink style with a lot of right hand tremolos in the upper register [lisquotes ten to Floyd Cramer's piano work prior to PLEASE HELP ME I'M FALLING]. As time went on my experiments in this area evolved. I played it for a close friend and colleague, Sheb Wooley, at his house one day in Ojai, California. He was so intrigued he asked me if I would use it on one of his sessions at MGM Records. I told him that I wanted to save it for a project of my own. This was about 1957 or '58. Occasionally, on demos, I would sneak in a phrase or two.


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