FRIARS POINT, Miss. (AP) -- Conway Twitty, who started as a teen rock idol in the 1950s and crossed over to country to become a star, will be honored with a marker on the Mississippi Country Music Trail.
The marker will be unveiled at 1 p.m. Thursday in Friars Point.
Twitty was born in Friars Point in 1933, as Harold Lloyd Jenkins, named after the silent movie star. He changed his name in 1957 by borrowing from Conway, Ark., and Twitty, Texas.
After spending many years as a songwriter, his performing career took off with the name change. He recorded more than 40 No. 1 hits, including "Hello Darlin'," ''It's Only Make Believe," ''Tight-Fittin' Jeans" and "Linda On My Mind."
Twitty died in 1993 at the age of 59.
Twitty and Loretta Lynn won the Country Music Association's Vocal Duo of the Year award in 1972, 1973, 1974, and 1975. They won a Grammy for their 1971 duet, "After The Fire Is Gone."
Twitty got his break as a rockabilly artist in the 1950s, writing songs for the Sun Records' stable of singers that included Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash.
His first hit was "It's Only Make Believe," which soared to No. 1 on the pop charts in 1958.
Twitty capitalized on his teen idol status by starring in the films "Sex Kittens Go to College" and "College Confidential."
Despite the advice of managers, booking agents and record company people, Twitty made the switch to country and turned out a string of No. 1 hits until "Georgia Keeps Pulling On My Ring" missed in 1977.
In 1982, Twitty opened Twitty City, a nine-acre tourist complex in Hendersonville, a Nashville suburb. It included performance facilities, and Twitty often would come out and greet visitors.
Twitty turned down a contract offer to play baseball for the Philadelphia Phillies out of his love for music. He learned his first guitar chords from his father, a riverboat captain on the Mississippi.
He grew up in Friars Point, Miss., listening to the Grand Ole Opry on the radio and was influenced by the local black church. He put together his first band when he was 10.
Country Music Trail, http://www.mscountrymusictrail.org