Song Lyric Sunday — The Pretender

When I saw that Jim Adams had chosen the themes of Fraud, Hypocrite, Phony, Pretender, and Snob for this week’s Song Lyric Sunday, I knew I was going to go with Jackson Browne’s song, “The Pretender” for my pick. But then I realized that I had already used that song for a Song Lyric Sunday post way back on December 17, 2017, back when Helen Vahdati was hosting Song Lyric Sunday.

So rather than duplicating that post, I decided to go with the song, “The Great Pretender.”

“The Great Pretender” was recorded by The Platters, and was released as a single in November 1955. The words and music were written by Buck Ram, the Platters’ manager and producer who was also a successful songwriter. The song reached number 1 on Billboard’s Top 100.

This song describes a man who deals with his heartbreak by denying it. He’s mastered the art of smiling through the pain. Buck Ram, who needed a follow-up to the group’s first hit, “Only You,” wrote the lyrics in about 20 minutes in the washroom of the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas, where the group was performing.

“The Great Pretender” was the first ever number 1 doo wopp song in the U.S. and it also made The Platters the first R&B group to have a number 1 hit on the pop charts. Freddie Mercury revived “The Great Pretender” in 1987 when he released his version of a single. It didn’t make an impact in America, but went to number 4 in the U.K.

Here are the lyrics to “The Great Pretender.”

Maybe it’s just me, but I find it interesting that the original Platters hit was released as a single in 1955 on the Mercury label and was released as a successful single 32 years later by Freddie Mercury. Also on the Mercury label.

Oh oh, yes I’m the great pretender
Pretending that I’m doing well
My need is such I pretend too much
I’m lonely but no one can tell

Oh oh, yes I’m the great pretender
Adrift in a world of my own
I’ve played the game but to my real shame
You’ve left me to grieve all alone

Too real is this feeling of make believe
Too real when I feel what my heart can’t conceal

Yes I’m the great pretender
Just laughin’ and gay like a clown
I seem to be what I’m not, you see
I’m wearing my heart like a crown
Pretending that you’re still around

Too real is this feeling of make believe
Too real when I feel what my heart can’t conceal

Yes I’m the great pretender
Just laughin’ and gay like the clown
I seem to be what I’m not, you see
I’m wearing my heart like a crown
Pretending that you’re still around
(Still around)

And for those who are interested, here’s Freddie Mercury’s rendition.

17 thoughts on “Song Lyric Sunday — The Pretender

  1. Paula Light August 29, 2021 / 5:00 am

    Dang, I was wrong! I thought you’d go with Bob Dylan’s 4th Street, so I passed it up 😂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango August 29, 2021 / 6:31 am

      That would have been a good one, but I had the word “pretender” in my head and couldn’t shake it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. newepicauthor August 29, 2021 / 7:40 am

    Tony Williams has such a great voice, but Freddy was a better showman. Nice choice Fandango.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Maggie August 29, 2021 / 9:22 am

    This was THE pick of the day today I think. Great choice and such a classic song.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. J-Dub August 29, 2021 / 11:43 am

    The Platters edges it out for me. Freddie is a musical god but the original with those harmonies by the Platters is just wonderful.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Faye Arcand August 29, 2021 / 10:37 pm

    Wow. Thanks so much for sharing! That was awesome. Great way to end the evening.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Nope, Not Pam August 30, 2021 / 2:35 am

    I’d forgotten Freddie had done that track, it made me a little sad in truth.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. leigha66 September 11, 2021 / 4:56 pm

    I had never heard Freddie’s version… he was so talented, such a loss. Great song choice though!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Carol anne September 17, 2021 / 6:47 pm

    going through some older posts here…that were in my inbox…great song! xo

    Liked by 1 person

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