Not many Country Music songwriters get the opportunity to write one of those songs that is covered over and over again by recording artists. However, Country Johnny Mathis got the chance a few times in his songwriting career and one song in particular stands at the top of the list. “If You Don’t Somebody Else Will” was written in the early 50’s as a co-write between Johnny, Jimmy Lee Fautheree and Geraldine Page.
Jimmy and Johnny (Jimmy Lee Fautheree & Country Johnny Mathis), regular performers on the Louisiana Hayride, first recorded the song and released it on Chess Records. It became a Top 3 hit for the duo in 1954. Ray Price also recorded the song and scored a #8 chart hit in the same year. The song earned the songwriters a BMI Citation of Achievement and put it on the list of Top Country songs of 1954, twice.
The song began to be covered by many other artists over the next few decades. Wanda Jackson (1954), Rita Robbins (1954), Johnny Bond & Wesley Tuttle (1957), The York Brothers, The Osborne Brothers (1958), LeRoy Van Dyke (1960), Porter Wagoner, Connie Stevens (1961), George Jones & Margie Singleton (1962), George Hamilton IV (1963), Doug Kershaw (1978)
Carl Smith recorded another Billboard Top 100 chart release of “If You Don’t Somebody Else Will” in 1976.
Another notable recording of the song occurred with the release of George Jones and Tammy Wynette’s ‘Golden Ring’ ring album. The album was released in 1976 and it reached No. 1 on the Billboard Country Album chart. Rolling Stone Magazine listed the ‘Top 50 Country Albums Every Rock Fan Should Own’ in a May 2020 article. ‘Golden Ring’ was listed at #18.
“If You Don’t Somebody Else Will” has been recorded by more artists than we’ve mentioned and continues to be covered in Country and Bluegrass Music.