He had had two long-running Number One hits with the former label – “White Lightning” (five weeks at Number One) and “Tender Years” (seven weeks on top) – and “She Thinks I Still Care,” which reached the chart pinnacle 55 years ago, on May 19th, 1962. The Dickey Lee-Steve Duffy- penned weeper would become one of the longest-lived country hits of all-time on the strength of Jones’ memorable performance, mixing heartache and pain with an ironic sense of denial as well as a dash of self pity.
Recorded January 4th, 1962, at Bradley Film and Recording Studio, “She Thinks I Still Care” first came to Jones’ attention via songwriter-producer Jack Clement, who played it for him in the Gulf Coast Sound studio Clement owned in Beaumont, Texas, with Bill Hall. While one legend had Jones strongly disliking the tune for the repeated utilization of the phrase “Just because,” he’d differ with that memory and claim to have been “knocked out” by the song after a first listen. No matter the truth, it became a signature tune for Jones and has gone on to be among the singer’s most beloved singles.
Twelve years after it reached Number One on the country chart, the melody returned to the top in a variation, “He Thinks I Still Care,” recorded by Anne Murray. Female artists including Cher and Connie Francis also place the female perspective on it, while later versions composed by Little Willie John, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, and a 1970 cut by Glen Campbell.
Days after the Possum died in April 2014, several artists paid court to him with performances of this song and others at the Stagecoach Country Music Festival at Indio, California’s Empire Polo Field – Toby Keith tackled “She Thinks I Still Care.” Vocalist Teddy Thompson, joined by Mary Chapin Carpenter, Jerry Douglas and others, also recorded a live version for the Transatlantic Sessions series that was popular. Watch that video beneath.
In 1998, Jones’ recording of “She Thinks I Still Care” was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.