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The Statler Brothers’ ‘Elizabeth’ Was Inspired by the Late Elizabeth Taylor

Jimmy Fortune Elizabeth Taylor
Pat Jarrett / Kevin Winter, Getty Images

Hollywood legend Elizabeth Taylor, who passed away today at age 79 after battling congestive heart failure, will always be remembered in a 1983 country classic. When singer Jimmy Fortune joined the Statler Brothers, he wrote his first hit, titled ‘Elizabeth.’ The song peaked at No. 1 on the charts, and several stories surrounded the song, which is rumored to be written about Elizabeth Taylor.

The Statler Brothers’ member admits that they are actually the ones who started the story. “I’ll tell you how that got started,” Fortune says in an interview. “We were in Tuscon, Arizona. Elizabeth Taylor was shooting a movie out there and got wind that we were there. She had heard the song, learned we were nearby, and called our management to see if we could meet.”

“We went to the site where they were filming her movie, she came on our bus, and I sat there and sang ‘Elizabeth’ as she sat across the table, and looked into those beautiful blue eyes,” he continues. ” I tell you she has the most beautiful blue eyes I have ever seen! Harold [Reid] was looking at her too, and this is how that story got started: He looked at her and said, ‘We wrote that song for you!’”

The Statler Brothers won nine CMA Awards for Vocal Group of the Year between 1972 and 1984. In 2008, they were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Jimmy Fortune continues to tour and record as the only active member of the retired group.

Watch the Statler Brothers Perform ‘Elizabeth’

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