Many of the great pop and rock songs of the 1950s and 1960s were successful because of their simplicity, combining basic chord changes with everyman lyrics and great melodies to say what needed to be said and nothing more, often in less than three minutes. Popular song structures have become more complex since those days, with more pre-choruses and channels and lifts and so on. But some of the most effective songs of any era have been the ones with a basic structure and straightforward lyrics that appealed to all generations and both sexes. Brook Benton’s 1959 hit “It’s Just a Matter of Time” is a great example of this.
“It’s Just a Matter of Time,” which finds Benton chiding his ex for leaving him, is a simple, effective AABA (verse/verse/bridge/verse), each verse ending with the titular hook line of It’s just a matter of time. No chorus necessary – that single strategically-repeated line and a reinforcing middle eight say it all. Written by Benton, Clyde Otis and Belford Hendricks, the song was originally intended for Nat “King” Cole, who the trio had already written for. But the song fit Benton’s Cole-influenced style and his three-octave range, and he and his partners wisely decided that he should be the one to cut it.
This song is also a great example of how a good song is a good song, no matter what genre it’s intended for. In this case, while it was originally conceived as a string-laden pop song with a touch of R&B, it was at its core a short, well-written tune that translated nicely to the country genre. Spanning the generations, Sonny James took it to number one in 1970, and Glen Campbell went to number seven... Sign In to Keep Reading