Dolly Parton is renowned for her sweet and mellifluous voice. Her songs such as “I Will Always Love You,” “Jolene”, and “Coat of Many Colors” has been termed as classics worldwide.
Parton has also released 44 career Top 10 country albums, 110 career-charted singles, hoisting her into legendary status in the country music industry.
Furthermore, few people know that the singer also boasts excellent songwriting skills. She has composed a whopping list of 3,000 songs throughout her career.
One life-changing opportunity that was key to Parton achieving all she had, was when she had the chance to team up with Porter Wagoner, who ran a famous show called “The Porter Wagoner Show.”
The pair later became one of country music’s most beloved duo, who co-wrote and co-sang many songs for years. This amazing partnership also became the highlight of Parton’s music career for decades to come.
Read on for more details on Parton and Wagoner’s beautiful relationship.
How They Met
In an interview with Vanity Fair late last year, Parton disclosed how she first met Wagoner. She revealed that her song “Dumb Blonde” from her first album, “Hello, I’m Dolly,” caught his attention.
At that time, Wagoner had the “number one most watched singing show in the country.” He had just lost one of his leading female vocals and was looking for a replacement.
“So I went into Porter’s office and I said, Oh, well, hello, I’m Dolly. And he said, Yes, you are. I know all about you. And I’ve got an opening for a girl singer on my show. Would you be interested?” the “Jolene” singer narrated.
Parton then joked that she only needed a split second to say yes when Wagoner asked her to join him. Though many of their songs are loved by fans, they only ever had one official No. 1 hit. It was also the last song that they ever wrote as partners.
‘Please Don’t Stop Loving Me’
The duo released “Please Don’t Stop Loving Me” in July 1974 as the first single from the “Porter ‘n’ Dolly” LP. Its release came after Parton quit “The Porter Wagoner Show,” for reasons best known to her.
Though both singers had solo chart-topping singles and some duets that got to the top ten, they had never attained the top spot as a duet.
“Please Don’t Stop Loving Me” would later break the cycle as it became their only chart-topper as a duet act. The single stayed at number one for one week and spent ten weeks on the country chart altogether.
In her 2020 book titled “Dolly Parton, Song teller: My Life in Lyrics,” she reflected on her time with Wagoner and the last song they wrote together.
“All of the things that he and I wrote together were bits and pieces of what our relationship had been —the good, the bad, the indifferent, and the different,” she wrote.
“That one happened to be the very last thing we did together, and it was the one that went to No. 1. That’s kind of ironic, ain’t it?”
Parton Inspired Porter To Write More
Again, in her book, Parton disclosed that her relationship with Porter was quite topsy-turvy.
She wrote, “Porter and I used to write together. Sometimes it was easy, sometimes not. We were both very bullheaded. Maybe we were too much alike, or maybe we were too different, I never quite figured that one out.”
Yet, despite their creative differences, Parton was the turning point that influenced her co-singer to write more and do more for himself.
“When I met him, Porter was not known as a writer,” she wrote. “I kind of helped him get into that. I was writing so much and getting a lot of attention, so I started helping him with his writing.”
Her loads of experience songwriting helped to push the duo to great heights that they attained during the short time they spent together.
Porter Wagoner Took Credit For Parton’s Song Writing Input
Even though Wagoner’s songwriting improved tremendously he rarely gave the “9 to 5” singer she deserved credits.
“Porter had a great ear for music, and he did write some great songs. I helped with a lot of them that don’t have my name on them. But I was happy to do it because he had done so many things for me, Parton wrote.
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Since then, Parton chose to only collaborate with people she enjoys a relationship with already.
“We had our ups and downs as all writers do,” she wrote. “I usually don’t write with other people if it’s not fun. I haven’t co-written with many people at all.”