Porter Wayne Wagoner (August 12, 1927 – October 28, 2007) was an American country music singer known for his flashy Nudie and Manuel suits and blond pompadour.
In 1967, he introduced singer Dolly Parton on his television show, and they were a well-known vocal duo throughout the late 1960s and early 1970s.
Known as Mr. Grand Ole Opry, Wagoner charted 81 singles from 1954–1983. He was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2002.
Wagoner was born in West Plains, Missouri, the son of Bertha May (née Bridges) and Charles E. Wagoner, a farmer. His first band, the Blue Ridge Boys, performed on radio station KWPM-AM from a butcher shop in his native West Plains, Missouri, where Wagoner cut meat. In 1951, he was hired by Si Siman as a performer on KWTO in Springfield, Missouri. This led to a contract with RCA Victor.
With lagging sales, Wagoner and his trio played schoolhouses for the gate proceeds; but in 1953, his song “Trademark” became a hit for Carl Smith, followed by a few hits of his own for RCA Victor. Starting in 1955, he was a featured performer on ABC-TV’s Ozark Jubilee in Springfield, Missouri. He often appeared on the show as part of the Porter Wagoner Trio with Don Warden and Speedy Haworth. Warden, on steel guitar, became Wagoner’s long-time business manager. In 1957, Wagoner and Warden moved to Nashville, Tennessee, joining the Grand Ole Opry.
Like many of his contemporaries in country music, Wagoner toured and performed outdoors for fans at American Legion houses in rural towns. Fans sat on wooden benches facing what was often a makeshift stage. Wagoner would mingle with the audience during performance breaks and usually remembered the names of the towns he visited.
Wagoner’s 81 charted records include “A Satisfied Mind” (No. 1, 1955), “Misery Loves Company” (No. 1, 1962), “I’ve Enjoyed as Much of This as I Can Stand” (No. 7, 1962–1963), “Sorrow on the Rocks” (No. 5, 1964), “Green, Green Grass of Home” (No. 4, 1965), “Skid Row Joe” (No. 3, 1965–1966), “The Cold Hard Facts of Life” (No. 2, 1967), and “The Carroll County Accident” (No. 2, 1968–1969).
Among his hit duets with Dolly Parton were a remake of Tom Paxton’s “The Last Thing on My Mind” (1967), “We’ll Get Ahead Someday” (1968), “Just Someone I Used to Know” (1969), “Daddy Was An Old Time Preacher Man”, (1970), “Better Move it on Home” (1971), “The Right Combination” (1972), “Please Don’t Stop Loving Me” (No. 1, 1974) and “Making Plans” (No. 2, 1980). He also won three Grammy Awards for gospel recordings.
His syndicated television program, The Porter Wagoner Show, aired from 1960 to 1981. There were 686 30-minute episodes taped; the first 104 (1960–66) in black-and-white and the remainder (1966–81) in color. At its peak, his show was featured in over 100 markets, with an average viewership of over three million. Reruns of the program air on the rural cable network RFD-TV and its sister channel in the UK Rural TV.
The shows usually featured opening performances by Wagoner with performances by Norma Jean, or later Parton, and comedic interludes by Speck Rhodes. During Parton’s tenure, she and Wagoner usually sang a duet. Each episode also featured a guest who would usually perform one or two songs. A spiritual or gospel performance was almost always featured toward the end of the show; generally performed by either Wagoner or Parton, or the show’s guest star, or occasionally the entire cast. After Dolly left the show, Porter began taping the show at Opryland USA in various locations around the park.
The shows had a friendly, informal feel, with Wagoner trading jokes with band members (frequently during songs) and exchanging banter with Parton and Howser. In 1974, Dolly Parton’s song “I Will Always Love You”, written about her professional break from Wagoner, went to number one on the country music charts. (by wikipedia)
And here´s a sampler with his greatest hits … and yey, it´s another sentimental trip to these Country sounds and lyrics from the past.
My copy was a special edition for the German record market with a great cover.
Original US frontcover
Peter Wagoner (vocals, guitar)
a bunch of unknown studio musicians
01. Green, Green Grass Of Home (Putman) 2.22
02. Ole Slew-Foot (Webb) 2.08
03. Eat, Drink And Be Merry (Tomorrow You’ll Cry) (C.Ferguson/S.Ferguson) 2.28
04. Stranger’s Story (Stamper) 2.01
05. False True Lover (Traditional) 2.38
06. You Can’t Make A Heel Toe The Mark (Pennington/Reno) 1.47
07. The Man In The Little White Suit (Frazier) 2.01
08. The Keeper Of The Key (Howard/Devine/Guynes/Stewart) 2.49
09. They Listened While You Said Goodbye (Howard) 2.45
10. I Dreamed I Saw America On Her Knees (Mullins) 2.22