Here You Come Again by Dolly Parton (RCA, 1978)

It’s so easy to think of Dolly Parton as an icon but it took some time before she wasn’t looked at as just another Porter Wagoner sidekick. In fact it took Dolly 10 years and 17 albums before she finally crossed over to the Top 40 with her first big hit, Here You Come Again. It reached #3 in January 1978 – not bad for a piece of country pop during the wave of disco washing over the charts. Also unusual was the fact that it wasn’t an original by Dolly. The song was penned by Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil, Brill building songwriters who came up with the Righteous Brothers’ You’ve Lost That Lovin Feelin’ & Kicks by Paul Revere & the Raiders, to name a few. So Dolly didn’t mess around when she decided to consciously cross over. Even though this was originally recorded by B.J. Thomas, Dolly was the first to release it as a single and of course made it her own. Supposedly it was written and offered to Brenda Lee, but I guess she preferred to settle into obscurity rather than pad her bank account.

By the mid-70s, Country songs were having a hard time finding their way onto the Top 40 and Country superstars really had yet to be born again. Maybe it was the movie, Nashville. Maybe it was our first Southern-born president in 100 years. Maybe it was the Hee-Haw reruns. I think the Country superstar was created the moment that Dolly decided to go as far as she could into the mainstream. Yes, Kenny Rogers had a big hit the year before with Lucille. But his roots were based in faux-psychedelic pop a la the First Edition. Dolly was a Southern girl and broke through playing Country on the Grand Old Opry. And with her coterie of wigs, songwriting skills and a tiny body that deified physics, she was a Tennessee original. She was the first one that was going to multi-task her way to fame via song, stage, TV, movies and amusement parks.

And this is where it all started. Think about that next time you ride the log flume down in Gatlinburg…

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1 Comment

  1. Yes, Dolly was an early country-pop crossover, but there was also Eddie Rabbit, Crystal Gayle, Barbara Mandrell, and Juice Newton, all of whom had some great crossover hits. In fact Eddie wrote the song “Kentucky Rain” that Elvis had a hit with in (I think) 1974, before Eddie hit it big with “I Love A Rainy Night”.

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