Country music legend Porter Wagoner died yesterday in Nashville after a brief battle with lung cancer. While his string of hits in the ’60s might not be immediately familiar to contemporary audiences, Wagoner’s trademark flashy rhinestone suits made him a symbolic country music figure, and his hand in launching Dolly Parton’s career proved his own eye for talent.
Wagoner signed to RCA in 1955 and had a syndicated TV show in the ’60s and ’70s. He hired a 21-year-old Parton as a duet partner in 1967, and the two won the Country Music Association’s “Duo of the Year” award in 1970 and 1971. Wagoner’s career petered out in the ’80s, and he only returned to the studio this year, recording an album for alternative Los Angeles label Anti-. His last show was this summer where he opened for the White Stripes at Madison Square Garden.
MP3: Porter Wagoner “Committed to Parkview” (from Wagonmaster, 2007)