Sign up for newsletter
 

Porter Wagoner dies of lung cancer

Sunday, October 28, 2007 – Country star Porter Wagoner, 80, died tonight at 8:25 at Alive Hospice in Nashville after being diagnosed with lung cancer earlier this month.

The Missouri native, known for his rhinestone suits, had a long career, which included a series of hits with Dolly Parton.

"The Grand Ole Opry family is deeply saddened by the news of the passing of our dear friend, Porter Wagoner. His passion for the Opry and all of country music was truly immeasurable. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family at this difficult time," said Pete Fisher, vice-president and general manager of The Grand Ole Opry.

Born in West Plains, Mo. in 1927, Wagoner was first a local radio fixture on his way to becoming a pillar of the Grand Ole Opry, a hit recording artist, television icon and a Country Music Hall of Fame member.

Beginning in the early 1950s, Wagoner had more than 80 charting singles, including more than 25 top 10 hits. Hits including "Misery Loves Company," "I've Enjoyed As Much of This As I Can Stand," "The Cold Hard Facts of Life," "The Carroll County Accident" and "A Satisfied Mind" were considered hard-country classics.

The Porter Wagoner Show ran for 21 years, beginning in 1961, and reached more than 100 TV markets. It was on the show that Wagoner introduced fans to Parton. Their duets yielded many hits, winning a Grammy and three CMA Duo of the Year Awards.

Wagoner was born near West Plains, Mo. Aug. 12, 1927, the son of a farmer. Country music was part of family life. His brother, Glenn Lee, played fiddle and guitar with Wagoner learning the fiddle. His sister, Lorraine, taught him acoustic guitar.

Wagoner left school after eighth grade to help the family because the Wagoners lost their farm.

A meeting with Roy Acuff in his hometown along with inspiration from Bill Monroe led Wagoner to play bluegrass music throughout the U.S. Back home, Wagoner entertained customers at a local market where he worked. The store owner sponsored Wagoner on a 15-minute daily performance on the local radio station, KWPM. He soon gained regional attention.

A Springfield, Mo. station, KWTO, soon asked for Wagoner, and he was on the air there.

By 1952, Wagoner signed with RCA Victor Records, but he did not enjoy earlier success. His first single was Hank Williams' "Settin' the Woods on Fire" in 1952, but neither that nor his next seven singles made much of an impact. RCA dropped Wagoner in 1954.

Wagoner persevered, recording two songs on his own dime. Both - 'Company's Comin" in 1954 and "A Satisfied Mind" - became hits. RCA changed its mind and quickly re-signed Wagoner.

This time it was different. "It wasn't long after that that I found the song "Satisfied Mind," and that's the one that done the job for me."

In 1957, Wagoner joined the Grand Ole Opry and moved to Nashville. He soon formed his backup band, The Wagonmasters.

The hits continued for Wagoner with "Misery Loves Company," a number 1 hit, in 1962, "Green Green Grass of Home" in 1965 and "The Cold Hard Facts of Life" in 1967.

Wagoner also started a syndicated television program, growing from 18 stations to more than 200 by the early 1970s, according to Wagoner.

"I had a special guest each week, someone from the Grand Ole Opry or someone with a hot record that had a career that was breaking out. I'd have them on the show. It was a great thing for me."

Wagoner also helped sign singing partner Norma Jean in the early 1960s. Seven years later, he introduced the young Parton.

The two would eventually record 18 songs that charted between 1967 and 1980, starting with "The Last Thing On My Mind," in 1967 to their only number 1, "Please Don't Stop Loving Me" in 1974 to their last song that charted, "If You Go, I'll Follow You," in 1980. `

The two had a falling out at one point when Parton tried to start a solo career in the early 1970s. Parton and Wagoner eventually fought in the courts with Parton's career ballooning, while Wagoner's was on the decline. The two eventually settled with Parton singing at a 50th anniversary Grand Ole Opry party for Wagoner in May.

In recent years, Wagoner tended to record gospel albums. His last disc, "Wagonmaster," was released on the Anti-label in June with Marty Stuart producing. Wagoner opened a shock for rock band White Stripes at Madison Square Garden in July.

Wagoner is survived by three children, Richard, Debra and Denise. Visitation and funeral arrangements are incomplete at this time.

More news for Porter Wagoner

CD reviews for Porter Wagoner

Wagonmaster CD review - Wagonmaster
Porter Wagoner's latest is a terrific album. It's a collection that fits seamlessly into Wagoner's long and impressive body of musical work, while at the same time representing an artistic stretch on behalf of the artist and his reverential producer, Marty Stuart. The album is bookended with "Wagonmaster 1 & 2," a quick fiddle ditty with producer Stuart introducing the artist, "Wagonmaster's comin..." and Wagonmaster's leavin'... »»»
18 Grand Old Gospel 2005 CD review - 18 Grand Old Gospel 2005
This is Porter Wagoner's second gospel collection in two years, perhaps a clear indication that he has found a comfortable home in the genre. Wagoner contributes four of his own compositions to this set, including two recitations, "I Found A Man" and "The Bird That Never Flew." The other 14 offerings are a mix of standards such as "Leaning On The Everlasting Arms" and "In The Sweet Bye and Bye" and newer material with an old time feel. His current singing partner, Pam Gold, joins him on "Ye Of Little Faith. »»»
Unplugged
Porter Wagoner's second Shell Point album finds him in fine voice, with supple support from his regular band, The Wagonmasters, and a finely picked collection of tunes. The album title is one to take with a grain of salt, as Wagoner's never been hugely "plugged" in the first place. Still, the electric guitars give way to steel, dobro and acoustic picking, and the drums keep to a polite level. The result would sound as natural in 1962 as it does here in 2002. The near-acoustic backing provides »»»
Editorial: Walking the talk – When names like Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Waylon and the Hag are invoked, you're talking hard core country. These are the touchstones of country , the guys who made country music what it was and still is (or maybe can be). When these folks would sing about being down-and-out and the rough-and-tumble, they knew of what they were singing about. Fast forward a few years to the country singers of today. »»»
Concert Review: Daniels wears out bows, but music endures – After each of the first few songs Charlie Daniels played, his 'fiddle tech (?)' exchanged his bow. Is this because he was playing particularly hard? Perhaps. Whatever the case, Daniels and his five-piece band clearly appeared to be giving it their all during the act's hour-and-a-half set. As it is the Christmas month, Daniels sang a... »»»
Concert Review: Rawlings easily moves out of the shadow – Every once in awhile David Rawlings moves out of the shadow of musical mate Gillian Welch to launch his own tour. While Welch, for whom Rawlings plays guitar, has the more prominent career, nights like this ably confirm that there is a reason does his own thing as well. Rawlings, who released the very fine "Poor David's Almanack" in... »»»
Subscribe to Country News Digest Country News Digest      Follow Country Standard Time on twitter CST      Visit Country Standard Time on Facebook CST

Elsewhere in the news

Currently at the CST blogs

Washburn, Fleck create "Echoes" Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn have powerhouse individual talents; each has followed an estimable career path to where they find themselves today: making complex, but spare, records, writing music together and touring with their son Juno. Their new release, "Echoes In The Valley" features mostly songs written by Fleck and Washburn, banjos, Washburn's strong vocals and very little else.... »»»
Hillman bides his time Legends don't come any more legendary than Chris Hillman. The roll call of bands that comprises Hillman's half century in music reads like a wing exhibit at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame; Byrds, Flying Burrito Brothers, Manassas, the Souther Hillman Furay Band, the Desert Rose Band,... »»»
The Cadillac Three creates its "Legacy" William Shakespeare noted a few centuries back that a rose by any other name would be equally aromatic, and that general idea has musical implications as well. The Cadillac Three knows a thing or two about maintaining a sonic identity after a name change;... »»»
With Stanley and Watson, sound isn't elementary Those aware of the late Owsley "Bear" Stanley likely know him for one of two reasons - his pioneering work manufacturing lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) in San Francisco during the mid-to-late 1960s and his role as an innovative sound engineer. Most notably, Bear worked...... »»»
May shifts gears, directions Headed into 2015, Imelda May was on a hit streak. Her rockabilly career was in full swing, nurtured by the likes of former Squeeze keyboardist Jools Holland and guitar icon Jeff Beck. Her albums routinely topped the charts in her native Ireland.... »»»
Lane assumes mantle of "Highway Queen" For most artists, eight years is a fair amount of time in their careers. For Nikki Lane, eight years represents the entirety of her recorded history, and she's filled that relatively short time span with a highlight reel of impressive accomplishments, not the least of which would be actually... »»»
Boom CD review - Boom
Walker Hayes has a lot of Sam Hunt in his music, in that he mixes a lot of hip-hop in with his country. Traditionalists will have trouble with his unorthodox approach. Kids, though, raised on just as much Drake as Paisley, will likely eat it up. »»»
From A Room: Volume 2 CD review - From A Room: Volume 2
There is no bigger artist in country music today, perhaps even in American music, than Chris Stapleton. His appeal reaches beyond just the commercial country fans for his gritty bluesy approach. 2015's "Traveller" set a high bar, which was met by this year's release of "From A Room: Volume 1," which won Album of the Year in the 51st CMA Awards.  »»»
Down Home Sessions EP CD review - Down Home Sessions EP

Upon first glance at the track list of Cole Swindell's fourth installment of the "Down Home Sessions" series, one may get the impression that it is a covers EP. It features several chart toppers from other artists, including Luke Bryan's "Roller Coaster" and Thomas Rhett's "Get Me Some Of That." »»»

The Rest of Our Lives CD review - The Rest of Our Lives
The first full album from Tim McGraw and Faith Hill is an inspired effort, even though some of its songwriters may surprise you. The title cut, for instance, features pop ginger Ed Sheeran on its credits, while Meghan Trainor contributed to "Roll the Dice." »»»
Bloodshot Records' 13 Days of Xmas CD review - Bloodshot Records' 13 Days of Xmas
Label holiday albums can sometimes be like office white elephant gift exchanges because there's a little bit of everything on the table. Some stuff you like, while other things may have been better left unwrapped. »»»
Texoma Shore CD review - Texoma Shore
Blake Shelton's 11th studio album finds The Voice advisor in a contented, one might even say homey, frame of mind. The opening track and first single "I'll Name the Dogs" sets the tone. It's a rollicking ode to domesticity that manages to make household chore distribution ("You find the spot and I'll find the money / You be the pretty and I'll be the funny") both romantic and amusing.  »»»