The King of Twang…R.I.P.

29 Oct


Sorry, Shrew, but this just has to happen. On Monday, October 29th, Porter Wagoner passed away at the age of 80, from lung cancer. A fixture on the Grand Ole Opry for more than 50 years, Wagoner ushered Country Music into homes each week through the Porter Wagoner Show. His humble manner and audacious “Nudie” suits became synonymous with stereotypical Country Music stars.

Earlier this year, Porter Wagoner released a new CD, Wagonmaster, to critical acclaim. He also opened for the White Stripes’ Madison Square Garden concert in NYC. Here’s a clip from Letterman:

Albert Irvin, with Marty Stuart


TODAY’S TRIVIA: Fellow Nudie Suit aficionado, Marty Stuart, produced Wagonmaster. In typical Country Music fashion, Marty was Johnny Cash’s ex-son-in-law.


Likely Porter Wagoner’s most famous affiliation was with Dolly Parton. They were duet partners for several years until Dolly left Porter’s employ to pursue a solo career – a move that would cost her $3 million a few years later. They still remained friends and held mutual admiration for each other.


Run That By Me One More Time, with Dolly Parton


Porter Wagoner was an original. He never wavered from who he was and was proud to be a Country & Western icon. He embraced his fame, even when he was parodied and scoffed at. He was a mentor and teacher to younger singers and was a bit of a rebel concerning the music industry.


In 2006, he ended up signing with the ANTI- label, part of Epiteph Records, notably not located in Nashville, but L.A. Appears even “icons” aren’t immune to the music industry’s shackles. Here’s a quote from Wagoner on why he stopped recording in the 80’s:

“I stopped making records because I didn’t like the way they were wanting me to record. When RCA dropped me from the label, I didn’t really care about making records for another label because I didn’t have any say in what they would release and how they would make the records and so forth.”

A true legend, Wagoner’s impact on Country Music is significant and long-lasting. He will be missed.


I’ll Fly Away



Posted by on October 29, 2007 in Country


8 responses to “The King of Twang…R.I.P.

  1. shrewspeaks

    October 29, 2007 at 10:06 pm

    My deepest respect for the passing of this industry legend.

    I’ll Fly Away, believe it or not..I kinda like. I suspect Porter was a major influenc eof Buddy Holly. Am I right?

  2. music maven

    October 29, 2007 at 10:13 pm

    Holly died in 1959, so Porter’s influence is unlikely. However, since they were “coming up” in roughly the same timeframe, their styles might mimic one another.

    Holly was certainly influenced by Country music, but his style was definitely unique and leaned more to old time rock and roll, of which he was a pioneer.

  3. Little Deb

    October 30, 2007 at 7:20 am

    I knew you would post a tribute to Porter. I kept checking back yesterday after I heard the news. Although Porter is not mentioned in this song, I feel that it fits. And, since they don’t have a darn country music radio station in the NYC metro area, I can’t really answer the question of “Who’s gonna fill their shoes”. Just another reason to head south.

  4. Colette

    October 30, 2007 at 11:35 am

    This music doesn’t speak to me so much — it’s about a place and people I’m not real connected with as an ethnic/immigrant urban American. But I have come to appreciate Dolly Parton, and also the….what is it? Gentility? Graciousness? Of some of the duets she sang with Porter. This music can be so sappy, but also refreshingly straightforward, simply harmonized, C & W storytelling — RIP,Wagoner:

  5. shrewspeaks

    October 30, 2007 at 3:35 pm

    Umm…you may have missed the bigger point there…I kinda like that one song…a song with twang

  6. Little Deb

    October 30, 2007 at 9:17 pm

    Nothing to do with Porter, but I just heard on the news that Robert Goulet passed away today. Another legend. Very sad.

  7. Cara

    November 17, 2007 at 8:52 am

    When I was growing up, I rarely missed the Porter Wagoner Show. Even in the years when most kids rebel against their “parents’ music”, I found myself drawn to the TV when the show came on. He and Dolly were wonderful duet partners.

    You have to respect this man’s integrity. Aside from a few lines on the face, he looked the same in the Letterman clip as he did on the clips from early in his career. How many times have I heard about how great Madonna is because she keeps re-inventing herself. With Porter Wagoner, you always knew what you got……Porter Wagoner. May he rest in peace.


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