Skip to main content
Select Source:

Wagoner, Porter

Porter Wagoner

Singer, songwriter, guitarist

Legendary country music performer Porter Wagoner was noted for his longstanding commitment to his craft, both in singing and in songwriting. Randy Travis, Alison Krauss, Kitty Wells, George Jones, Bill Monroe: the photographs on the walls of his dressing room backstage at Nashville's famed Grand Ole Opry reflected both country music's past and future. The name "Porter Wagoner" conjures up an image of a tall blond man with an engaging smile and flashy sequined suits. Often noted for his duets with superstar female vocalist Dolly Parton and for the exposure she gained on his television program early in her career, Wagoner created an impressive body of work as a solo artist that has continued to attract new fans who were not even born when Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton ruled the country radio airwaves.

Behind the smile and the sequins was a gifted individual whose deep love for country music was matched by his gift for songwriting, singing, and, most of all, entertaining. Wagoner was steeped in the traditions of country music, and in an era when the music was moving into studios and closely choreographed stage shows, he remained a performer who could connect with audiences one on one. "Porter Wagoner is a country music star in the truest sense of the word," noted the Official Opry Picture-History Book. "As a showman on stage, he is without equal, for he is not merely a singer, but an entertainer par excellence."

Wagoner's story was a quintessential rags-to-riches tale. Born on August 12, 1930, he was raised in South Fork, Missouri, as the fifth child of farming couple Charley and Bertha Wagoner. As a boy, young Porter stood alongside his father, tending to the cattle and hogs and working the crops the family depended on for food and income.

Wagoner's musical roots were like those of many rural Americans during the Depression era. He listened to radio shows like the Chicago-based National Barn Dance and Nashville's Grand Ole Opry on radio station WSM. On the family Victrola he was introduced to the new bluegrass-style sounds of brothers Bill and Charlie Monroe. Bill Monroe would become Wagoner's first musical idol, and downhome bluegrass sounds would always flavor his music. In his biography A Satisfied Mind: The Country Music Life of Porter Wagoner, author Steve Eng quoted a recollection of Wagoner's sister, Lola: After playing a Monroe recording, "[Porter] would ask, ‘Isn't that the purtiest thing you ever heard?’ [Recalled] Lola, ‘It was pretty, but he was obviously getting something out of it I was not.’"

During the lean years of the Depression, the Wagoner family was visited by both personal tragedy and the dire economic downturn that affected many in the rural Midwest. Porter's older brother, Glenn, who had drawn Porter on stage to play for local barn dances and had helped him choose his first guitar, succumbed to myo- carditis, an inflammation of the heart, in August of 1942. As Wagoner told Eng, "I felt like after he died, that I should carry on his music … because it meant so much to him."

Early the next spring, Charley Wagoner was forced to auction off the family farm: horses, cows, hogs, and other livestock, as well as Pete, the family mule, were all sold at the auctioneer's block. The Wagoners moved to West Plains, Missouri, in search of jobs. The move from the country to the city brought Porter closer to the public recognition that would someday take him all the way to Nashville. In 1944, 14-year-old Wagoner got a job as a grocery store clerk, where he idled away slow periods by strumming his guitar and singing the songs of his musical idols Monroe, Ernest Tubb, and the legendary Hank Williams Sr. The storeowner was so impressed by the young man's vocal ability that he shrewdly put the teenager on an early morning local radio show to help promote his business.

From there Wagoner moved to radio station KWTO in nearby Springfield, where he performed a 15-minute spot on a weekly series in 1951. When popular country star Red Foley asked him to join the cast of his Ozark Jubilee in 1954, Wagoner was quick to accept, shelling out $350 for the unofficial uniform of the Nashville star, a rhinestone-encrusted "Nudie" suit (named for tailor Nudie Cohen). Foley, a veteran Opry star, schooled his protege in many facets of entertaining, and with the dawn of a new media format called television, Wagoner's career as a TV personality was born.

From his role as a featured artist on the Jubilee, he went on to host The Porter Wagoner Show—the longest-running country music television show in history—from 1961 to 1980. Downplaying his part in the show's success, Wagoner noted in a 1994 interview, "I think the show is always the star. I've always been a team player, tried to make the show and the band—especially something that I was responsible for, like The Porter Wagoner Show or my show on the Grand Ole Opry—successful."

The program did prove to be a success. Featuring the talented Wagonmasters band and a variety of guest stars, many of whom went on to fame in Nashville, The Porter Wagoner Show was syndicated to over 100 stations across the United States and Canada. Its viewing audience of over 45 million people boosted Wagoner's popularity as a touring act far beyond the borders of Music City.

Wagoner had signed a recording contract with the RCA label in August of 1952, but his first few albums were released to indifferent critical response. "For the first couple of records that I made I just tried to sing like Hank Williams, you know, because I liked his things so much," Wagoner recalled. "But I realized early that you have to be your own person, and you can't be like someone else or pattern your career after them. So I just said, ‘Hey, I need to be my own self, you know, sing like I do at home.’"

Wagoner's new approach struck gold. His 1955 single "A Satisfied Mind" jumped to the top ten on the Billboard charts. This success was the first of many: two years later he was asked to join the Grand Ole Opry, and for the next 27 years his name was rarely absent from the country music countdown. Among his other top ten hits were 1956's "What Would You Do (If Jesus Came to Your House)," 1961's "Your Old Love Letters," 1962's "I've Enjoyed as Much of This as I Can Stand," 1964's "Green, Green Grass of Home," 1968's "Carroll County Accident," and "Big Wind," released in 1969.

For the Record …

Born Porter Wayne Wagoner on August 12, 1930, in South Fork, MO; died of lung cancer on October 28, 2007, in Nashville, TN; son of Charles E. (a farmer) and Bertha May (Bridges) Wagoner; married Velma Johnson, 1944 (marriage ended); married Ruth Olive Williams, 1946 (divorced, 1986); children: (second marriage) Richard, Denise, Debra.

Radio performer, KWTO, Springfield, MO, beginning 1951; featured singer on Ozark Jubilee, 1954-55; signed with RCA Records, 1952-81; joined Grand Ole Opry, 1957; host of The Porter Wagoner Show (syndicated television series), 1961-80; established Fireside Studio (recording studio), 1972; signed with Warner/Viva, 1982-83; goodwill ambassador and fulltime performer on Grand Ole Opry Stage, Nashville, TN, 1984-2007; released new albums, including The Best I've Ever Been, 2000, Unplugged, 2002, Wagonmaster, 2007.

Awards: Grammy Awards (with the Blackwood Brothers Quartet) for best gospel performance, for Grand Old Gospel, 1966; More Grand Old Gospel, 1967; and In Gospel Country, 1969; Country Music Association (CMA) Awards (with Dolly Parton) for vocal group of the year, 1968, and for vocal duo of the year, 1970, 1971; TNN/Music City News Award (with Parton), for vocal duo, 1968, 1969, 1970; Country Music Hall of Fame, inducted 2002.

In addition, the gospel music that played a big role in Wagoner's musical upbringing continued to influence him. In the mid-1960s he recorded several albums with the Blackwood Brothers Quartet: Grand Ole Gospel, More Grand Old Gospel, and In Gospel Country. This series of albums netted Wagoner and the Blackwoods three Grammy Awards for their work.

"I think some of the records that were made during my career … let's say from the '60s up to the '80s—were some of the greatest records in history because they reflected reality," Wagoner commented, describing a period when pop-minded Nashville producers like RCA's Chet Atkins reigned supreme on the country music charts. "We are humans in a studio playing music and singing so that you will feel it when you get it into your home. It came more from the heart than … from all this digital material that's there today."

Throughout the late 1960s, The Porter Wagoner Show remained as popular as ever. Wagoner's leading lady, Norma Jean, whose lovely voice had harmonized with his on such hits as "I'll Take a Chance on Loving You," left the show in 1967, and he signed a new young woman who had traveled from her native Tennessee to make it big in Nashville.

That woman was Dolly Parton. Together the two would become well known as a duet act, garnering major awards and numerous hits, including "Holding on to Nothing," "The Last Thing on My Mind," "Just Someone I Used to Know," "Burning the Midnight Oil," and "Please Don't Stop Loving Me." Wagoner and Parton's flamboyant individual styles blended perfectly: her bouffant hairdos and revealing gowns were a perfect match to his characteristic pompadour and collection of Nudie suits, intricately fashioned to the tune of up to $10,000 per ensemble and weighing in at an average 35 pounds each.

The couple's successful partnership lasted until 1974, when Parton made a break from the show to go in her own musical direction. They were, however, romantically linked, and they became the stuff of tabloid headlines. One report declared that Wagoner and Parton had been caught together in bed by Wagoner's second wife, Ruth, and that Parton had been shot, but Wagoner denied it. "There wasn't nothing to that," Wagoner said in a Nashville Tennessean interview quoted in the New York Times. "She didn't even hit Dolly." Wagoner went on to record and produce other artists in his Fireside Studio and experiment with non-country influences like soul, pop, and disco, raising eyebrows when he hosted a performance by soul singer James Brown on the Grand Ole Opry. After his recording career sputtered in the early 1980s, he devoted himself to spreading the word on country music and its traditions. He became the official "goodwill ambassador" for Nashville's Opryland Theme Park, and continued to perform regularly on the Opry stage. During the Opry's off-season he toured the country, playing an additional ten concerts each year. Wagoner was married twice; with the former Ruth Williams he had three children, Richard, Denise, and Debra.

In addition to being a consummate entertainer, Wagoner had a distinctive talent for songwriting. Remarking on the contrast between his upbeat public image and the introspective nature of many of his compositions, he explained, "I love to write but it lays real heavy on your mind. Because I'd have to get so involved in ideas, I'd get lost in them, you know."

Wagoner described the writing process that led to the songs he penned for albums like Skid Row Joe: "I had a room in my home that I had designed myself. It was made out of a tent inside of a room. There was no furniture in it. I could go in that room and go almost anyplace I wanted to go in my mind. I had stayed in so many motel and hotel rooms that were all the same thing, and I wanted something different when I got home. … I wrote some real different songs by doing that."

Wagoner elaborated on his unique method of songwriting: "One of the first songs that I wrote in this room was called ‘The Rubber Room’—a real far-out song about a guy who went crazy. And it was probably the most unique song of that time that I've written. I started working on some other songs along that line—of insanity and so forth. I [finally] said, ‘Wow, I'm gonna have to stop this.’ Because it was really puttin' me in such a frame of mind I began to worry about myself." Although Parton in the 1970s was a bigger star than her mentor, "The Rubber Room" and other experimental Wagoner songs began to gain a cult following among alternative country fans in the 1990s and 2000s.

Wagoner looked ahead to the future of country music and its institutions. "I really hate to see people like Bill Monroe, and, well, like myself—the artists that's been around the business so long—move on. You always hate to give up those things, but that's a part of reality. … I hope that a lot of the new people in the industry will look at [country music] as though it's an art form. I hope that they won't just try to be the world's greatest singer, but be an entertainer and a contributor too."

Wagoner lived long enough to receive some of the recognition he felt country stars of the older generation deserved. For much of the 1980s and 1990s he was absent from country recording studios, although he continued to release occasional gospel albums. In 2000 he released the confidently titled The Best I've Ever Been on the small Shell Point label, following that up with the acoustic Unplugged in 2002. That year he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, with Parton presenting the award.

Wagoner enjoyed a public resurgence of interest in his music in the early 2000s when a collection of his solo recordings, Rubber Room: The Haunting Poetic Songs of Porter Wagoner, 1966-1977, was released on the Omni label. In 2007, the year in which he turned 80, Wagoner released yet another new album, Wagonmaster, with star country vocalist and guitarist Marty Stuart serving as producer. The album was widely acclaimed. "Though his baritone is more weathered than during his prime," noted Jeff Tamarkin in the All Music Guide, "Wagoner sounds decades younger on Wagonmaster, and there remains a youthful exuberance to the music." Wagoner suffered from lung cancer, and died in Nashville on October 29, 2007.

Selected discography

A Slice of Life—Songs Happy 'n' Sad, RCA, 1962.

A Satisfied Mind, RCA, 1963.

The Porter Wagoner Show, RCA, 1963.

The Thin Man From West Plains, RCA, 1965.

(With the Blackwood Brothers Quartet) Grand Ole Gospel, RCA, 1966.

The Cold, Hard Facts of Life, RCA, 1967.

(With the Blackwoods) More Grand Ole Gospel, RCA, 1967.

Soul of a Convict, and Other Great Prison Songs, RCA, 1967.

Green, Green Grass of Home, Camden, 1968.

(With the Blackwoods) In Gospel Country, RCA, 1968.

(With Dolly Parton) Always, Always, RCA, 1969.

Carroll County Accident, RCA, 1969.

Skid Row Joe—Down in the Alley, RCA, 1970.

Blue Moon of Kentucky, Camden, 1971.

Highway Headin' South, RCA, 1974.

Porter Wagoner Today, RCA, 1979.

(With Parton) Porter & Dolly, RCA, 1980.

Porter Wagoner, Dot, 1986.

The Best I've Ever Been, Shell Point, 1986.

Unplugged, Shell Point, 2002.

RCA Country Legends, RCA, 2002.

Rubber Room: The Haunting Poetic Songs of Porter Wagoner, 1966-1977, Omni, 2006.

Wagonmaster, Anti, 2007.

(With Pam Gadd) 22 Country & Gospel Duets, 2008.

Sources

Books

Eng, Steve, A Satisfied Mind: The Country Music Life of Porter Wagoner, Rutledge Hill Press, 1994.

Official Opry Picture-History Book, Volume 8, edited by Jerry Strobel, Opryland USA, 1992.

Stambler, Irwin, and Grelun Landon, Encyclopedia of Folk, Country & Western Music, St. Martin's, 1983.

Periodicals

Country Weekly, volume 1, number 9.

Independent (London, England), October 30, 2007, p. 36.

New York Times, October 30, 2007, p. D8.

Online

"Porter Wagoner," All Music Guide,http://www.allmusic.com (February 25, 2008).

Porter Wagoner Official Web site, http://www.porterwagoner.com (February 25, 2008).

Other

Additional information was obtained from an interview by Pamela Shelton with Porter Wagoner, Nashville, TN, June 10, 1994, from which quotations in this entry were drawn.

—Pamela L. Shelton and James M. Manheim

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Wagoner, Porter." Contemporary Musicians. . Encyclopedia.com. 23 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Wagoner, Porter." Contemporary Musicians. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 23, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/wagoner-porter-0

"Wagoner, Porter." Contemporary Musicians. . Retrieved August 23, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/wagoner-porter-0

Wagoner, Porter

Porter Wagoner

Singer, songwriter, guitarist

Country Boy, City Boy

A Satisfied Mind

From Stage to Sanctuary

An Eye on Countrys Future

Selected discography

Sources

Legendary country music performer Porter Wagoner is noted for his long-standing commitment to his craft. Randy Travis, Alison Krauss, Kitty Wells, George Jones, Bill Monroe: the photographs on the walls of his dressing room backstage at Nashvilles famed Grand Ole Opry reflect both country musics past and future. And the name Porter Wagoner does as well, conjuring up an image of this tall, blond man with the engaging smile and the flashy, sequined suits.

But behind the smile and the sequins is a gifted individual whose deep love for country music is matched by his gift for songwriting, singing, and, most of all, entertaining. Porter Wagoner is a country music star in the truest sense of the word, noted the Official Opry Picture-History Book. As a showman on stage, he is without equal, for he is not merely a singer, but an entertainer par excellence.

Wagoners story is the quintessential rags-to-riches tale. He was raised in South Fork, Missouri, the fifth child of farming couple Charley and Bertha Wagoner. As a boy, young Porter stood alongside his father, tending to the cattle and hogs and working the crops the family depended on for food and income.

Wagoners musical roots were like those of many rural Americans during the Depression era. He listened to radio shows like the Chicago-based National Barn Dance and WSM-Nashvilles Grand Ole Opry. On the family Victrola, he was introduced to the new bluegrass-style sounds of Bill and Charlie MonroeBill Monroe would become Wagoners first musical idol.

In his biography A Satisfied Mind: The Country Music Life of Porter Wagoner, author Steve Eng quoted a recollection of Wagoners sister, Lola: after playing a Monroe recording, [Porter] would ask, Isnt that the purtiest thing you ever heard? [Recalled] Lola, It was pretty, but he was obviously getting something out of it I was not.

Country Boy, City Boy

During the lean years of the Depression, the Wagoner family was visited by both personal tragedy and the dire economic downturn common to many in the rural Midwest. Porters older brother, Glennwho had drawn Porter on stage to play for local barn dances and had helped him choose his first guitarsuccumbed to myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart, in August of 1942. As Wagoner told Eng, I felt like after he [Glenn] died, that I should carry on his music because it meant so much to him.

For the Record

Born Porter Wayne Wagoner, August 12, 1930, in South Fork, MO; son of Charles E. (a farmer) and Bertha May (Bridges) Wagoner; married Velma Johnson, 1944 (marriage ended); married Ruth Olive Williams, 1946 (divorced, 1986); children: (second marriage) Richard, Denise, Debra.

Radio performer, KWTO, Springfield, MO, beginning in 1951; featured singer on Ozark Jubilee, 1954-55; signed with RCA Records, 1952-81; joined Grand Ole Opry, 1957; host of The Porter Wagoner Show (syndicated television series), 1961-80; established Fireside Studio (recording studio), 1972; signed with Warner/Viva, 1982-83; Opryland, USA, Nashville, TN, goodwill ambassador and full-time performer on Grand Ole Opry Stage, 1984.

Awards: Grammy awards for best gospel performance (with the Blackwood Brothers Quartet), 1966, for Grand Old Gospel, 1967, for More Grand Old Gospel, and 1969, for In Gospel Country; Country Music Association (CMA) awards (with Dolly Parton), 1968, for vocal group of the year, and 1970 and 1971, for vocal duo of the year; TNN/Music City News award (with Parton), 1968, 1969, and 1970, for vocal duo.

Addresses: Office P.O. Box 290785, Nashville, TN 37229.

Early the next spring, Charley Wagoner was forced to auction off the family farm: horses, cows, hogs, and other livestock, as well as Pete, the family mule, were all sold at the auctioneers block. The Wagoners moved to West Plains, Missouri, in search of jobs; the move from the country to the city brought Porter closer to the publicand to the recognition that would someday take him all the way to Nashville.

In 1944 14-year-old Wagoner got a job as a grocery store clerk, where he idled away slow periods by strumming his guitar and singing the songs of his musical idols Monroe, Ernest Tubb, and the legendary Hank Williams, Sr. The storeowner was so impressed by the young mans vocal ability that he shrewdly put the teenager on an early morning local radio show to help promote his business.

From there Wagoner moved to radio station KWTO in nearby Springfield, where he performed a 15-minute spot on a weekly series in 1951. When popular country star Red Foley asked him to join the cast of his Ozark Jubilee in 1954, Wagoner was quick to accept. Foley, a veteran Opry star, schooled his protege in many facets of entertaining; with the dawn of a new media format called television, Wagoners career as a TV personality was born.

From his role as a featured artist on Jubilee, he went on to host The Porter Wagoner Show the longest-running country music television show in historyfrom 1961 to 1980. Downplaying his part in the shows success, Wagoner noted in an interview with Contemporary Musicians (CM), I think the show is always the star. Ive always been a team player, tried to make the show and the bandespecially something that I was responsible for, like The Porter Wagoner Show or my show on the Grand Ole Oprysuccessful.

The program did prove to be a success. Featuring the talented Wagonmasters band and a variety of guest stars, many of whom went on to fame in Nashville, The Porter Wagoner Show was syndicated to over 100 stations across the United States and Canada. Its viewing audience of over 45 million people boosted Wagoners popularity as a touring act far beyond the borders of Music City.

A Satisfied Mind

Wagoner had signed a recording contract with the RCA label in August of 1952, but his first few albums were released to indifferent critical response. For the first couple of records that I made I just tried to sing like Hank Williams, you know, because I liked his things so much, Wagoner recalled in the CM interview. But I realized early that you have to be your own person, and you cant be like someone else or pattern your career after them. So I just said, Hey, I need to be my own self, you know, sing like I do at home, and like I would want to sing myself.

Wagoners new approach struck gold; his 1955 single A Satisfied Mind jumped to the Top Ten on the Billboard charts. This success was the first of many: two years later, he was asked to join the Grand Ole Opry, and for the next 27 years, it was rare when Wagoners name wasnt on the country music countdown. Among his other Top Ten hits were 1956s What Would You Do (If Jesus Came to Your House), 1961 s Your Old Love Letters, the following years Ive Enjoyed as Much of This as I Can Stand, 1964s Green, Green Grass of Home, 1968s Carroll County Accident, and Big Wind, released in 1969.

In addition, the gospel music that played a big role in Wagoners musical upbringing continued to influence him. In the mid-1960s, he recorded several albums with the Blackwood Brothers Quartet: Grand Ole Gospel, More Grand Old Gospel, and In Gospel Country. This series of albums netted Wagoner and the Blackwoods three Grammy awards for their work.

I think some of the records that were made during my careerand, well, lets say from the 60s up to the 80swere some of the greatest records in history because they reflected reality, Wagoner told CM, describing a period when pop-minded Nashville producers like RCAs Chet Atkins reigned supreme on the country music charts. We are humans in a studio playing music and singing so that you will feel it when you get it into your home. It came more from the heart than from all this digital material thats there today. All the records today are basically perfect; but they dont have that deep inner feeling that some of the music did back then.

Reminiscing about country musics past, Wagoner admitted: Theres a part of the heart of the business that I truly miss. And Im talking about songs like Patsy Cline recorded, songs like Hank Williams [Sr.] did. Man, they breathed so much life into em. You could feel it in your heart. And now I think its why fans love one performer today, and somebody else tomorrow, and somebody else the next day and so on down the line, because its a lot more plastic now than it was in those days.

Throughout the late 1960s, The Porter Wagoner Show remained as popular as ever. Wagoners leading lady, Miss Norma Jean, whose lovely voice had harmonized on such hits as Ill Take a Chance on Loving You, left the show in 1967, and he signed a new female accompanist, a young woman who had traveled from her native Tennessee to make it big in Nashville.

That woman was Dolly Parton; together the two would become well known as a duet act, garnering major awards and a number of hits, including 1971s Burning the Midnight Oil and 1974s Please Dont Stop Loving Me. Wagoner and Partons individual flamboyance blended perfectly: her bouffant hairdos and revealing gowns were a perfect match to his characteristic pompadour and collection of rhinestone-laden Nudie suitsintricately fashioned to the tune of up to $10,000 per ensemble and weighing in at an average 35 pounds each.

The couples successful partnership lasted until 1974, when Parton made a break from the show to go in her own musical direction. Wagoner went on to record and produce other artists in his Fireside Studio and experimented with non-country influences like soul, pop, and disco. After ending his recording career in 1981, he devoted himself to what he does best: spreading the word on country music. He became the official goodwill ambassador for Nashvilles Opryland Theme Park and has continued to perform regularly on the Opry stage. During the Oprys off-season, he tours the country, playing an additional ten concerts each year.

From Stage to Sanctuary

In addition to being a consummate entertainer, Wagoner has a distinctive talent for songwriting. Remarking on the contrast between his upbeat public image and the introspective nature of many of his compositions, he explained to CM: I love to write but it lays real heavy on your mind. Because Id have to get so involved in ideas, Id get lost in them, you know. Whenever I wrote songs, a lot of the times I was in sort of a down mood, an off-time. But I did that to have a contrast, because you cant run wide open all the time, you know.

Wagoner described the writing process that led to the songs he penned for albums like Skid Row Joe: I had a room in my home that I had designed myself. It was made out of a tent inside of a room. There was no furniture in it. I could go in that room and go almost anyplace I wanted to go in my mind. I had stayed in so many motel and hotel rooms that were all the same thing and I wanted something different when I got home. I think when you just kind of turn your mind loose and let it just wander wherever it will wander, some different things come out of it. I wrote some real different songs by doing that.

Wagoner elaborated on his unique method of songwriting: One of the first songs that I wrote in this room was called The Rubber Rooma real far-out song about a guy who went crazy. And it was probably the most unique song of that time that Ive written. I started working on some other songs along that lineof insanity and so forth. I worked on it a couple of days and I said, Wow, Im gonna have to stop this. Because it was really puttin me in such a frame of mind I began to worry about myself, you know.

An Eye on Countrys Future

From a viewpoint that embraces so much of country musics recent past, Wagoner has begun to look ahead at the future of both the music and its institutions. I really hate to see people like Bill Monroe, and, well, like myselfthe artists thats been around the business so longmove on. You always hate to give up those things, but thats a part of reality. And I hope that the people that follow in Bill Monroes footsteps and in my footsteps, and the other people Ive known like Roy Acuff and so on back down the line, will not stray so far away that it just becomes music, just becomes soundwith no history or no heart.

Porter continued, I hope that a lot of the new people in the industry will look at [country music] as though its an art form. I hope that they wont just try to be the worlds greatest singer, but be an entertainer and a contributor too. In the minds of many fans of country music, Wagoner has been and will continue to be exactly that: an entertainer and a contributor to this uniquely American, much-loved part of our musical inheritance.

Selected discography

A Slice of LifeSongs Happy n Sad, RCA, 1962.

A Satisfied Mind, RCA, 1963.

The Porter Wagoner Show, RCA, 1963.

The Thin Man From West Plains, RCA, 1965.

(With the Blackwood Brothers Quartet) Grand Ole Gospel, RCA, 1966.

The Cold, Hard Facts of Life, RCA, 1967.

(With the Blackwoods) More Grand Ole Gospel, RCA, 1967.

Soul of a Convict, and Other Great Prison Songs, RCA, 1967.

Green, Green Grass of Home, Camden, 1968.

(With the Blackwoods) In Gospel Country, RCA, 1968.

(With Dolly Parton) Always, Always, RCA, 1969.

Carroll County Accident, RCA, 1969.

Skid Row JoeDown in the Alley, RCA, 1970.

Blue Moon of Kentucky, Camden, 1971.

Highway Headin South, RCA, 1974.

Porter Wagoner Today, RCA, 1979.

(With Parton) Porter & Dolly, RCA, 1980.

Porter Wagoner, Dot, 1986.

Sources

Books

Eng, Steve, A Satisfied Mind: The Country Music Life of Porter Wagoner, Rutledge Hill Press, 1994.

Official Opry Picture-History Book, Volume 8, edited by Jerry Strobel, Opryland USA, 1992.

Stambler, Irwin, and Gredlun Landon, Encyclopedia of Folk, Country & Western, St. Martins, 1983.

Periodicals

Country Weekly, volume 1, number 9.

Other

Shelton, Pamela, interview with Porter Wagoner, Nashville, TN, June 10, 1994.

Pamela L. Shelton

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Wagoner, Porter." Contemporary Musicians. . Encyclopedia.com. 23 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Wagoner, Porter." Contemporary Musicians. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 23, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/wagoner-porter

"Wagoner, Porter." Contemporary Musicians. . Retrieved August 23, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/wagoner-porter