1978 Dolly Parton – Two Doors Down
By the time she was ten years old, Dolly Parton appeared regularly on radio shows in Knoxville. At thirteen, she recorded her first single and got to appear on the Grand Ole Opry. She moved to Nashville and began a successful career as a songwriter the day after she graduated from high school. In 1967, Dolly became a regular on the Porter Wagoner Show and the two recorded a long series of hit records.
Dolly had her first appearance on the Hot 100 in 1963 when her #1 Country single Jolene crossed over and reached #60 on the pop chart. It was also the first of four consecutive #1 Country singles.
Brenda Lee had her last top forty single on the Hot 100 in 1967 and her last top forty single on the Adult Contemporary (AC) chart the next year. In 1975, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil wrote the song Here You Come Again and presented a demo to Brenda to use as a comeback tune.
Brenda passed on the song but still found a pair of Country top forty singles that year. B. J. Thomas recorded the song on an album, and Dolly selected the song as the title single for an album in 1977. She insisted on including a steel guitar in the song to help prove that her version of the song was truly Country. It turned out to be an excellent choice since the single topped the Country chart. An extra benefit showed up: in spite of having a steel guitar in the mix, the single crossed over to the pop charts and reached #3 on the Hot 100. That became the first time Dolly reached the Hot 100 top forty.
In early 1978, while that single was still charting, Zella Lehr covered a song from Dolly’s album that Dolly wrote herself. Dolly had included a version of Two Doors Down on her album.
When Zella’s very country version of the song jumped up into the Country top ten, Dolly was reluctant to compete with that single. Instead, Dolly took stock of her recent success in the pop world and recorded a new, decidedly more pop version of the song. Her single version even had some disco touches.
The single only reached #19 on the Hot 100 but peaked at #12 on the AC chart (it did not appear on the Country chart). From that point on, all pressings of her album included the new version of her single, annoying Country fans and making the early copies of her album a collector’s item. The original version eventually showed up only on an Australian CD in 2000.
While Dolly continued to have hits on the Country chart, she rarely crossed over to the pop charts. Her only big solo hit on the Hot 100 was the chart-topping title song from the film 9 to 5. She also topped the chart with a song written by the Bee Gees and co-produced by Barry Gibb, her duet Islands In The Stream with Kenny Rogers.
After a lot of back-and-forth discussions, Dolly finally accepted an invitation to join the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2022.
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