40 Years Ago: ‘Here You Come Again’ Becomes Dolly Parton’s First Gold Single
On Feb. 1, 1978, Dolly Parton's "Here You Come Again" became her first gold single.
At the time of the song's release, Parton was making a big push to break into the pop world. That's certainly evident from "Here You Come Again": Written by songwriting legends Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil -- who had penned hits for the Righteous Brothers and the Drifters, among others -- and produced by Gary Klein (Johnny Cash, Glen Campbell), the song had recently appeared on a BJ Thomas LP.
Parton's version of "Here You Come Again," which is about someone having their life shaken up from seeing an old flame, sounds contemporary. Glamorous backing vocals, syrupy strings and a perky, easygoing tempo dominate. But in a deliberate nod to her country roots, Al Perkins contributes pedal steel.
"She wanted people to be able to hear the steel guitar, so if someone said it isn't country, she could say it and prove it," Klein told author Tom Roland in The Billboard Book of Number One County Hits. "She was so relieved. It was like her life sentence was reprieved."
In an early 2016 interview on Andy Cohen's SiriusXM radio show, Parton's manager, Sandy Gallin, revealed that Parton didn't actually want to record "Here You Come Again," as she didn't want to seem like she was leaving country behind.
“She said a monkey could sing this song and have a hit with it,” Gallin told Cohen. "And she was very nervous that it would turn off the country market, which she was very loyal to. There was no way she wanted to ever let anything insinuate that she may be turning her back on the country audience."
Gallin went on to note that he convinced Parton to do it by making a bargain with her: “I made a deal with her: If the song is not No. 1 country and No. 1 pop, I never get into your music again,” he said. "I said, 'I'll bet it's No. 1.' She said, 'You're sure of this?' I said, 'I'm positive.'"
"Here You Come Again" came close to reaching this milestone: The song hit No. 1 on the country singles chart, and peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100, making it Parton's highest-charting crossover single to date. By April of 1978, the album of the same name (which topped the country charts) was certified platinum. And, as it turns out, country music also embraced Parton's glossier direction: The song won Best Country Vocal Performance (Female) at the 1979 Grammy Awards.
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