Dolly Parton’s ‘Here You Come Again’: Story Behind the Hit Song

by Kayla Zadel

Dolly Parton was making a push into the pop scene when she suddenly struck gold. When we say gold, we mean that “Here You Come Again” was Parton’s first single to become certified gold.

The country icon’s “Here You Come Again” is from her nineteenth solo studio album. It was released on October 3, 1977, by RCA Victor. Additionally, on Feb. 1, 1978, it was Parton’s first song to go gold.

Dolly Parton Pops Over to Different Music Genre

Parton wanted to expand her fan base and thought this single would do the trick. It’s written by songwriting legends Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil while being produced by Gary Klein. BJ Thomas was the first to give a try at the single, but it was Parton that made the hit what it is today.

The song is about someone having their life shaken up from seeing an old flame. “Here You Come Again” has all the makings of a timely pop song, but The Boot reports that Parton wanted to be able to hear a signature country music instrument.

“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.”

Did Dolly Want to Sing the Song in the First Place?

In recent years, it’s come to light that Dolly Parton didn’t actually want to sing the song. Parton didn’t want it to seem like she was leaving country music behind

“She said a monkey could sing this song and have a hit with it,” Parton’s manager, Sandy Gallin revealed. “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 continues to confess that Parton’s manager, Klein, made a bet with the country legend to get her to sing the song.

“’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, “Gallin states in the interview. “He said, ‘I’ll bet it’s No. 1.’ She said, ‘You’re sure of this?’ I said, ‘I’m positive.'”

The song hit No. 1 on the country singles chart, and also 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 also topped the country charts was certified platinum. As a matter of fact, the song won Best Country Vocal Performance by a Female at the 1979 Grammy Awards.

‘Here You Come Again’ Accidental Hit?

According to Song Facts,  Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil wrote the song sometime in 1975. However, during the songwriting process, Weil accidentally erased the original opening line on the tape recorder while Mann was out.

This turned out to be a serendipitous mistake. Weil explains how she covered up the accident.

“I didn’t know what to do, so I made one up. I made up the melody and the lyric,” the songwriter reveals. “When he came back I sang it to him. He said ‘that’s not my opening line, but I like yours better.’ We kept it.”