Perhaps one of the original and most beloved crossover artists is “The Queen of Country” herself, Dolly Parton.
Since 1967, Dolly Parton has been one of America’s most prized entertainers that have managed to attract fans beyond genre boundaries. From country to country pop to pop to bluegrass to gospel, Parton herself has crossed over specific genre lines.
On June 15, 1977, Dolly Parton started recording the album “Here You Come Again,” which was her most popular attempt at a pop music takeover.
This is Parton’s 19th studio album. RCA Victor released it in October 1977.
Some of the popular singles from the album are the title track, “Two Doors Down,” “It’s All Wrong, But It’s All Right,” and “Me and Little Andy.” The album peaked at No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country LPs chart and No. 20 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart.
Recording Song ‘Here You Come Again’
According to Songfacts, the songwriting team of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil collaborated on the title track, “Here You Come Again.” This was her first Top 10 pop hit and is considered a monumental transitional moment in Dolly Parton’s career. It also earned her the Grammy for Best Country Vocal Performance.
The song was initially offered to Brenda Lee (“I’m Sorry,” “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”). She didn’t record the song and B.J. Thomas instead released his version on his album in 1977. Parton’s producer, Gary Klein, then heard it.
While Parton was going pop, she still needed to keep that “Backwoods Barbie” image she was known for and she personally adored. Dolly Parton convinced Klein to bring in Al Perkins to play the steel guitar on the track to give it a country, bluegrass feel.
“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. She was so relieved. It was like her life sentence was reprieved,” Klein said to “The Billboard Book of Number One Country Hits.”
Kacey Musgraves and Katy Perry performed the most recent rendition of the classic track. The country and pop artists joined forces to honor Parton at the 2019 Grammys as she won the MusiCares Person of the Year Award.
Dolly Parton Transition to Pop
Although Dolly Parton will always have the strongest roots and links to country music, she has always defied the expectations of genre.
Starting in the 1970s, Parton began a very high-profile musical transition. Her goal was to become more mainstream and defy the strict viewership of country music.
She released an album in 1976 called “All I Can Do.” Both she and her longtime friend and collaborator, Port Wagoner, co-produced. Her goal was to play a more active role in production. Then she could control the more pop-oriented direction she was going for. Her first album that she self-produced was “New Harvest…First Gathering” in 1977. It made little impression on the pop charts.
It was really “Here You Come Again” that was most successful through years of attempts at infiltrating mainstream music. Songs like “9 to 5” later on would continue to show the universal aspect Parton seems to have in music.