PORTER WAGONER was an extremely popular American country music singer known for his flashy Nudie Suits and blond pompadour. Dubbed as MR. GRAND OLE OPRY he charted a total of 81 singles from 1954-1983; and is an honored member of the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Initially WAGONER began performing with his band THE BLUE RIDGE BOYS on radio stations in his Native West Plains, Missouri. Radio stints led him to become a featured regular on TV’s OZARK JUBILEE, and like many of his contemporaries in country music WAGONER traveled and performed outdoors for fans at American Legion Houses in rural towns. This was the way to do it then! WAGONER knew his devoted fans well, and was renowned for mingling with his audiences during performance breaks. This was a part of his whole charm.
WAGONER’S success as a solo artist proved formidable but it was once his syndicated television program THE PORTER WAGONER SHOW began that he really solidified his mark on country music. The show featured opening performances by WAGONER and his ‘Girl Singer’, NORMA JEAN. NORMA JEAN, a very popular aspect of his show, provided the feminine touch to WAGONER’S music, and together their voices were about as perfect as could be. The audiences that adored WAGONER also made extra room for NORMA JEAN. But eventually she would leave the show to raise a family of her own, leaving the door open for DOLLY PARTON to replace her.
DOLLY’S addition to THE PORTER WAGONER SHOW and his music proved even more successful than NORMA JEANS and together she and WAGONER would go on to record some of country music’s finest melodies, often set to maudlin stories about death and poverty. PARTON found big success in this time, and the audiences that adored NORMA JEAN would also accept her. Similarly however, PARTON would eventually leave WAGONER to find solo success but she has always maintained her gratitude to WAGONER for showing her how to perform. Through him she developed her own unique brand of stage presence; matching him in his Nudie suits and pompadour hair.
Grand Ole Opry honored WAGONER in 2007 for both his 50 years of membership and his 80th birthday. Also in 2007, WAGONER released his final album, WAGONMASTER and in the process received the best reviews of his career.
For more on PORTER WAGONER visit : www.porterwagoner.com