Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton

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Parton's first solo single for RCA Victor, "Just Because I'm a Woman," was released in the summer of 1968 and was a moderate chart hit, reaching number 17. For the remainder of the decade, none of her solo effort – even "In the Good Old Days (When Times Were Bad)," which later became a standard – was as successful as her duets with Wagoner. The duo was named Vocal Group of the Year in 1968 by the Country Music Association, but Parton's solo records were continually ignored. Wagoner had a significant financial stake in her future; as of 1969, he was her co-producer and owned nearly half of Owe-Par, the publishing company Parton had founded with Bill Owens. By 1970, both Parton and Wagoner had grown frustrated by her lack of solo chart success. Wagoner persuaded Parton to record Jimmie Rodgers's "Mule Skinner Blues," a gimmick that worked. The record shot to number three, followed closely, in February 1971, by her first number-one single, "Joshua. " For the next two years, she had numerous solo hits – including her signature song "Coat of Many Colors" (number four, 1971) – in addition to her duets. Top-20 singles included "The Right Combination" and "Burning the Midnight Oil" (both duets with Wagoner, 1971); "Lost Forever in Your Kiss," (with Wagoner) "Touch Your Woman," (1972) "My Tennessee Mountain Home," and "Travelin' Man" (1973).

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