“Here You Come Again”
Peak: Country #1 (5 weeks) | Pop #3 | AC #2
Written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil
With those famous words, Dolly Parton declared both her continued loyalty to country music and her refusal to abide by its limits. Her first shot at pop fell short, and rather than rely on her own pen, she turned to experienced pop songwriters to secure her a place in the upper echelon of the Hot 100.
It worked. “Here You Come Again” was the vehicle that brought international celebrity to Dolly Parton, exposing her to a wider audience that would know her for her signature figure as much as her singing talent, and would remain mostly unaware of her songwriting prowess until Whitney Houston covered “I Will Always Love You” fifteen years afterward.
“Here You Come Again” is a great pop record. No qualifications needed. But it is worth noting that Parton insisted on the gorgeous steel guitar that gives the track so much of its warmth. She wanted something to point to when country purists complained that the song had no business on country radio, but the contrast between steel and piano beautifully complemented her sweet country voice being alongside pop instrumentation.
There’s a timelessness to “Here You Come Again” that makes the song still sound fresh today. It still ranks as her biggest country hit, and trails only “9 to 5” and “Islands in the Stream” on the list of her biggest pop hits. There are going to be some very low moments in between those hits and this one, but for now, revel in the fact that the lady who once sang “Mule Skinner Blues” could fit in so comfortably with the Bee Gees and Rod Stewart on the hit parade.
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