Sitting around playing guitar and singing during store working hours would not appear to be a good way for a young grocery clerk to remain in his boss's good graces. For young Porter Wagoner, however, it proved to be his ticket into show business.
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When business was slow in the West Plains, Missouri grocery in which Porter was employed, he'd drag out his guitar and sing for whoever cared to listen. The owner of the market enjoyed Porter's singing and decided to sponsor a 15 minute, early-morning local radio show to showcase the talent of his young clerk-and perhaps bring some additional business to the store.
Following that chance beginning, (in the fall of 1951), Porter landed a weekly spot on KWTO Radio in Springfield, Missouri. A few months later, The Ozark Jubilee was born at the station with Red Foley as its director. Red taught Porter many of the lessons of showmanship that were to be so instrumental in Porter's later success, and Porter was soon the feature singer on the nationally televised edition of the show.
In 1955, RCA Records signed Porter to a recording contract. Porter's release, "A Satisfied Mind," reached the No. 1 spot and was followed by a long string of hit records, spanning over 30 years. In 1957, Porter was invited to join the Grand Ole Opry. His long running syndicated TV series began in 1961. In 1967, Porter auditioned a young singer named Dolly Parton, and she soon became his singing partner. By 1969, the duet had won a Grammy Award for the single "Just Someone I Used To Know." They were named the Country Music Association's "Duo Of The Year," three years in succession. That partnership lasted until 1974, at which time Porter became involved in producing other artists in his own recording studio, adding new dimensions to his music by branching out into the non-country musical forms of disco, soul, and pop.
When Porter's name is mentioned, images instantly emerge of the tall man with the big smile and the flashy costumes. Porter Wagoner is a country music star in the truest sense of the word and he fulfills everything that such a definition entails. As a showman on stage, he is without equal, for he is not merely a singer, but an entertainer par excellence. He has the rare talent of making each person in the audience feel that Porter Wagoner is performing for him alone. It is this unique quality which has made him beloved by persons of all ages and background. The magic of his show is an outgrowth of Porter Wagoner the man, a person with a good sense of humor and a quiet country charm.
Porter's biography A Satisfied Mind: The Country Music Life Of Porter Wagoner, is an outstanding American biography that takes the reader behind closed doors into the real world of country music, with abundant photos from Porter's personal collection.
Occasionally, when his schedule gets a bit too hectic, Porter heads "out to the lake" to get some rest. Rest, to Porter, consists of non-stop fishing. A hobby which has generated some spectacular bass trophies for the wall of his office.
CMA Vocal Duo of the Year 1971
CMA Vocal Duo of the Year 1970
Music City News Country Vocal Duet of the Year 1970
Music City News Country Vocal Duet of the Year 1969
Music City News Country Vocal Duet of the Year 1968
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