The Anniversary Of Dolly Parton’s First “HIT” At RCA Studio B

Mar 27, 2019

In A Satisfied Mind: The Country Music Life of Porter Wagoner, author Steve Eng places Dolly Parton’s first RCA session (a duet session with Wagoner) on October 10, 1967, fifty years ago. That date is also cited in the Bear Family box set Just Between You and Me (the first song that Wagoner and Parton recorded during that session).

In Parton’s 1994 autobiography, Dolly: My Life and Other Unfinished Business, she writes: “I will never forget my first day recording for RCA, back when I was still with Porter. I had just bought a new car and was running a little late for my session. I had driven very little in my life and was not that secure about my ability behind the wheel. The man at the driver’s license bureau in Nashville had given me my license without even a road test, presumably because he thought I was cute. I guess I did too, and somehow felt that made me qualified to drive a car.”

“In my rush to get to the studio that day, I forgot one basic element of driving—braking. I arrived at the old RCA studio on Music Row and plowed right into the side of the building. Bricks were still falling onto the hood of my car as I walked nonchalantly into the recording session, as if nothing bad had happened. When we took a break a little later, the men went outside to have a cigarette and noticed my car stuck in the wall. They commented on it, but I never did say anything or confess that it was my car.”

“That old studio is now an historic site in Nashville. If you visit there, you can still see where the bricks are a little different in that one particular spot. The way Chet Atkins reacted, I think he knew whose car it was. Chet, if you did, I thank you for never letting on!”

Ron Harman