Dolly: I sang to dying duet partner30/10/2007 - 07:08:39
Country star Dolly Parton said she sang to her old duet partner, Porter Wagoner as he lay dying from lung cancer.
Parton said she was grateful that she was able to spend a few final hours with the man who launched her career.
“Part of him will always live through me and my music as he was my first big break,” she said.
Grand Ole Opry star and showman Wagoner, 80, died in a hospice in Nashville, Tennessee, on Sunday.
Parton said she was there with his family, sang for him and prayed with him.
“It felt good that I had the opportunity to say goodbye properly,” she said.
Wagoner had a streak of hits in the 1960s and 70s, and enjoyed a comeback in recent months with a new album.
To many long-time fans he will be best remembered for his sparkly rhinestone suits and for singing with Parton on his TV show from 1967 to 1974.
Marty Stuart, who produced Wagoner’s last album, Wagonmaster, said he grew up watching his TV show and the two later became close friends.
Stuart was one of the musicians who backed Wagoner in the summer when he opened for the influential rock group the White Stripes at Madison Square Garden, a show that underscored the ageing singer’s new-found popularity with a fresh wave of young fans.
“He was a masterful showman who understood the art of the final act,” Stuart said. “He left the world on top.”
Stuart said Wagoner had been invited to light the national Christmas tree at the Pageant of Peace celebration in Washington DC next month.
“One of the last things he said to me was, ’You’re gonna have to call the president and tell him I won’t be able to sing him any Christmas songs this year. Maybe next year’,” Stuart recalled.
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