Porter Wagoner Dead at 80
Porter Wagoner, the country music legend known for his signature blond pompadour and flashy, rhinestone-encrusted suits, died Sunday at a Nashville hospice. The singer was suffering from lung cancer. He was 80.
Throughout his 40-year career, Wagoner had 81 songs on the country music charts, 19 of those with his musical prodigy, Dolly Parton. He gave Parton her big break in 1967, hiring her as a singing partner. The two released several albums of duets together, and won the Country Music Association's first-ever Duo of the Year Award. Parton wrote the classic hit, 'I Will Always Love You,' about her professional relationship with her mentor.
In addition to his singing and songwriting, Wagoner was a celebrated television personality, hosting the syndicated 'Porter Wagoner Show' for 21 years -- the longest running country music variety show in history.
Wagoner was a staple in the country music scene right up until his death. In May, he celebrated his 50th year as a member of the Grand Ole Opry. In June, he released his last CD, 'Wagonmaster,' to some of the best reviews of his career. And in July, he opened for the White Stripes at a sold-out show at New York's Madison Square Garden.