Meaning Behind Dolly Parton’s First Million-Selling Hit, “Here You Come Again”

“Here You Come Again” marked a defining moment in Dolly Parton’s career. For one, it serves as one of the rare few songs she didn’t write herself. The single also became her first to sell one million copies.

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Co-written by the legendary songwriting of Barry Mann and his wife Cynthia Weil and produced by Gary Klein, “Here You Come Again” was originally recorded by B.J. Thomas before landing in Parton’s hands. At the time, Parton was a full-fledged country superstar and didn’t want to leave her country fans in the dust in her quest to reach a wide-ranging audience.

Mann wrote the melody and committed it to tape to which Weil put the lyrics. “I wrote to what I remembered and changed the melody a little bit by mistake and when Barry came back, he actually liked it,” Weil recalls to Huffington Post. Mann credits her for coming up with the “great opening line,” Here you come again / Just when I’ve begun to get myself together.

“Gary Klein, I think, was producing Dolly Parton, and he heard it, and he loved it. Dolly, who was so gracious and adorable thanks us every time she sees us, for the song,” Weil continues. “At the time, she felt it might be a little too slick and might cost her some of her country fans. But she was talked into doing it and now she’s thrilled that she did.”

“She wanted people to be able to hear the steel guitar, so if someone said it isn’t country, she could say it and prove it,” Klein said in the book The Billboard Book of Number One County Hits (quote via The Boot). “She was so relieved. It was like her life sentence was reprieved.”

Despite Parton’s concerns, “Here You Come Again” struck the balance of impressing both country and pop audiences. It hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart and reached No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100, her highest-charting single on the all-genre chart at the time.

The 1977 album of the same name was her first major pop crossover success and was her first to hit the Top 20 on the Billboard 200. A Dolly Parton-themed musical named after “Here You Come Again” is currently in the works at Connecticut-based theater company, Goodspeed Musicals. The show is scheduled to run July 26-August 27, 2023.

Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

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