Friday Five: Porter Wagoner
It’s Porter Wagoner’s birthday today. He would have been 84. In honor of the Wagonmaster, here are my five favorite songs made famous by him over his six decade career. What are your favorite Wagoner songs?
5. “Misery Loves Company”
This song, written by Jerry Reed, was Wagoner’s second #1. The first heartbreak is the worst, so in this song, Wagoner deals with it in the time-honored country music tradition: with bottle, jukebox, and crowd.
4. “Green Green Grass”
The revelation at the end of this Curly Putnam-penned song is still one of the best “surprise” endings in any art form (take that, Sixth Sense!).
3. “Just Someone I Used to Know”
Porter and Dolly recorded many duets together over the course of their musical partnership, but this one’s my favorite: great lyrics delivered beautifully. What more can a listener ask for?
2. “A Satisfied Mind”
Wagoner topped the charts with this Jack Rhodes/Red Hayes song in 1955. In the past 60+ years, it’s been recorded hundreds of times by everyone from Willie Nelson to Jeff Buckley, but Wagoner’s version is still the best, in my opinion.
1. “Cold Hard Facts of Life”
This chilling song hit #2 in 1967. When I first heard it, probably around 35 years later, it stopped me in my tracks. Wagoner’s matter-of-fact delivery of the last stanza makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up. Lest you think it’s just another murder song, “Cold Hard Facts of Life” also provides helpful advice: if you’re going to brag about your adultery to random folks, do it at the wine shop in the next town.
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