New Hall Of Fame Inductees Remember Porter Wagoner

This appeared on - November 3, 2007

The country music world remembered one of the legends Monday night at a concert at the historic Ryman Auditorium.

Fans and friends looked back on the life and career of Porter Wagoner, who died Sunday of lung cancer.

New inductees into the Country Music Hall of Fame performed Monday night for a concert celebrating the 82nd anniversary of WSM-650 AM, the radio home of the Grand Ole Opry.

Several people shared stories about Wagoner, a 2002 Country Music Hall of Fame inductee. He was recognized as the voice and face of the Grand Ole Opry for more than five decades.

"I'm going to miss him," said longtime friend Marty Stuart Monday afternoon.

Stuart spent much of the past year producing Wagoner's last album, which marked a comeback for the Opry star.

"He really was right on top of a great victory lap," Stuart said. "He was awarded. He was celebrated and he had a wonderful 50 years at the Opry. A whole new generation of fans found him."

In May, Wagoner celebrated 50 years at the Grand Ole Opry. The Opry is a place artists such as Lorrie Morgan said will not be the same without the legendary entertainer.

"Well I'll miss his hugs for sure and that laugh," Morgan said. "That HA! That Porter laugh."

At Monday's listener appreciation concert, people who loved the country classics remembered one of their favorites.

"Music brought me to Nashville and of course, Porter was a superstar then, years ago," said Wagoner fan Bill Stepp. "We're losing him. I hate it. I really do."

Wagoner had 81 country and gospel songs on the charts. In 1960, Porter started his own syndicated country music show.

He won three Emmy Awards. He and longtime duet partner Dolly Parton were the Country Music Association's Duo of the Year in 1970 and 1971.

"When Porter died, it was like a piece of me died with him," Parton said in a statement released Monday. "We were always so attached musically and emotionally."

Parton joined Wagoner's show when she was 21. She credits him for making her a household name.

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