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Jan. 31: Jerry Chesnut wrote a lot of great country songs, including one recorded on this date in 1968 and released 11 months later as the second single for the new duet of Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton.

The story goes that Porter persuaded his label to sign Dolly after she joined his road show and TV show cast, but the folks at RCA Victor weren’t convinced the former Monument artist could sell records. So, hedging their bets, they cut P & D as a duet. Sure enough, together they were a hit — “Holding On To Nothin'” reached No. 7, and only three singles in 15 years failed to make the top 15. (Incidentally, after a slow start, Dolly eventually showed RCA she could indeed sell solo records!)

Porter Wagoner was a great harmony singer, underrated on that score in my opinion. It’s interesting that he, the established star, didn’t take the lead part on the chorus here. Maybe high-pitched Dolly would have resembled Alvin the Chipmunk if she’d sung the harmony!

As for Chesnut, he also penned the classics “A Good Year for the Roses,” “Another Place Another Time,” “Oney” and “T-R-O-U-B-L-E.” Check out his profile at the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, which enshrined him in 1996. And see what he had to say last year about his career and some of his hits, including “Holding On To Nothin’.”