Upon the release of Jolene, the country music world was abuzz with Dolly Parton's decision to leave Porter Wagoner, and his syndicated country music show to go solo for good. Wagoner had helped Dolly secure a contract with RCA and, thanks to big hits like "Joshua" (#1), "Coat of Many Colors" (#4) and "Jolene" (#1) she'd already become a huge country star in her own right. But Dolly didn't want to be tied down to a country traditionalist who was afraid of flying.
The split began amicably enough with Dolly 's heart felt goodbye, laid out in the lyrics of the song that must have earned her millions of dollars: "I Will Always Love You".
Well, I would only be in your way
And so I'll go, and yet I know
That I'll think of you each step of my way
And I will always love you
Now Dolly was free to bring her country into the pop marketplace. The years that followed would see her record in LA and even earn an Oscar nomination in the movie 9 To 5.
And that's about the time Porter Wagoner sued Dolly for breach of contract. He had, in his hands, a note Dolly had signed in the 70's:
"To Porter Wagoner...because of my appreciation and respect for you...I agree to pay you 15% of my gross income on my RCA record royalties "
That signature was probably worth a million dollars to Wagoner although the settlement was never disclosed.
There were a few lean years for Dolly so she could make good on that payment but by the mid -80's she was back on top. With her own theme park to boot.