Dolly Parton is one of the greatest singers and songwriters to ever grace country music. She's been in the business since the late '60s and began gaining mainstream fame when she joined The Porter Wagoner Show in 1967. Parton sang alongside fellow legend Wagoner on the show and on the road for seven years, but she soon desired to be out on her own to start her solo career. However, Wagoner was not in favor of this decision, and the two were at odds about her possible exit.
"He would say, 'This is my damn show,'" Parton told Jad Abumrad of Dolly Parton's America about her conversations with Wagoner. "I'd say, 'I know, but this is my damn life, and we're not talking about the show, I'm talking about my life. I'm talking about my future. I can't stay here as the girl singer forever. I want an individual career. I am my own self. I didn't come to Nashville to be just part of a duet and to be a girl singer in somebody's group. I want my own band. I want my own show. I want my own dreams.'"
Parton said the troubled relationship got to the point where she couldn't sleep, think or eat, so she decided to leave. She wrote her smash hit, "I Will Always Love You," about ending her professional relationship with Wagoner, and she sang the song to him when she resigned. That song was of course released by Whitney Houston in 1992, with her version spending 14 weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100.
After Parton left The Porter Wagoner Show for the final time and was driving home from his office and into the unknown, another song, "Light of a Clear Blue Morning," was born. The song finds Parton singing about going through a hard time, and the singer said she wrote the entire tune on her car ride home while thinking about her new journey.
"As I left his office and began to drive toward my home out in Brentwood, it began to rain, so did I. I cried. Not so much out of a sense of loss, but from the pain that almost always comes with change. It has a sad kind of freedom," she wrote in her 1994 autobiography. "Then I began to sing a song to myself. 'It's been a long dark night, and I've been waiting for the morning. It's been a long hard fight, but I see a brand new day dawning. I been looking for the sunshine. I ain't seen it in so long. Everything's going to work out just fine. Everything's going to be all right, that's been all wrong. I can see the light of a clear blue morning.'"
" I swear to you on my life, as I said that, the sky cleared up, it stopped raining, the sun came out, and before I got home I had completely written the song called 'Light of a Clear Blue Morning,'" she continued.
Parton released the song in 1977 from her New Harvest...First Gathering album, and it peaked at No. 11 on the charts. Although the song was written about her specific situation with Wagoner, it's a song of hope that can be applied to any hardship. The song was covered by Conspirare & Craig Hella Johnson in 2009 and later by The Wailin' Jennys in 2011. Parton has rerecorded the song twice, once for her 1992 movie, Straight Talk, and again for her 2003 album, For God and Country. "Light of a Clear Blue Morning" followed Parton's hits "Coat of Many Colors" and "Jolene," and paved the way for some of Parton's greatest hits, including "Here You Come Again," "9 to 5" and more.