These posts are about the songs that just barely failed to cross the key line of chart success, entering the Billboard Top 40. Every song featured in this series peaked at number 41.
Dolly Parton was well-acquainted with the top of the country music charts for most of her career, but her crossover success was surprisingly modest. She went to #1 ten times during the nineteen-seventies, but made it into the Top 40 on Billboard‘s Hot 100 on only four occasions, with the 1977 single “Here You Come Again” significantly outpacing the others. Then Parton had her biggest pop hit with the title song to the 1980 comedy 9 to 5, a film which also featured the performer making her film acting debut. The song spent two non-consecutive weeks atop the Billboard chart, interrupted by another country-pop hybrid, Eddie Rabbitt’s “I Love a Rainy Night.”
Instead of a proper soundtrack album, “9 to 5” was housed on a full-length Parton release. 9 to 5 and Odd Jobs featured a handful of Parton originals supplemented by covers and the work of other songwriters. Eager for a follow-up to the chart-topper, Parton’s label opted for her version of “But You Know I Love You,” a song Kenny Rogers and the First Edition took into the Top 40 in 1968. Parton maintained some of the earlier version’s spacey psychedelia, but softened with adult contemporary pillow fluff. It was the opposite of the catchy, strident track Parton which Parton had just turned into a major hit. “But You Know I Love You” stalled on the Billboard pop chart, just outside of the Top 40. It fared better on the country chart, where it became the latest in a string of #1 songs for Parton. In a funny twist, the song that was unseated from the country chart perch by Parton’s cover was “What Are We Doin’ in Love,” a duet featuring Rogers and his regular performing partner Dottie West.
Other entries in this series can be found by clicking on the “Top 40 Smash Near Misses” tag.