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My first deal with a publisher was writing for Combine Music, ran by Bob Beckham. He was the first publisher to really believe in me. Dolly was also writing for him, and on one or more occasions, she would have two or three songs finished and I would also, and we would go to the studio and Beckham would do a 5 or 6 split demo session on us.
Even at this early stage, I was in awe of her talent.
Later, after she had joined the Porter Wagoner Show, Porter called me and asked me to bring some songs for him to listen to. I took 2 or 3 songs over and while we listened to "Holding On To Nothing", Dolly started singing this great harmony to it. Porter said we'll do a duet on that. I think they wound up doing all three songs but on the strength of the "Holding On To Nothing" record, they won the Duo Of The Year Award. It was also an Award Winner for me.
According to Dolly's book, (The Early Years), RCA executive Chet Atkins was not convinced that Dolly could be a successful Artist until Jerry Chesnut's "Holding On To Nothing" really established her and Porter as a duet team. In fact it did so well that 2 months after it's release, RCA released Dolly's first single record, and launched one of the greatest careers of the century!!!!!!
I'm so tired of holdin' on to nothin'
The years have shown no kindness
For the hard times we've been through
We squeezed the life from every dream
And still go right on bluffin'
With really nothing left to hold on to
Oh why do we keep holding on
With nothing left to hold on to
Let's be honest with each other
That's the least that we can do
I feel guilty when they envy me and you
We're holding on with nothin' left to hold on to
We were young and foolishly mistaken
Victims of a passion
Much too strong to be denied
With only tears to show
For all the years that we've been fakin'
God only knows how long, how hard we've tried
Tag: We're holdin' on with nothing left to hold on to ...
Words and Music by Jerry Chesnut