The Story Behind The Song: “Heartbreaker” – Dolly Parton

Apparently, her fun approach to fashion didn’t sit well with everyone. In 1978, Dolly was at the top of Blackwell’s annual list of the “Worst-dressed Celebrities.” Likewise, that year’s “Hearbreaker” album brought a poor reaction from music critics, although it became her third gold album within a month of release.

The title track – and the album’s first single – was co-written by David Wolfert, a friend of Dolly’s producer at the time, Gary Klein. The two men had worked together in small bands in New York City during the 1960s. As the ‘70s approached, Klein left New York and moved to California. Several years later, he bumped into his old friend at a Los Angeles recording studio. At the time, Wolfert was playing guitar and traveling in Janis Ian’s band.

Klein was surprised to see him and mentioned to David that he was preparing to record Dolly on a new album. Wolfert signed onto the project and ended up not only playing guitar and arranging much of the material – he co-wrote the first single as well.

Extremely melodic, “Heartbreaker” debuted at #38 on August 19, 1978. It ascended to number one in only its seventh week (on September 30th) and when it remained there for three weeks, the song surpassed all of Dolly’s records – except for “Here You Come Again” – in its longevity at the top. 

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