When talking about this ’76 hit, The Door Is Always Open,” songwriter Bob McDill wrote, “The story of class conflict, of a girl leaving her lover for a rich man, is an age-old tale. But the public never tires of it. I think there’s at least one hit every couple of years with a variation of that same theme.”
McDill wrote the first verse and the chorus to the song and his songwriting partner Dickey Lee wrote the second verse. The song was first recorded by Tennessee Pulleybone in 1973. They were a group that would later become Bobby Bare’s backing band and their version was very good. However, independent label JMI want able to promote it properly and the stayed in the lower place of the Billboard Country Chart.
Two years later, Lois Johnson’s had his version but he didn’t go far either.
The great Waylon Jennings also recorded the song for his “Dreaming My Dreams” album in June 1975.
It was that version which producer Jerry Bradley played for Dave Rowland, the male vocalist with Dave & Sugar. As it became a standard practice with the trio, they changed the song a little bit, leading off with the chorus and dropping an instrumental introduction. In record industry jargon, they started the song “cold.”
Dave Rowland felt that the structure of the song, with the superb harmony parts and the “power” chorus, in particular, would work very well with the group’s combination and style. His hunch proved correct when the record became Dave & Sugar’s second RCA single and their first of three #1 hits on July 10, 1976.
The chart proved that the version of Dave and Sugar was the best version, but do you agree? Or the rendition of Waylon Jennings is the best? Let us know your thoughts by leaving a comment below and don’t forget to share the story of “The Door Is Always Open” by Dave and Sugar
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