March 1987: Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris Release TRIO

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Simply put, it's one of the greatest super-groups ever assembled: Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris. The three superstar voices had been friends for years, always promising to someday get together and make a proper album. After a few false starts, the three artists got together with producer George Massenburg to craft a country classic: Trio.

"The women ruled the sessions,” Massenberg said in the book Smart Blonde: Dolly Parton by Stephen Miller. "It was the girls' record. These are three women who have taken great control of their lives and their careers and will not accept the old ideas about their place in music and in the world."

"That was my lucky day because I knew the second we started singing that there was something special there, we all did," Parton gushed in 2016. "And we were all on different labels, different management, different everything at that time, different schedules. But it was just one of those things we thought no matter what, we have got to make a record."

The Trio campaign kicked off  in January 1987 with lead single, "To Know Him Is to Love Him," a Phil Spector composition first recorded by the Teddy Bears in 1958. The track was an immediate hit, soaring to #1 on the Hot Country Singles chart. Second single "Telling Me Lies" almost replicated the feat, peaking at #3 on the same chart. The hit streak continued, with "Those Memories of You" and "Wildflowers" both burning up country radio, and peaking in the top 6 of the Hot Country Singles chart.

Released March 2, 1987, Trio was a huge crossover hit, with the platinum album crashing the mainstream top 10 to peak at #6 on the Billboard 200 for the week of May 2, 1987. On the Country Albums chart, Trio held the #1 spot for five weeks.

Trio was a rousing success over awards season, with the record winning the Grammy Award for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal. It won Album of the Year at the 1987 Academy of Country Music Awards, and was the Vocal Event of the Year at the 1988 Country Music Association Awards.

"I've never been prouder of anything," Parton said. "I love these girls like sisters, but what we did as a Trio, really, I think is going to stand up long after we're gone."