If you’re a fan of country music, chances are you’ve heard of the legendary Dolly Parton. Her songs have been around for over 50 years and are still beloved today. She’s been able to adapt to the changing trends of country music while staying true to what makes her so special.
One of the coolest things about Dolly is that she wrote most of her biggest hits herself. Talk about talent! And even when she didn’t write the song, she always found a way to make it her own.
So, without further ado, here’s a list of the top 10 Dolly Parton songs that you need to add to your playlist ASAP. From her early days to her more recent releases, this list has got it all. Happy listening!
10. “But You Know I Love You”
Originally recorded by Mike Settle from Kenny Rogers’ band, the song was later covered by Bill Anderson and became a country hit in 1969. But it was Dolly’s heart-rending version from her album “9 to 5 and Odd Jobs” that took the song to No. 1 in 1981.
9. “Why’d You Come in Here Looking Like That”
This catchy tune about falling for a handsome stranger was actually written by Bob Carlisle and Randy Thomas, but it was Dolly’s first single from her album “White Limozeen”. The song spent a whopping 13 weeks on the country charts and became her 18th No. 1 hit.
8. “Two Doors Down”
Parton wrote this catchy tune while staying alone in a hotel. She heard laughter and fun coming from another room, and the result was “Two Doors Down.” Although Zella Lehr’s version became a Top 10 country hit before Parton could release her version, Parton re-recorded the song with a pop-disco flair and released it to pop stations, giving her a huge crossover hit.
7. “It’s All Wrong, But It’s All Right”
Released in 1977, this song was part of a double A-side with “Two Doors Down”. Both tracks became hits at the same time, with “Two Doors Down” reaching the Top 20 on the pop charts, while “It’s All Wrong, But It’s All Right” became Dolly’s eighth No. 1 country hit. The song caused a bit of a stir with its frank lyrics about casual sex, but Dolly later admitted she was surprised that country radio embraced it.
6. “Here You Come Again”
“Here You Come Again” was written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, and it was the title track and first single from her 1977 album. The song reached No. 1 on the country charts and No. 3 on Billboard’s Hot 100, giving Parton her first major crossover success. “Here You Come Again” also won Parton a 1979 Grammy for Best Female Country Vocal Performance.
This song was a big hit for Parton early in her career. She was inspired to write it after a red-haired woman at the bank started flirting with her husband. Parton got jealous and wrote the lyrics to “Jolene” as a result. The title of the song came from a little girl named Jolene who asked for Parton’s autograph at a concert. The song reached No. 1 on the country charts and was also a minor hit in pop and adult contemporary.
4. “Islands in the Stream”
This disco-flavored track was written by the Bee Gees for Kenny Rogers’ album, “Eyes That See in the Dark.” However, when Parton joined in, it became one of the biggest crossover hits of her career. “Islands in the Stream” topped the country, pop, and adult contemporary charts in America and many other countries, and the success of the duet led to further collaborations between Rogers and Parton on other songs and TV projects.
3. “9 to 5”
This song was written for the movie of the same name, in which Parton also starred alongside Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin. The song became a hit anthem for working people upon its release, and its unique production, featuring typewriters and other office sounds, helped it reach No. 1 on both the country and pop charts. Parton received an Academy Award nomination for her work on the film and won Grammys for Best Country Song and Best Country Vocal Performance, Female.
2. “Coat of Many Colors”
This song is based on a true story from Parton’s childhood. Her mother sewed her a coat from rags that had been given to the family, and she told Parton the Bible story of Joseph and his coat of many colors as she sewed. When Parton wore the coat to school, she was made fun of by the other kids. Today, the actual coat can be seen in the Chasing Rainbows Museum at Dollywood. Parton has said that this song is her personal favorite of all her songs.
1. “I Will Always Love You”
Let’s talk about one of Dolly Parton’s most iconic songs – “I Will Always Love You”. It’s no surprise that this tune tops the list of the Top 10 Dolly Parton Songs.
“I Will Always Love You” was written by Dolly herself as a goodbye to her mentor, Porter Wagoner, when she decided to pursue her solo career. The song hit No.1 in 1974 and was re-recorded in 1982 for the movie “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas”. But, it wasn’t until 1992 when Whitney Houston covered it for the movie “The Bodyguard” that it became a worldwide sensation and one of the best-selling singles of all time.
Dolly also collaborated with Vince Gill to release a duet version of the song in 1995, which peaked at No.15 and won them the CMA award for Vocal Event of the Year.
“I Will Always Love You” is a timeless classic that continues to captivate generations of music lovers. We’ll always cherish Dolly’s beautiful voice and songwriting skills that gave birth to this masterpiece.