Some of Our Favorites Dolly Parton’s Songs

Dolly Parton, a country music legend and cultural icon, has captivated audiences for over six decades with her extraordinary talent, distinctive voice, and songwriting prowess. With a repertoire that spans numerous genres, her greatest songs have not only topped charts but also become anthems of resilience, love, and storytelling. Here’s a closer look at some of Dolly Parton’s greatest songs, each of which has left an indelible mark on music history.

“Jolene” (1973)

Arguably one of Parton’s most iconic songs, “Jolene” tells the story of a woman pleading with a beautiful rival not to take her man. With its haunting melody and Parton’s evocative vocals, “Jolene” showcases her ability to blend vulnerability with strength. The song’s repetitive, catchy chorus and distinctive guitar riff have made it a timeless classic, covered by numerous artists across various genres.

“I Will Always Love You” (1974)

Initially written as a farewell to her mentor and business partner Porter Wagoner, “I Will Always Love You” is a poignant ballad that highlights Parton’s lyrical genius. The song’s heartfelt emotion and simple yet powerful arrangement made it a hit upon its release. It achieved further acclaim when Whitney Houston’s 1992 cover for “The Bodyguard” soundtrack became a global sensation, introducing Parton’s songwriting to a new generation and solidifying the song’s place in pop culture.

“Coat of Many Colors” (1971)

“Coat of Many Colors” is a deeply personal song that draws from Parton’s impoverished childhood in rural Tennessee. The narrative, about a patchwork coat made by her mother and the lessons of love and self-worth it imparted, resonates with its sincere storytelling and emotional depth. This song exemplifies Parton’s gift for turning her personal experiences into universally relatable themes, touching listeners with its simplicity and heartfelt message.

“9 to 5” (1980)

Parton’s foray into Hollywood led to the creation of “9 to 5,” the theme song for the film of the same name in which she also starred. The song’s upbeat tempo and catchy lyrics captured the frustrations and aspirations of working women, becoming an anthem for the feminist movement of the early 1980s. “9 to 5” not only topped the country charts but also crossed over to mainstream pop, showcasing Parton’s versatility and broad appeal.

“Here You Come Again” (1977)

Marking a significant crossover hit, “Here You Come Again” blended pop and country elements, bringing Parton widespread mainstream success. The song’s polished production and infectious melody helped it reach the top of the country charts and crack the top ten on the Billboard Hot 100. Its success illustrated Parton’s ability to transcend genre boundaries and appeal to a diverse audience.

“Islands in the Stream” (1983)

A duet with Kenny Rogers, “Islands in the Stream” was penned by the Bee Gees and became one of the most beloved duets in country music history. The song’s smooth harmonies and catchy chorus led it to become a major hit, topping both the country and pop charts. The chemistry between Parton and Rogers and the song’s enduring popularity have made it a staple in both artists’ catalogs.

“Two Doors Down” (1978)

“Two Doors Down” is a lively, upbeat track that demonstrates Parton’s flair for storytelling and her ability to infuse fun and humor into her music. The song, which tells the tale of someone finding joy and companionship at a party two doors down, became a hit and highlighted Parton’s knack for crafting relatable, feel-good tunes that resonate with a broad audience.

“Tennessee Mountain Home” (1973)

In “Tennessee Mountain Home,” Parton reminisces about her upbringing in the Smoky Mountains, painting a vivid picture of her childhood with evocative lyrics and a nostalgic melody. The song is a love letter to her roots and has become an anthem for those who cherish the simplicity and beauty of rural life. Its heartfelt nature and vivid imagery have made it a favorite among fans.

“Why’d You Come in Here Lookin’ Like That” (1989)

This playful, upbeat track showcases Parton’s fun side, with its catchy tune and humorous lyrics about a woman’s reaction to a good-looking man entering a bar. The song’s infectious energy and Parton’s charismatic performance made it a number one hit on the country charts, reinforcing her ability to deliver both heartfelt ballads and lively, entertaining songs.

“Travelin’ Thru” (2005)

Written for the film “Transamerica,” “Travelin’ Thru” reflects Parton’s empathy and support for the LGBTQ+ community. The song’s exploration of identity, acceptance, and self-discovery, coupled with its rootsy, Americana sound, earned Parton an Academy Award nomination. It stands as a testament to her ability to address complex themes with grace and compassion.


Dolly Parton’s greatest songs span a wide range of emotions and styles, showcasing her unparalleled versatility as an artist. From heart-wrenching ballads to empowering anthems and playful tunes, each song reflects her unique voice and storytelling prowess. Her ability to connect with listeners on a deeply personal level has cemented her status as a music legend, whose songs will continue to resonate for generations to come.


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