Dolly Parton, often hailed as the ‘Queen of Country Music,’ boasts an illustrious career spanning over five decades. With a plethora of hits and record sales exceeding 100 million, she’s nothing short of an icon in the music world. From her humble beginnings in the Appalachian hills to her stature as a global entertainer, Dolly’s songs are a rich tapestry of emotion, life experience, and sheer joy. But what are the Dolly Parton songs that you absolutely must know? Here’s the top 10!
This track from the 1993 album “Slow Dancing with the Moon” is a delightful country-pop blend. “Romeo” showcases Dolly’s wit and theatricality. The song features a dialogue among various women fantasizing about a captivating Romeo, and includes notable guest appearances from other country legends like Mary Chapin Carpenter and Pam Tillis.
9. Here You Come Again
Released in 1977, “Here You Come Again” marked a turning point in Dolly’s career, branching out from country into pop. With its catchy tune and endearing lyrics, the song exhibits Dolly’s versatility and her skill in crossing musical genres.
8. Rockin’ Years
In “Rockin’ Years,” Dolly duets with Ricky Van Shelton and the song is featured on the 1991 album “Eagle When She Flies.” It’s an ode to enduring love and commitment, themes that frequently recur in her work. The sweet harmonies and authentic country feel make this a timeless ballad.
7. Coat of Many Colors
This autobiographical number from 1971 delves into Dolly’s childhood in a poor family. It’s a poignant tale of a coat her mother made for her, touching on themes of acceptance and unconditional love. The song holds a special place in the hearts of many fans and is often considered one of her most meaningful compositions.
6. There Was Jesus
In this recent song, a 2019 collaboration with Christian rock artist Zach Williams, Dolly explores her spiritual side. “There Was Jesus” is a powerful song about hope and the constant presence of Jesus during tough times. It won a Grammy for Best Christian Music Performance/Song.
5. 9 to 5
Who isn’t familiar with this song? “9 to 5” is a feminist anthem from the eponymous 1980 film in which Dolly herself starred. With its infectious melody and playful lyrics, this song remains a true classic that is still relevant today.
4. You Are
This love song from 1977 may be lesser-known, but it’s a hidden gem that underscores Dolly’s ability to convey deep emotions through music. The gentle melody and touching lyrics make “You Are” an emotional ballad that strikes a chord in the heart.
3. Islands in the Stream
One of the most iconic duets in country music history, sung with Kenny Rogers, “Islands in the Stream” was released in 1983 and became a blockbuster hit that blurred the lines between country and pop.
2. I Will Always Love You
Originally penned as a farewell song for her mentor and partner Porter Wagoner, “I Will Always Love You” is one of the most iconic love songs ever. Though later famously covered by Whitney Houston, Dolly’s original version possesses a simplicity and sincerity that are timeless.
At the top of the list is, of course, “Jolene.” A song so deeply ingrained in culture that it has inspired countless covers and interpretations. Released in 1973, the song tells the story of a woman fearful that Jolene will steal her man. It is a masterpiece of storytelling and emotion.