Listomania: The Best Lesser Known Dolly Parton Songs, Including Her Own Favorites

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Dolly Parton
I had sweaty palms of excitement talking to Dolly Parton in advance of her Verizon Theatre show tonight, even though the interview was just 10 minutes long. Picking up the phone and hearing that unmistakable voice say my name was surreal. And when she laughed and said "That's a good question!" I could have died right then and there and my life would have been complete.

She wasn't my first celebrity, but she's an icon, a superstar, and a personal hero. She's also a kickass feminist in rhinestones. She's had to be to keep on keeping on in the music industry.

I asked her about songs she's written that never became hits.

"Well, there are many songs that I like that I really would love to have you think are really good," she said. "One of my favorite songs that I ever wrote is a song called 'Down from Dover.' It never was a single, it was just on an album, but it's a song that I love. "

Hit the jump to hear this, and several other Dolly Parton songs she herself holds dear.

She wrote the song when she was about 18 but her record company would not let her release it as a single because it was "...too controversial," she explains in the video clip below. "It was just a story about a girl having a baby. Nothing really unnatural about that, do you think? She thought somebody loved her, he left her in trouble, went away, never came back."

Added bonus: Take a listen to Marianne Faithfull's 2008 version of the song.

Another song Dolly holds dear is "Gypsy, Joe and Me," a ballad about a drifter woman contemplating suicide when she loses her family--a man and little dog.

My personal favorite not-famous Dolly song is "Wildflowers," which she recorded with Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris on the 1990 album Trio, which I consider among the greatest country albums ever.

Dolly gave up a lot to become who she is today, as she sings on her latest album in the song "The Sacrifice."

Grindstone and rhinestones, that made up my life
But I've shined like a diamond through sacrifice

Yes, you have Dolly.

Dolly Parton performs at the Verizon Theatre in Grand Prairie tonight.

Location Info


Verizon Theatre at Grand Prairie

1001 Performance Place, Grand Prairie, TX

Category: Music

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she is an amazing talent. she can sing anything and make it good. her song writing is the best. i cant understand why she dont get played on radio for years now. it dont stop her though, she still going strong and loved the world over.

Katy B
Katy B

On Dolly Parton's lesser known songs or songs that should be known, I think that in her albums for the past five decades, there have been many. Contrary to what we might imagine, we don't know her at all and she is taken for granted by the music business; she is a risk taker and has always gone against the trends. Consequently, some songs at different periods were snobbed for being too woman's libber, too sexy etc.  If she is still up with it today, it is because of her hard graft, work and continued risk taking, and despite the music business. It will perhaps, take some covers by upcoming artists to make people realise the gems that should be million sellers in global terms. For instance, Isabelle Boulay, French/canadian, is brining out True Blue (in a duet with Dolly ) in October, from Heartsongs. There are many classics-From Mercury records, songs like 'Love Isn' Free, Touch Your Woman, later songs like The Bargain Store, Just Because I'm a Woman, Love You for Always, There, You Are , What Is It My Love, not to mention her latest album Better Day, already  it is clear that some real gems in there are ignored; etc, etc, I could go on.We know so little of her work and will discover it long after she is gone. She has also done good covers of others, Album Those were the Days, some brilliant Irish songs with Altan. Thanks for your article here, much appreciated.


I saw her concert last night at Verizon Theater and it was amazing! She is the most humble celebrity that exists. She never forgot where she came from or who she is. She is an inspiration.


If you want surreal go find a copy of Dolly's cover of Stairway to Heaven.


oh my gosh, Trio is one of the greatest & most under-appreciated records of all time. thanks for featuring this songwriting legend.

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