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YMMV / Dolly Parton

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  • Archive Panic: Released her first single in 1959, her first album in 1967, and is still going. All told she's recorded over 50 albums. And there are literally hundreds of career compilations to choose from as well.
  • Awesome Music: "Coat of Many Colors" from Coat of Many Colors is often considered one of the most sincere, heartfelt country songs of all time. This also explains why it was added to the National Recording Registry.
  • Covered Up:
    • Even though Parton released it three times, many people still believe that "I Will Always Love You" is a Whitney Houston song. Among them, Dolly herself. She will happily admit if she's "lost" a song, and she says that while she might have written it (and had a hit with it herself), it's now Whitney's song.
    • "Old Flames Can't Hold a Candle to You" note  was first released by Joe Sun.
    • And a few country fans think she wrote "Shine"...
    • "Two Doors Down" is an unusual case. It was originally a cut on the Here You Come Again album, then a cover version by fellow RCA Records artist Zella Lehr became a Top 10 hit on the country charts. Recognizing that the song had hit potential but not wanting to undercut Lehr's success, Parton re-recorded the song and aimed it at the pop market, where it became a Top 20 hit. But Parton's re-recorded pop version still got a huge amount of country radio airplay and Lehr's version was quickly forgotten.
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    • "To Daddy," a Tear Jerker song about a woman who leaves her emotionally cold and neglectful husband, was written and originally recorded by Parton in 1976. Emmylou Harris recorded her own version in 1977 – with Parton and Linda Ronstadt on backing vocals – and made it a top-5 country smash in early 1978.
    • "Here You Come Again" was written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil for Brenda Lee, who turned it down. B.J. Thomas was the first one to record it.
    • She wrote and recorded "Kentucky Gambler" for her Bargain Store album in 1975. A year later Merle Haggard topped the country charts with it.
    • "Starting Over Again" was written by Donna Summer and her husband Bruce Sudano, about the divorce of Sudano's parents. Parton saw Summer perform it on TV, before Summer had a chance to record it, and asked permission to do the song herself in 1980. Summer still sang the song in live shows, but never recorded it, feeling she couldn't top Parton's version. Then in 1995 Reba McEntire did her own version that Covered Up the song from Parton for younger listeners.
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  • Irony: When she signed her first national recording contract with Monument Records in 1965, Dolly was seeking a career in country music but – because of her vocal qualities – pushed as a bubblegum pop singer catering to a teen audience. Indeed, many of her early songs released nationally - "Happy, Happy Birthday Baby," "Busy Signal," "Don't Drop Out" and others – indeed had a pop sound catering to teenagers. However, she was unhappy and uncomfortable as a pop singer at this point in her career; she really wanted to record country music. She finally got her wish in late 1966, several months after one of her compositions – "Put It Off Until Tomorrow" – gained strong critical acclaim as done by both her (as a solo recording) and especially by Bill Phillips (on which she provided backing vocals). Fast forward to 1973, when – now a big country star, and Porter Wagoner's right-hand performer on his TV show – she wanted to branch out to pop audiences. Porter reluctantly granted her wish (her last show with Porter aired in the spring of 1974), and after hosting her own TV series, signaled she was finally ready and comfortable as a mainstream pop singer with her landmark 1977 recording "Light Of a Clear Blue Morning." And then she blasted through with her first major pop hit, "Here You Come Again," which – in addition to a month-long run at No. 1 on the country chart – was a No. 3 pop hit, and set the stage for two No. 1 hits: "9 to 5" in 1981, and "Islands In the Stream" in 1983 (the latter a duet with Kenny Rogers), that along with a high-profile acting career. She never went away as a country singer, but what began as a career she didn't want (someone who recorded pop music) ended up with a career she wanted in the end (someone who recorded pop music ... but was primarily a country singer at heart).
  • Les Yay: The entirety of the song Jolene is supposedly about a woman who doesn't want Jolene to seduce her boyfriend. But the entire song is about how pretty, beautiful and amazing Jolene is.
  • She Really Can Act: A big part of her success comes from looking people expecting her to be a Dumb Blonde only to realize she's actually highly intelligent and a very talented singer and actor.
  • Memetic Badass: Jolene has become a symbol to some as "one bad bitch" because another woman is literally begging her not to steal her man. Dolly Parton herself found this funny on Twitter.
  • Signature Song: "9 to 5" is arguably her most well-known song.
    • "Jolene" is quickly gaining ground, if this well known meme is anything to go by.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song:
    • The first few bars of the guitar intro of "We Used To" are identical to the opening of "Stairway To Heaven". She later did a full Cover Version of "Stairway".
    • "Baby I'm Burnin' " is a couple-times-removed musical cousin of Elvis Presley's "Burning Love".
  • Tear Jerker: "Me and Little Andy", "I Will Forever Hate Roses", "Down From Dover", "Starting Over Again" and "Hard Candy Christmas", to name a few.


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