Top 10 Songs You Didn't Know Were Written By Dolly Parton

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Top 10 Songs You Didn't Know Were Written By Dolly Parton

VOICE OVER: Emily Brayton WRITTEN BY: Catherine Neal
Who knew these songs were written by Dolly Parton? For this list, we'll be looking at songs written by the Queen of Country but made famous by other artists. Our countdown includes "Fuel to the Flame," "Rainbowland," "Circles of Love," and more!
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Top 10 Songs You Didn'T Know Were Written by Dolly Parton


Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Songs You Didn’t Know Were Written By Dolly Parton.

For this list, we’ll be looking at songs written by the Queen of Country but made famous by other artists. We’re excluding Whitney Houston’s rendition of “I Will Always Love You” because EVERYBODY knows Parton wrote it by this point.

What’s your favorite Dolly Parton song? Let us know in the comments!

#10: “I’m In No Condition” (1967)
Hank Williams Jr.


“I’m In No Condition” was included on Dolly’s 1967 Album, “Hello, I’m Dolly” but has since been revived by Hank Williams Jr. Williams is the son of a country music legend, but has carved out his own place in the industry with his blend of southern rock, country, and blues. Dolly’s song allowed him to explore his vulnerable side. The song’s refrain “I’m in no condition to try to love again” tells of the hurt experienced in the aftermath of a broken relationship. Country music loves a breakup song and Dolly’s lyrics are honest and raw. It’s a bit different from “All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight.” But once you hear Williams’ version, it’s hard to believe it was written for anyone else.

#9: “Fuel to the Flame” (1967)
Skeeter Davis


Dolly Parton’s fame as a singer is part and parcel of her blonde bombshell image, but her initial success came with songwriting. Her first hits were co-written with her uncle, Bill Owens, shortly after she arrived in Nashville. One of these singles was “Fuel to the Flame”, a ballad of burgeoning love, with lyrics full of yearning and unanswered questions. Skeeter Davis released it in 1967 and it charted in the top ten. Davis was one of the first women in country music to gain major success as a solo artist and she was an acknowledged influence on Dolly. “Fuel to the Flame” became her first major hit in two years. The song helped to fuel Davis’s career and also to launch Dolly’s.

#8: “Put It Off Until Tomorrow” (1966)
Bill Phillips


Another song that garnered chart success during Dolly’s early songwriting period was “Put It Off Until Tomorrow.” It was released by country singer Bill Phillips and was to become his biggest hit, peaking at number six on the country charts. Dolly sings backing vocals on the track, although these are uncredited. Parton soon came to the attention of Monument Records, who signed her to their label. She also wrote another song for Phillips. In “The Company You Keep,” a brother warns his sister about staying out late with the wrong crowd. It was released later that year and was another top ten hit.

#7: “Not Enough” (2012)
Queen Latifa & Dolly Parton


While primarily a country artist, Dolly’s songwriting is not limited to that field. She also loves a musical, and over the years, she’s written many songs for film soundtracks. This includes “9 to 5” and “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.” “Joyful Noise” is a movie musical from 2012 starring Dolly, Queen Latifa, and Jeremy Jordan. It received mixed reviews, but was praised for its music. The gospel-infused soundtrack was written by Mervyn Warren, but Dolly contributed three of her own songs. “From Here to the Moon and Back” is classic Dolly. But the opening number “Not Enough” is a rousing gospel chorus. Led by Queen Latifa and Dolly herself, it throws you straight into the world of the movie.

#6: “Rainbowland” (2017)
Miley Cyrus


Miley Cyrus has made quite a journey from Disney Channel child star to the artist we know today. Her godmother, Dolly Parton has been behind her through all of it. They’ve even performed together. On Miley’s new album “Younger Now,” Dolly joined her to co-write the track “Rainbowland.” The name of the song comes from Cyrus’s home studio, which she had painted rainbow colors and where she began building her new album. But the duet itself is a simple song with a message of hope and unity. Dolly describes it as a song for the times right now, saying, “it’s really just about dreaming and hoping that we could all do better.”

#5: “To Daddy” (1977)
Emmylou Harris


Story-songs are an integral part of the country music canon and “To Daddy” shows off some of Dolly Parton’s sharpest lyrics. Written from a child’s perspective, it tells the tale of a wife and mother. Her family takes it for granted that her life as a neglected homemaker is enough for her and she never complains about her lot. But when the kids are old enough, she leaves to find the things she really needs, leaving behind a letter that blindsides her husband. Emmylou Harris released the song as a single in 1977, where it reached number 3 in the Hot Country Billboard Charts. Harris’s gentle performance engages the listener, but Parton’s lyrics are deceptively hard-hitting.

#4: “Circle of Love” (2016)
Jennifer Nettles


“Circle of Love” is the title track for “Dolly Parton’s Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love” - a made-for-TV holiday movie from 2016. The film tells the story of a Christmas during Dolly’s childhood in the Smoky Mountains. Her family goes through some tough times, but ultimately gets through it thanks to their love for each other and a little bit of faith. The titular song was penned by Dolly herself. Singer-songwriter Jennifer Nettles played Dolly’s mother in the movie. She released the song on her solo Christmas album that same year. The track has a waltzing rhythm and simple, heartfelt lyrics relating to the Christmas story.

#3: “Dagger Through the Heart” (2003)
Sinead O’Connor


Although most of the songs on this list were written for the artists, there are some great covers out there too. “Just Because I’m a Woman: Songs of Dolly Parton” is a compilation album and a tribute from fellow artists. It brings together well-known singers, who cover tracks from Dolly’s back catalog. The most out-there arrangement comes from singer-songwriter, Sinéad O'Connor. The Irish musician makes Dolly’s 2002 single, “Dagger Through the Heart” her own. She was drawn to the “anger of the lyric,” but perhaps the video struck a chord with her too. After recording the song, Sinéad was overwhelmed to learn that Dolly was influenced by O’Connor’s memorable video for “Nothing Compares 2 U.”

#2: “The Stranger” (1984)
Kenny Rogers


“The Stranger” features on Kenny Rogers’ 1984 album “What About Me?” Another story song from Dolly, it’s a heart-wrenching tale about an absent parent, this time told from a man’s perspective. The narrator meets the father he never knew, but the stranger is at least ten years too late. The son has no time for the man who abandoned him and left his late mother to live a hard life. Parton and Rogers were longtime singing partners and collaborators. They released their revered Christmas album just a month after “What About Me?” was unveiled. The tone is very different, but Dolly brings her songwriting magic to both.

#1: “There’ll Always Be Music” (1974)
Tina Turner


Although she is sometimes referred to as the Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Tina Turner kicked off her solo career with a country album. “Tina Turns the Country On!” was her first solo outing from then-husband and bandmate, Ike Turner. The new ten-track album featured a who’s-who of country stars on the songwriting staff. Bob Dylan, James Taylor, Kris Kristofferson, Hank Snow, and Dolly Parton all took a turn. Dolly’s contribution was a piano ballad that showed off Turner’s soulful vocals. Although the album didn’t chart, Turner did bag a Grammy nomination for best female R&B vocal performance.
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