3 Eternal Dolly Parton Songs that Have Stood the Test of Time

Not only is country star Dolly Parton an indelible person and musical figure but she’s written songs that will forever stand the test of time. With a fluttery voice and a look that is instantly recognizable, Parton is one of the most significant artists of the past 100 years and she remains one of the few people all can agree is a national treasure.

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Here below, we wanted to dive into three songs from Parton that are eternal. Three songs that people will be listening to for as long as music is on the airwaves or consumable via recording. Yes, these are three eternal songs from Dolly Parton.

[RELATED: American Songwriter November Cover Story: Dolly Parton—The Eternal Artist]

“Jolene” from Jolene (1974)

A song about fear that helped turn Dolly Parton into a star. Sometimes you have to admit your own vulnerabilities in order to make yourself stronger. And that is exactly what “Jolene” is about. Released on the 1974 album of the same name, on this track Parton pleads for another woman not to try and take her husband. And she has been talking about the gal ever since, having now come out on top. “Jolene” has since become a crossover hit, too, with acts like The White Stripes, Miley Cyrus, and Lil Nas X offering superb covers. On her song, Parton sings,

Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, Jolene
I’m beggin’ of you, please don’t take my man
Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, Jolene
Please don’t take him just because you can

Your beauty is beyond compare
With flaming locks of auburn hair
With ivory skin and eyes of emerald green
Your smile is like a breath of spring
Your voice is soft like summer rain
And I cannot compete with you, Jolene

“I Will Always Love You” from Jolene (1974)

Written as a professional breakup song when Parton was set to leave the multimedia star Porter Wagoner after he had helped make her a household name, this song later took on another giant life of its own when Whitney Houston covered it for the film The Bodyguard. That rendition became the best-selling single of all time by a female solo artist and the best-selling single of 1992. It also earned Houston multiple Grammy Awards, including for Record of the Year. Amazing, the original version from Parton was also released on the 1974 LP Jolene. And on it, she sings,

If I should stay
I would only be in your way
So I’ll go, but I know
I’ll think of you every step of the way

And I will always love you
I will always love you

“9 to 5” from 9 to 5 and Odd Jobs (1980)

Then anthem for the working gal, this song was released as part of the soundtrack for the film of the same name—a movie Parton also starred in. It also earned Parton an Oscar nomination and multiple Grammy noms and awards. Along with being a generally catchy, fun tune, it has become a lasting track to highlight the monotonous plight of the 9 to 5 worker. On the song, Parton sings,

Tumble out of bed and I stumble to the kitchen
Pour myself a cup of ambition
And yawn and stretch and try to come to life
Jump in the shower and the blood starts pumpin’
Out on the street, the traffic starts jumpin’
With folks like me on the job from 9 to 5

Workin’ 9 to 5, what a way to make a livin’
Barely gettin’ by, it’s all takin’ and no givin’
They just use your mind and they never give you credit
It’s enough to drive you crazy if you let it
9 to 5, for service and devotion
You would think that I would deserve a fair promotion
Want to move ahead but the boss won’t seem to let me
I swear sometimes that man is out to get me

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Photo by Rick Diamond/WireImage

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