4 Songs You Didn’t Know Dolly Parton Wrote For Other Artists

Dolly Parton is not only a beloved music icon, she’s also a revered songwriter who transcends genres. That’s reflected in her illustrious songwriting catalog that ranges from cuts by fellow country icons Kenny Rogers, Merle Haggard, and Waylon Jennings to her goddaughter, pop superstar Miley Cyrus.

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For more than 60 years, Parton has been a force in music, the power of her voice reflected in the songs she writes that touch the hearts of fans worldwide. Check out four songs you didn’t know Parton wrote for other artists.

1. “To Daddy” by Emmylou Harris

Written by Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton’s name is behind a heartbreaking song recorded by a fellow iconic singer-songwriter, Emmylou Harris. In 1977, Harris released “To Daddy” as a single off her album Quarter Moon in a Ten Cent Town. In typical Parton fashion, the song features heartbreaking lyrics about a woman emotionally neglected by her husband and stays strong for her children as long as she can until one morning, the family wakes up to a note left from their mother saying, our kids are old enough / And they don’t need me very much / So I’ve gone in search for love / I need so badly.

[RELATED: Dolly Parton Sings on Bebe Rexha’s Nostalgic Ballad “Seasons”(Listen)]

The song is made even more poignant by Harris’ gentle delivery. Parton originally recorded the song with the intent of putting it on her 1976 album, All I Can Do, but it didn’t end up making the cut. It was featured on her 1995 compilation album, The Essential Dolly Parton One.

2. “Waltz Me to Heaven” by Waylon Jennings

Written by Dolly Parton

Waylon Jennings is among Dolly Parton’s contemporaries who has recorded one of her songs. Jennings released “Waltz Me to Heaven” as the second single off Waylon’s Greatest Hits, Vol. 2, letting his rugged voice take the lead on romantic lyrics like, Waltz me to heaven tonight / Honky tonk angels in heavenly flight / With the moon as our halo and the stars in our eyes / Won’t you waltz me to heaven tonight. The song reached the Top 10 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart in 1985.

3. “There’ll Always Be Music” by Tina Turner

Written by Dolly Parton

Though she’s known as a rock and roll icon, Tina Turner dipped her toes into the waters of country music in 1974 with her debut solo album, Tina Turns the Country On! This included a cover of Dolly Parton and Porter Wagoner’s duet, “There’ll Always Be Music,” which was written solely by Parton. Turner’s soulful interpretation honors the song’s humble nature while allowing her powerhouse voice to sparkle. The album was nominated for Best R&B Vocal Performance at the 1975 Grammy Awards.

4. “Wino” by Porter Wagoner

Written by Dolly Parton and Porter Wagoner

Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton weren’t just duet partners, they were also songwriting collaborators. The two teamed up to write “Wino” that’s featured on Wagoner’s 1968 album, The Bottom of the Bottle.

[RELATED: Dolly Parton Explains Why Mick Jagger Won’t Be on Her Forthcoming Rock Album ]

The sad song tells the tale of a battered and bruised man who clamors to find happiness at the bottom of any bottle he can find. This jazzy tune is delivered by Wagoner almost like a soliloquy set to music, with such devastating lyrics as, In his eyes a look of sadness / As though he’s just seen the gates of hell / Could it be that he’s loved and lost / Or could it be that he was lost and unloved / Whatever it might be / It’s a pitiful sight to see a man knows only as a wino. The album peaked inside the Top 20 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart.

Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for ACM

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