Why Dolly Parton Never Liked Her Song “I’ll Oilwells Love You”

On the surface, it may sound like a play on “I Will Always Love You,” but years before releasing her 1973 classic, Dolly Parton recorded a song about falling in love with a wealthy oil man. Written by Parton and her uncle and earliest collaborator Bill Owens, “I’ll Oilwells Love You” was released on her second album Just Because I’m a Woman in 1968.

While the title track peaked in the Top 20 at No. 17 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart, “I’ll Oilwells Love You” was never released as a single and was one song Parton remained least proud of throughout her career.

“Yeah, I’ve got some suckers in there,” said Parton of “I’ll Oilwells Love You” while on Late Night with Conan O’Brien in 2003.

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[RELATED: Dolly Parton Reveals the Reason She Never Let Elvis Presley Record “I Will Always Love You”]

She added, “When you’re a songwriter, you think they’re all good. It’s like how everybody thinks their kids are pretty even if they’re not.”

In Love with an Oil Man

Parton’s lyrics follow her meeting a fine oil man from Texas—and his bankroll sure was healthy. The lyrics play with the idea of a stereotypical money-digging woman, the antithesis of the more empowering narratives in Parton’s decades-thick songbook.

I met a man in Texas
And oh, he was so fine
And I said to myself
Self, I’m gonna make him mine
He owned a lot of oil wells and his bankroll sure was healthy
And I knew if I married him I’d suddenly be wealthy
Oh I’ll oil wells love you
I’ll oil wells care
I’ll oil wells need you
I want you oil wells dear

Well I never had no money
Not a penny to my name
And I said I’d find a rich man
And I’d love my way to fame
So he took me in his arms
And I cuddled up real near
The money bug then bit me and I whispered in his ear

[RELATED: 3 Songs You Didn’t Know Dolly Parton Wrote With Her Uncle Bill Owens for Other Artists]

“I Don’t Want to Throw Rice”

During the interview Parton threw another one of her songs under the bus: “I Don’t Want to Throw Rice.” Also co-written with Owens, the song was released on her 1967 debut, Hello, I’m Dolly, and centers around vindictiveness.

The song had some “nasty” lyrics, according to Parton, and references throwing rocks instead of rice and a bride and groom at their wedding. “That’s terrible!” joked O’Brien.

Photo: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

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