Dolly Parton Shares The Worst Songs In Her Catalog
via TheThings Celebrity / YouTube
While Dolly Parton has undeniably left an enduring impact on the music industry, not every song in her extensive repertoire brings her a sense of pride.
Like any artist throughout history, there are specific tracks in Parton’s musical history that cause her discomfort, yet the country music icon acknowledges that each release played a vital role in the development of her craft.
During a 2003 appearance on Late Night with Conan O’Brien, the host prompted Parton to reflect on the least favorable songs in her career.
This led her to mention two tracks from her initial two records: “I Don’t Want To Throw Rice” from Hello, I’m Dolly, and “I’ll Oilwells Love You” from Just Because I’m a Woman, both of which she shared with the comedian during the interview.
Dolly Parton’s initial struggles
Parton kicked off her career with the release of her debut solo album, Hello, I’m Dolly, in 1967. The LP faced multiple delays from her record label, and despite its presence on the country chart, it fell short of catapulting her to superstardom.
Adding to her disappointment, the subsequent album, Just Because I’m a Woman, charted even lower.
While these initially underperforming albums might have spelled an undesirable conclusion to her career, they, in fact, turned out to be a hidden blessing.
The tracks on these two records didn’t quite meet the later-established standard associated with Parton, but these setbacks provided her with the invaluable opportunity to evolve and grow. Without these early challenges, her journey might not have unfolded as it did.
“Sometimes I write silly stuff just to get my wit going and mind working”
“Oh, you know, you’ve always got, 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. But yeah, there’s songs,” the Queen of Country shared during the Conan O’Brien show.
Pertaining to “I’ll Oilwells Love You”, Dolly added that she had written a song once about a man—specifically, a man who owned a bunch of oil wells—and that she was attempting to marry him.
Reflecting on this song in a 2008 Mojo interview, the music icon clarified that the song had no connection to her later hit “I Will Always Love You”.
She elaborated, saying, “That was not the first version of ‘I Will Always Love You’! I was just playing off the oil wells and Texan men, a spoof. Sometimes I write silly stuff just to get my wit going and mind working. That was a song I probably wrote while I was primed to write something good.”
Songwriting ain’t an easy feat
Although “I’ll Oilwells Love You” and “I Don’t Want To Throw Rice” may not showcase the brilliance of Parton’s songwriting, the space to experiment and encounter failures is indispensable for every artist, a principle she has underscored since their release.
Even established artists like Paul McCartney or Bob Dylan faced initial challenges when venturing into their own music.
Songwriting shares parallels with any other profession; enhancement comes with unwavering dedication and a readiness to invest countless hours.
While it might appear that some are blessed with an innate talent for crafting songs, very few have built enduring careers without harboring an almost obsessive determination to dedicate their lives to refining their skills.