I had sweaty palms of excitement talking to Dolly Parton in advance of her Verizon Theatre show tonight, even though the interview was just 10 minutes long. Picking up the phone and hearing that unmistakable voice say my name was surreal. And when she laughed and said "That's a good question!" I could have died right then and there and my life would have been complete.
She wasn't my first celebrity, but she's an icon, a superstar, and a personal hero. She's also a kickass feminist in rhinestones. She's had to be to keep on keeping on in the music industry.
I asked her about songs she's written that never became hits.
"Well, there are many songs that I like that I really would love to have you think are really good," she said. "One of my favorite songs that I ever wrote is a song called 'Down from Dover.' It never was a single, it was just on an album, but it's a song that I love. "
Hit the jump to hear this, and several other Dolly Parton songs she herself holds dear.
She wrote the song when she was about 18 but her record company would not let her release it as a single because it was "...too controversial," she explains in the video clip below. "It was just a story about a girl having a baby. Nothing really unnatural about that, do you think? She thought somebody loved her, he left her in trouble, went away, never came back."
Added bonus: Take a listen to Marianne Faithfull's 2008 version of the song.
Another song Dolly holds dear is "Gypsy, Joe and Me," a ballad about a drifter woman contemplating suicide when she loses her family--a man and little dog.
My personal favorite not-famous Dolly song is "Wildflowers," which she recorded with Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris on the 1990 album Trio, which I consider among the greatest country albums ever.
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Dolly gave up a lot to become who she is today, as she sings on her latest album in the song "The Sacrifice."
Grindstone and rhinestones, that made up my life
But I've shined like a diamond through sacrifice
Yes, you have Dolly.