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The Top 15 Dolly Parton Songs, Ranked — Perfect to Listen to During Your ‘9 to 5’

The country queen has penned hundreds of hits: these are some of our favorites!

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The queen of country, Dolly Parton, has solidified her status as a legend over a decades-long career that’s consisted of singing, songwriting (for herself and a whole host of others), acting and constant philanthropic activities. Through it all, though, its those magical Dolly Parton songs for which she’s most beloved.

Parton’s career began in 1959, at the age of 13, with the release of her first song, “Puppy Love,” though she’s been singing almost her entire life. At the age of 6 she performed in her grandfather’s church and quickly picked up the guitar. As she’s noted about music, “It’s all I’ve ever known.”

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The multi-talented musician was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1999, the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2001 and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2022. The artist has won 10 Grammy awards, the first coming in 1978 for Best Female Country Vocal Performance for her album, Here You Come Again.

Over the years, she’s released hundreds of hits, but there are a few that stick out among others. Keep reading to see 15 of our favorite Dolly Parton Songs.

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15. “Coat of Many Colors” (1971): Dolly Parton Songs

This classic Parton song was drawn from her childhood about a patchwork coat that her mother made for her from a box of rags. It was written while touring with Porter Wagoner, who was known for his extravagant coats. She penned the hit on the tour bus, writing the lyrics on the back of one of his dry-cleaning receipts. The song would spawn a children’s book as well as a TV movie, all inspired by the coat her mother made.

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14. “Wildflowers” (1987)

Parton teamed up with Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris for their album, Trio, which featured this song. Their voices harmonize perfectly on the 1987 track and make for a beautiful hit off the album.

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13. “Little Sparrow” (2001): Dolly Parton Songs

The musician credits her Uncle Bill for inspiring this song, which she released in 2001 on her album of the same name. Parton compares the “little sparrow” to her own fragile heart in the lyrics, but the words come to contrast that when she sings, “I am not a little sparrow.”

12. “Dagger Through the Heart” (2002)

The meaning of this one is fairly clear, but that doesn’t make it any less special. The song was covered by Sinéad O’Connor, a version that was beloved by everyone, including Parton. The country sensation sent O’Connor a handwritten note, commending her for this cover version.

11. “Do I Ever Cross Your Mind” (1976): Dolly Parton Songs

Parton often sings “Do I Ever Cross Your Mind” at her shows and it’s always a hit with fans. The artist originally recorded this song in 1976 with Chet Atkins, Parton’s infectious laughter being featured on the original track, blending seamlessly with Atkins’ guitar skills.

10. “Light of a Clear Blue Morning” (1977)

This track was the one that pushed her over the line into superstardom. She refers to the hit as “my song of deliverance,” because she wrote it after leaving her former partner singer’s office. Parton recalled driving home in a rainstorm and when the sky turned blue, she felt that a new Dolly Parton was born.

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9. “Why’d You Come in Here Lookin’ Like That” (1989): Dolly Parton Songs

Written by Bob Carlisle and Randy Thomas, the lyrics and music manage to capture Parton’s personality and sass. This song landed at number one on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart for one week.

8. “Just Because I’m a Woman” (1968)

This song peaked at number 17 on the Hot Country songs list and it’s clear why it was such a hit. Parton uses “Just Because I’m a Woman” to reprimand the double standards put on women and herself. She starts it off by sharing her shortcomings, but quickly pivots when she says, “Then we’ll both know where we stand, my mistakes are no worse than yours, just because I’m a woman.”

7. “Baby I’m Burnin’” (1979): Dolly Parton songs

Yes, Dolly really can do it all. The musician penned this song, which became her first dance tune, and it certainly was a hit. The track landed at number 25 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and stayed on it for 14 weeks.

6. “Old Flames (Can’t Hold a Candle to You)” (1980)

Another song not written by Parton (it was penned by Pebe Sebert and Hugh Moffatt), but nonetheless a hit, rising to number 1 on the Hot Country Songs. It was originally written for Joe Sun by country songwriter Pebe Sebert, the mother of Kesha. Parton released her slowed-down version in 1980.  

5. “9 to 5” (1980): Dolly Parton Songs

Possibly one of her most iconic hits, “9 to 5″ was penned by Parton for her film debut in the movie of the same name and its specialness has lived on. The song was nominated for an Oscar and remains a powerful feminist statement.

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4. “Islands in the Stream” (1983)

Parton teamed up with Kenny Rogers on this hit duet, which is one of her most memorable songs to date. The hit also became one of the most recognizable country duets, as both artists were at their prime when it was released. The duet hit number 1 on both the Hot 100 chart and the Hot Country Songs chart, cementing it as a truly special song.

3. “Here You Come Again” (1977): Dolly Parton songs

At number 3 on the Hot 100 chart is “Here You Come Again,” which was released in 1977. The song, written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Well, truly showcased Parton’s musical talent and made clear to the world that she was a serious artist. The Grammy-winning hit is instantly recognizable as one of her classics.

2. “I Will Always Love You” (1974)

Everyone knows this country ballad, whether it’s the Parton version or the one sung by Whitney Houston. Either way, the song, which was penned by Parton, was a smash hit, becoming a very popular wedding song — despite some sad lyrics like “bittersweet memories.” In 1992, Houston released her own version for her film, The Bodyguard, which brought the song to even greater heights.

1. “Jolene” (1973): Dolly Parton songs

Whether you know much of Dolly Parton’s music or not, the country star is instantly associated with the hit “Jolene.” Released in 1973, “Jolene” was the song that first put her on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and showcased the artist as a more vulnerable and relatable artist. “Jolene” is one of the most-covered songs ever, with over 400 renditions, its most recent being Beyoncé’s version, which was praised by Parton.

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