The Hit Songs You Didn't Realize Dolly Parton Wrote

Everyone knows Dolly Parton has a powerhouse voice and is one of the greatest singers of her generation. In fact, on Rolling Stone's 2008 list of the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time, Parton snagged spot number 73. That being said, the blonde bombshell singer is an incredibly decorated songwriter, too. 

Parton's been writing songs since she was a child and, in addition to writing many of her own songs, she's also written songs for other famous singers."People know I write songs, but I doubt they know how serious I am about it,” she told the New York Times in 2002. 

”Writing's just as natural to me as getting up and cooking breakfast,” the singer-songwriter revealed in the interview. ”I ain't never far away from a pencil and paper or a tape recorder. I write every day, even when I'm on a plane, in the tub or on the bus. It burns in me."

It's common knowledge that Parton wrote Whitney Houston's incredibly popular 1992 ballad, "I Will Always Love You" — and recorded her own version of the tune in 1974, too– but she's also written some of country music's biggest hits over the years. Let's take a look at some of her biggest songs.

Dolly Parton's biggest songwriting hits

In 2001, Dolly Parton was inducted into the Songwriting Hall of Fame. Over the course of her career, Parton has written more than 700 songs. Among the biggest hits that she penned for herself are "Coat of Many Colors" (1971), "It's All Wrong, But It's All Right" (1977) and "Two Doors Down (1977). "Jolene" (1974), which is arguably one of her biggest songs, went on to be covered by multiple artists including The White Stripes, the Pentatonix and Parton's very own goddaughter, Miley Cyrus

According to The Boot, Parton wrote a duet to sing with musician Willie Nelson called "Everything's Beautiful (In Its Own Way). They recorded it, but it wasn't released until 1982 on the The Winning Hand album, a compilation album by Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, and Brenda Lee.

One piece of trivia: Many people think Parton wrote "Islands in the Stream", her mega hit song with Kenny Rogers. In truth, it was written by the Bee Gees!

For Dolly Parton, writing songs is like 'therapy'

When asked by American Songwriter how important the process of writing songs is to her career, Dolly Parton admitted that it's extremely important, but in the end, it's more of a hobby rather than something she is known for in the industry. "I've always prided myself as a songwriter more than anything else. That's my personal feelings. That's not to say that's what I do best," she said. "That's my way of speaking for myself and speaking for life the way I see it. It's an ability that I have and I've always loved being able to express myself."

"It's therapy. It's fun. It's creative," Parton continued. "I love getting on a big writing binge and staying up a couple days working on song and knowing at the end of those two or three days that I've created something that was never in the world before. It's like a feeling of creating, not that the same stories ain't been told before, but it ain't been told through my point of view. And it's my way of relaxing. Songwriting is a hobby and to me it's therapy. It's a joy. It's a thrill. It's like mind exercises or something."

Dolly Parton's songwriting has landed her multiple awards

Dolly Parton can't help but stay humble when asked about her songwriting skills, but even though she's made a name for herself in the industry as a country singer, she's got more than a couple awards under her belt for her song writing. The star won a Grammy for the track "9 to 5," which she penned for the 1980 movie of the same name, in which she co-starred with Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda. Parton was honored as a BMI ICON for her "unique and indelible influence on generations of music makers" during a special tribute at the 51st annual BMI Country Awards in 2003 (via BMI).

Over the course of her career, Parton has scored with more than 100 charting songs, and at least 24 of them peaked at No. 1 (via American Songwriter). She has taken home at least 37 BMI Country and Pop Awards for her timeless tracks "I Will Always Love You," "9 To 5," "Jolene," "Two Doors Down," "To Daddy," "Here You Come Again," and "Love Is Like A Butterfly."

At the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards, the country icon was nominated for her song "Girl in the Movies," which she wrote with Linda Perry for the Netflix film, Dumplin'. The song was also nominated for Best Original Song at the 76th Golden Globe Awards. Per the Grammy's official website, Parton has been nominated for 49 Grammys and has nine wins. Whew, what a career!