TikTok recently rediscovered a fascinating tidbit about country music icon Dolly Parton. The longstanding legend alleges that she penned two of her most famous hits, “Jolene” and “I Will Always Love You,” the latter popularized by Whitney Houston, in the same evening.
“Did you know that she wrote both of those songs in the same day?” TikToker, Will Anderson – a.k.a. @willyj1234 – said in a video viral clip on the factoid, one he described as being the “craziest piece of music trivia.”
@willyj1234 There’s no denying: Dolly Parton rules. #music #musicfacts #songwriting ♬ original sound - Will Anderson
Despite the apparent surprise of his followers – “What a day!” commented TikTok user @lceleven – he isn’t wrong. Back in 2019, Parton confirmed this, recalling how, exactly, she managed to write her two most popular songs after finding her stride as a regular on the popular musical variety series The Porter Wagoner Show in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
“I was so excited, and everybody was paying attention to me as a writer, and that inspired me,” she explained during an episode of her WNYC podcast, “Dolly Parton’s America.”
“I wanted to really do more, because I saw that people were paying attention,” noting that at the time, her and her husband of nearly 57 years, Carl Thomas Dean, had recently purchased their first home, which may have offered some songwriting inspiration. “There was a den and a big fireplace. I remember I wrote “Jolene and I Will Always Love You” the same night when we found a tape.”
Though Parton later admitted that she wasn’t entirely sure whether the two hits were actually penned within the same evening, the cassette tapes in which she recorded her sessions hint that they could have been.
“I don't know if it was the same night, but it was on the same cassette that we found. I thought, ‘That must've been a really good night,’” she recalled in what is easily the understatement of the century.
Though the world – and hell, even Parton – may never know the exact moment these two country classics, first came to fruition, one thing is for certain: We will always love Jolene.