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Concerts Country and Folk

13 Dolly Parton Covers That Prove She's the Queen of Country

May 05, 2016 by Alyssa

Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton has been in the spotlight for nearly five decades, and her career has inspired many of her fellow musicians inside and outside the country music circle. Dozens have paid tribute to Dolly with covers of her greatest hits, especially favorites like “Jolene” and “I Will Always Love You.”

But Parton herself has lent her distinct vocals to plenty of her own cover songs. The Tennessee native has recorded and performed dozens of hits by other famous artists in the last 50-plus years, including everyone from The Beatles to Jackie Wilson to George Jones.

Below is a selection of 13 of the best Dolly Parton live covers, some of which have also appeared on her albums over the years.

The Beatles’ “Help!”

Even in her early years, Dolly Parton was quick to cover other great artists outside the country genre. Her take on The Beatles’ hit “Help!” is the perfect example of how easily Parton can adapt songs to her own style.


Captain and Tennille’s “Love Will Keep Us Together”

Dolly’s cover of “Love Will Keep Us Together” doesn’t stray too far from the rendition made famous by Captain and Tennille, but her vocals really shine on her version, which was recorded on the set of her 1970s TV series. “Dolly!”


John Denver’s “Thank God I’m a Country Boy”

John Denver’s “Thank God I’m a Country Boy” is a classic in the genre, so it was a natural for Dolly to introduce it into her repertoire - with her own little spin. The performance below also comes from an episode of her ‘70s variety show.


Jackie DeShannon’s “Put a Little Love in Your Heart”

At the 1992 CMA Awards, Parton delivered a stirring rendition of Jackie DeShannon’s 1969 pop hit “Put a Little Love in Your Heart.” With backing from the Christ Church Choir, this live cover packs an extra punch.


Neil Diamond’s “Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show”

Part of Parton’s legacy has been her branching out into gospel music, and her cover of Neil Diamond’s “Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show” plays into her own personal history with religion. Listen to this cover to hear her own gospel twist on the folk hit.


Bob Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright”

A cover of “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright” was originally featured on Dolly’s 2014 album “Blue Smoke.” In recent years Parton has included her own live version of the Bob Dylan classic on her concert setlists.


Fine Young Cannibals’ “She Drives Me Crazy”

Not even ‘80s hits can trip up the “Queen of Country.” Watch the video below to see Parton’s live performance of the Fine Young Cannibals’ 1989 No. 1 single “She Drives Me Crazy,” featuring a unique bluegrass-inspired ending.


George Jones’ “He Stopped Loving Her Today”

Over the years Dolly has paid tribute to fellow country greats time and time again, and George Jones is no exception. Accompanied by Keith Urban and Vince Gill, Parton covered his “He Stopped Loving Her Today” during a performance at the Country Music Hall of Fame.


Katrina and the Waves’ “Walking on Sunshine”

Parton’s infectious smile and bright personality are a perfect fit with Katrina and the Waves’ peppy hit “Walking on Sunshine.” This video was taken from her TV special supporting her 1996 covers album, “Treasures.”


Kris Kristofferson’s “Me and Bobby McGee”

Another entry off her cover album “Those Were the Days,” Dolly’s rendition of “Me and Bobby McGee” pays tribute to her longtime friend and collaborator Kris Kristofferson.


Jerry Lee Lewis’ “Great Balls of Fire”

Rockabilly great Jerry Lee Lewis is well-known for his spirited live performances, and Parton’s cover of his enduring single “Great Balls of Fire” lives up to the rock legend’s legacy.


Dusty Springfield’s “Son of a Preacher Man”

Many artists have covered Dusty Springfield’s “Son of a Preacher Man,” but Dolly’s edition has an authentic twang to it. If you look closely, you can even see future bluegrass star Alison Krauss singing backup.


Jackie Wilson’s “(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher”

In this 1978 live clip, Parton puts a country spin on one of Jackie Wilson’s classic R&B hits. It’s another instance where her buoyant personality brings an extra level of joy to the already-happy song.


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Summer 2016
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