One person unquestionably deserving of the title 'music icon' is Dolly Parton.
In her 40-year career she’s become one of music’s greatest songwriters (she’s composed over 3,000 songs apparently), conquered Hollywood, opened her own theme park and restaurants and heads up a movie production company. Phew!
But for the world’s most decorated country music artist – including eight Grammys and an induction into the country music hall of fame – her track record on the Official Chart doesn’t read like the stuff of legends - she has just two Top 40 hits and three Top 10 albums to her name. The fact is, the UK has a history of struggling to embrace country music - and it’s because of artists like Dolly that it’s a lot more accepted today. As Dolly once said herself: “The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.”
To celebrate her birthday today, we’re looking back at Dolly’s biggest songs of the digital era, revealing her Top 10 most downloaded tracks in the UK. Let’s take a closer look at the Top 3…
Released in 1973, Jolene didn’t chart in the UK until June 1976, when it became the first of her two Top 10 hits, peaking at Number 7. Telling the story of a bank assistant who was taking too much interest in her husband, she once insisted that “Jolene is really an innocent song all around, but it sounds like a dreadful one”. It’s since been covered by more than 30 singers, but let’s be real, Dolly’s original version is untouchable.
Since downloads were introduced to the Official Chart in 2005, it’s amassed 255,300 downloads – and 6.68 million streams.
2. Islands In The Stream (with Kenny Rogers)
Surprise, surprise – Dolly’s only other UK Top 40 hit features prominently in her biggest downloads. Released in 1983, the song was written by the Bee Gees for Marvin Gaye. Kenny recently gave Dolly a lot of credit for the song’s success, explaining: "I sang it in rehearsals for four days and then said to [Bee Gees'] Barry Gibb, 'I don't even like it any more'. He said he had just run into Dolly Parton and would ask her to sing with me. I love working with Dolly and I give her full credit because that song was one of my career-making ones. It's just a happy song and I still do it live, singing both parts and trying to sound like Dolly.” Don’t we all, Kenny…
To date, Islands In The Stream has racked up 287,200 downloads and 4.83 million streams in the UK.
1. 9 To 5
9 to 5 was written for the film of the same name in which she made her big screen debut alongside Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin. The song won two Grammys in 1982 – for Country Song of the Year and Female Country Vocal of the Year – but unbelievably, has never charted in the Top 40 on the Official Singles Chart, so far peaking at Number 47. It’s enduring popularity over the years on TV, film and when your down the pub with colleagues on a Friday afternoon makes it Dolly's biggest download, totaling 340,800, while it’s also been streamed 8.46 million times.
Check out the rest of Dolly Parton's official Top 10 biggest downloads below. A special mention must go to I Will Always Love You at Number 4. Her original version of the song has never charted in the UK, while Whitney Houston's 1992 cover logged 10 weeks at the top and has sold 1.63 million to date. Yeesh...
|1||9 TO 5||47||1981|
|2||ISLANDS IN THE STREAM||7||1983|
|4||I WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU||N/A||1974|
|5||HERE YOU COME AGAIN||75||1984|
|6||COAT OF MANY COLOURS||N/A||1971|
|7||LOVE IS LIKE A BUTTERFLY||N/A||1974|
|8||TOGETHER YOU AND I||67||2011|
|10||BETTER GET TO LIVIN||N/A||2007|
©2016 Official Charts Company . All rights reserved.
Hit play below to listen to a Spotify playlist of Dolly Parton's Top 10 biggest downloads in the UK:
Article image: Jonathan Hordle/REX/Shutterstock