On the same day more than 40 years ago, lightning struck twice for Dolly Parton. She wrote “I Will Always Love You” and “Jolene,” two of her signature songs, on the same afternoon.
“It was a good day,” she deadpanned once during an interview about it.
During the six-part series “Song By Song: Dolly Parton” (8 p.m. Sunday, Ovation), classic Parton numbers are analyzed and dissected by the likes of Kristin Chen-oweth, Brad Paisley, Miley Cyrus and Carrie Underwood — and even Parton herself.
Parton has said her songs connect with audiences because of their sincerity. She has always written from a personal angle.
“The first songs I wrote were gospel songs because it was what I felt and knew,” she said in an interview.
Yet over the years, Parton, the best-selling female artist in country-music history, has composed more than 3,000 songs. Her many honors include eight Grammys.
When she wrote “I Will Always Love You,” a massive hit for Whitney Houston and one of the best-selling songs of all time, she was letting out her emotions over parting ways with her mentor and duet partner, Porter Wagoner.
“I Will Always Love You” is in the spotlight for the premiere episode.
Others include “9 to 5,” “Coat of Many Colors,” “Jolene,” “Travelin’ Thru” and “It’s All Wrong But It’s All Right.”
She continues to record and finds that success softens her too much sometimes. Now her songwriting is done in a self-imposed exile, where she can dig deep within herself.
“When you live like I have the last several years, you forget what it is like to be hungry,” she said in an interview.
“Well, you don’t forget it. You just get accustomed to being in a safe comfort zone.”