Dolly Parton Unveils the Song Deemed Too ‘Vulgar’ for Country Radio Airplay

Published by Cel Manero from Global One Media, Inc.


Dolly Parton, with an extensive collection of successful country radio hits, expresses the belief that three additional songs should be included in that list. In a recent Vulture interview, the seasoned country artist disclosed that three of her songs faced rejection from radio programmers. According to Parton, one of the songs was considered “vulgar,” though she contends that this characterization arose from a misunderstanding of the song’s content. The remaining two tracks, she notes, were rejected for being too progressive during that period.

In “The Bargain Store,” Dolly Parton metaphorically compares her life to a discount shop, portraying a woman who has experienced heartbreak from past relationships. Despite the emotional wear and tear, she suggests that with the right person, she can be rejuvenated.

In the chorus, she sings, “I may have just what you’re looking for / If you don’t mind the fact that all the merchandise is used / But with a little mending, it could be as good as new,” emphasizing the potential for emotional healing.

Parton explains, “I’m saying come inside my heart,” clarifying that she is addressing a broken heart and the possibility of rebuilding it if both parties are willing to make the effort. Despite her admiration for the song’s cleverness and its status as one of her favorites, she reflects on how, at the time, some perceived it as vulgar while she intended a different interpretation. Parton underscores the metaphorical invitation of the “bargain store,” encouraging listeners to understand the deeper meaning.


In “Down from Dover,” Dolly Parton challenged conventions by addressing a topic that was considered taboo at the time – being a single mother. The notion of a resilient woman capable of not only taking care of herself but also her child was not widely embraced during that era.

The song itself deviates from the typical structure, lacking traditional verses or a recurring chorus. Instead, it unfolds as a narrative recounting the tale of a woman abandoned by her lover upon discovering her pregnancy. Despite his assurances of returning, he never descended “from Dover.”

Parton reveals to Vulture, “They wouldn’t play that on the radio,” highlighting the reluctance of broadcasters to air a song addressing such unconventional themes. She contrasts this with the present, noting the shift in societal acceptance as exemplified by contemporary television.

Reflecting on her creative process, Parton expresses her confidence in the strength of these songs, envisioning them as potential hits with broad appeal. She even considered the possibility of these narratives translating into compelling movies, emphasizing the relatable and captivating nature of the stories she crafted.