Parton has been for nearly five decades in the spotlight. Her career has inspired fellow musicians inside and outside the country music circle. Many have paid tribute to Dolly with covers of her greatest hits, specially favorites like “Jolene” and “I’ll Always Love You.”
But Parton herself has brought her different vocals to loads of her own cover songs. The Tennessee native has recorded and performed tons of hits by other renowned artists in the last 50-plus years, including everyone from The Beatles to Jackie Wilson to George Jones.
Below is a selection of the greatest Dolly Parton live covers, some of which have also appeared on her albums through the years of 13.
The Beatles’ “ Help!”
Even in her early years, Dolly Parton was fast to cover other great artists outside the country music genre. Her take on The Beatles’ hit “Help!” is the best example of how readily tunes can be adapted by Parton to her own style.
Captain and Tennille’s “Love Will Keep Us Together”
Dolly’s cover of “Love Will Keep Us Together doesn’t wander too far from the rendition made famous by Captain and Tennille, but her vocals really shine on her variant, 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” a classic in the genre, so it was a natural for Dolly. The performance beneath 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 given a stirring rendition of Jackie DeShannon’s 1969 pop hit “Put a Little Love in Your Heart.” This live cover packs an extra punch, with backing from the Christ Church Choir.
Neil Diamond’s “Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show”
Part of Parton’s heritage 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 faith. 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 initially 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.”
George Jones’ “He Stopped Loving Her Today”
Katrina and the Waves’ “Walking on Sunshine”
Parton’s bright disposition and contagious smile are a perfect fit with Katrina and the Waves’ peppy hit on “Walking on Sunshine.”
Kris Kristofferson’s “Me and Bobby McGee”
Jerry Lee Lewis’ “Great Balls of Fire”
Rockabilly great Jerry Lee Lewis is well known for his energetic live performances, and Parton’s cover of his lasting single “Great Balls of Fire” lives up to the rock legend’s heritage.
Dusty Springfield’s “Son of a Preacher Man”
Many musicians have covered Dusty Springfield’s “Son of a Preacher Man, Dolly’s edition has an authentic twang to it. If you look closely, you may even see future bluegrass star Alison Krauss singing backup.
Jackie Wilson’s “(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher”
Parton puts a country spin on one of Jackie Wilson’s classic R&B hits. It’s another instance where her buoyant character brings an extra degree of delight to the already -joyful song.