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When Dolly Parton Would Get Together With This Artist, They’d Write Lyrics That Were ‘Sometimes Awful, Sometimes Vulgar’

Dolly Parton has one former songwriting partner she'd always get into trouble with: 'The lines that we come up with are sometimes awful, sometimes vulgar, sometimes funny. But we always have a good time.'

Dolly Parton is a songwriter first and foremost. It’s what she wants to be remembered for. The Queen of country doesn’t write songs with just anyone, though. If she’s going to partner up with someone to write a song, it has to be a good time. In her 2020 book, Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics, she writes about songwriting with Mac Davis. He helped her during a difficult time in her career, and they always had a great time together.

Dolly Parton speaks at "An Evening With... Dolly" Gold Celebration at Dolly Records
Dolly Parton | Beth Gwinn/FilmMagic

How Dolly Parton met Mac Davis

When Parton met Davis, he had his own NBC TV variety series and hits like “Baby Don’t Get Hooked on Me,” “I Believe in Music,” and “Stop and Smell the Roses.”

“We automatically liked each other, and so we stayed in touch,” Parton wrote in her book. “Anytime he’d come to Nashville, he’d call and we’d get together for supper or something.”

They had a lot in common, Parton and Davis.

“Mac Davis is my buddy,” she wrote. “We write songs together and sometimes sing together, too. I’ll always be grateful to him for helping me to make it in Hollywood. Mac lives in LA, but we’re both in the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. I live in Nashville, but we both have stars in the Hollywood Walk of Fame, too.”

Davis died on September 29, 2020, after Parton wrote her book.

How Mac Davis helped Dolly Parton during a difficult time

Parton knew for a long time that she wanted to leave The Porter Wagoner Show and set off on her own. When she finally got the freedom she’d been craving, she found herself at a crossroads. She didn’t know what to do next.

“[Mac Davis] was in Nashville working on a record when I was leaving Porter,” she wrote. “I was kind of at a low point and in a mix-up of not knowing what all I wanted to do. So I called Mac. He said, ‘Well, come on down here,’ and we ordered room service at his hotel. We talked a lot, and I told him what my plans were.”

During that conversation, Davis offered to put Parton in touch with his manager, Sandy Gallin.

“I don’t know if Sandy would want to manage a country artist, but at least he can kind of guide you,” he told her.

“I started working with Sandy, and that worked out wonderful,” she wrote. “And Mac let us be his opening act on the road for a while. He was very, very helpful to me.”

‘We always have a good time’

Parton and Davis started writing songs together “any time we could.”

“When we write, it’s such a fun time,” wrote Parton. “The lines that we come up with are sometimes awful, sometimes vulgar, sometimes funny. But we always have a good time.”

One of the duo’s most famous songs is “Wait ‘Til I Get You Home.”


Dolly Parton Learned Country Star Merle Haggard Was ‘in Love With [Her]’ From His Wife: ‘I’m Sorry If It Caused Any Problem’

You’re just so darn appealin’
Ooh, you stir up sexy feelin’s
Every man in the room would love to try you on for size

Baby, wait ’til I get you home

‘Wait ‘Til I Get You Home’ by Mac Davis and Dolly Parton, 1989

“I think this song is very clever,” wrote Parton. “It’s based on how your mom or your daddy would say, ‘Young lady, you wait until I get you home.’ But it’s like a love song instead.”