Dolly Parton on the Album Cover She Thinks Was a Mistake: ‘It’s an Awful Picture’

Dolly Parton has had a long and successful career. But that doesn’t mean the Queen of Country hasn’t made some mistakes along the way. In her 2020 book, Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics, Parton writes about a mistake she and her team made in 1973 with her 12th solo album.

Dolly Parton during "9 to 5" 25th Anniversary Special Edition DVD Launch Party
Dolly Parton | Chris Polk/FilmMagic

Dolly Parton’s ‘Bubbling Over’

Parton released her 12th solo album in 1973. It was named after one of its songs, “Bubbling Over.”

“Produced by Bob Ferguson, and an uncredited Porter Wagoner, the album contains the re-recording of the hit ‘Traveling Man’ from the 1971 ‘Coat of Many Colors’ album,” reads Parton’s website. “Dolly wrote six of the album’s 10 songs.”

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While Parton is happy with the contents of the album, she says she and her team were never able to get the cover art just right.

“For the album cover, we tried to use the fountain at the old Country Music Hall of Fame,” she wrote in her 2020 book. “It’s an awful picture of me. We kept working and working on that picture, trying to make it look right. We needed that fountain, and we kept trying to superimpose my face on it. It’s just one of those mistakes you make.”

However, despite Parton’s feelings about the picture, Billboard Magazine awarded the cover’s photographer, Les Leverett, with Best Country Album Cover of the Year.

‘Bubbling Over’ the song

“Bubbling Over” was a song on the album, though it was never released as a single.

Bubblin’ over with the joy that only love can bring
Bubblin’ over with the song you taught my heart to sing
And I’m so happy lovin’ you that anyone could see
That I’m bubblin’ over, bubblin’ over, bubblin’ over
‘Cause you love me

‘Bubbling Over’ by Dolly Parton

“This is just a cute, upbeat, happy little song, and people are always saying that about me,” wrote Parton. “But I’m not happy all the time. I don’t deserve to be happy all the time. And I don’t want to be because if I was, I couldn’t write some of the stuff I do. I make a joke out of it. When people say, ‘Oh, you always look so happy,’ I say, ‘Well, that’s the Botox.’ But it is true that if I’m happy, I’m happy all over.”

Dolly Parton is ‘a very sensitive person’

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Parton feels it all, whether it’s joy, sadness, or anger. The Queen of Country gets asked about her happy attitude a lot. In public appearances, especially, she exudes positivity.

“I’m not always happy,” she told Southern Living in 2014. “Nobody is happy all the time. I’m a very sensitive person. I’m a songwriter, so I have to live with my feelings on my sleeve. I have to not harden my heart, because I want to stay open to feel things. So when I hurt, I hurt all over. And when I cry, I cry real hard. And when I’m mad, I’m mad all over. I’m just a person; I like to experience whatever the feeling is and whatever I’m going through. But I have a good attitude. And I was born with a happy heart. I’m always looking for things to be better.”