Dolly Parton Says Her Song About Men Who Leave Their Wives for Younger Women Is ‘Nothing but the Truth’

Article Highlights:

  • What ‘Daddy’ is about
  • Dolly Parton says the men who inspired ‘Daddy’ ‘are just chasing their youth’
  • Dolly Parton writes songs for other people
Dolly Parton attends MusiCares Person of the Year honoring Dolly Parton at the Los Angeles Convention Center on February 8, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.
Dolly Parton | Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Dolly Parton‘s song, “Daddy,” came out in 1969. It tells the story of a man who decides to leave his wife for a younger woman. Though the Queen of Country wrote the song over 50 years ago, she says its message still rings true. To this day, the story in the song is a common problem that Parton has seen in her own life time and time again.

What ‘Daddy’ is about

“Daddy” is about a 23-year-old girl who talks to her father about his choice to leave her mother for a younger woman — “Your new love is even younger than me.” She tries to convince him to stay by reminding him what he’d be giving up. “Your new love won’t love you like my mama does. You’ve taken her best years, so don’t leave her now. Please, Daddy, say that you won’t let her down.”

The song came out in 1969, on Parton’s My Blue Ridge Mountain Boy LP. It reached No. 40 on the charts.

Dolly Parton says the men who inspired ‘Daddy’ ‘are just chasing their youth’

Even today, Parton thinks “Daddy” still rings true in its message.

“‘Daddy’ is nothing but the truth,” Parton wrote in her 2020 book, Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics. “When I wrote it, I knew that so many men want to go chasing younger women. My mama used to say, ‘They are just chasing their youth.’ And I think that’s true. They can’t bear the fact that they are getting older.”

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Parton thought writing the song from the daughter’s perspective would be particularly poignant.

“That song related to so many things I’ve seen within my own family and amongst my friends,” she wrote. “I wrote it from a child’s standpoint: ‘After all that Mama’s been to you, how can you do this, just throw her over for a younger girl?’ Addressing it from a child’s point of view works because everybody suffers when there is an affair or a divorce.”

Dolly Parton writes songs for other people

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While the “Light of a Clear Blue Morning” singer has written many biographical songs or songs inspired by her own life, she also writes quite often from the perspective of other people. She puts herself in other people’s shoes to tell their stories.

“There is something of me in everything I write,” she wrote. “I have to know my own emotional self, but I have to write about other people’s feelings, too. A lot of times, people can’t express themselves in the same way that I can. I try to become them. I suffer for them, because I care for them. That’s what I did in that song.”