Dolly Parton Wrote ‘Just the Way I Am’ in the Late 1960s, and It Perfectly Portrays Who She’s Always Been

Dolly Parton has a sensitive soul. In the late ’60s, the Queen of Country wrote a song describing her “tender heart” called “Just the Way I Am.” All these years later, the “Jolene” singer says the lines still ring true.

Dolly Parton performs on stage in a purple dress.
Dolly Parton | Richard E. Aaron/Redferns

Dolly Parton’s ‘Just the Way I Am’

Parton wrote “Just the Way I Am” in the late 1960s. It came out on her 1969 LP, The Fairest of Them All. The song explains the type of person Parton is — the person she’s always been.

“I was always a ‘different’ kind of kid, a dreamer with her head in the clouds,” Parton wrote in her 2020 book, Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics.

“If you hear me crying in the night, pretend that you don’t hear me, it’s alright. Don’t ask me why I’m crying; please don’t make a sound. I don’t know why, it’s just the way I am,” goes the song. “And if you think I act a little strange, and you don’t understand when I do things like running through the fields while the rain is pouring down. I don’t know why, it’s just the way I am.”

Dolly Parton says the song describes her ‘tender heart’

“This song is like some of my other ‘nature’ songs that I write where I connect myself to the more spiritual element of things, and explain how my personality is,” Parton wrote.

The “Light of a Clear Blue Morning” singer has always been sensitive. She feels things deeply. That’s why her songs are so emotionally resonant.

“I might wake up crying in the night,” she wrote. “Then I might laugh about something else, and I don’t know why. Sometimes I cry for no reason. I don’t know why—it’s just the way I am. It’s like I can get touched by the darndest things out in the middle of nowhere. Something might just move me to tears. So that particular song describes my tender heart and, I think, just my general nature.”

Skeeter Davis’ ‘Skeeter Sings Dolly’

Skeeter Davis was the first singer to put out an entire album of Parton songs. The “Eagle When She Flies” singer says Davis’ rendition of “Just the Way I Am” is one of her favorites on the record.


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“I was just so excited about Skeeter Sings Dolly,” wrote Parton.

The “9 to 5” singer wrote the liner notes for the album and says they’re “as true today as it was then.” Here’s what Parton wrote:

“When Skeeter decided to include me in her world and do an album of just my songs, I was touched beyond words … In doing this album, she has paid me the greatest compliment anyone could ever pay a songwriter. My songs to me are like children. I know this has been said by other songwriters, but it really is true … My songs are part of me, my mind, body and soul. And that’s why this album means so much to me.”