Dolly Parton Wrote ‘Two Doors Down’ When She Was ‘Feeling so Sorry For [Herself]’ While Trying a ‘New Diet Out’

“Two Doors Down” is one of Dolly Parton‘s most famous songs. It tells the story of a woman who’s down and feeling sorry for herself when a group of people just a couple of doors over is laughing and drinking and having a party. If they’re having a good time, why can’t the singer? Here’s the story behind Parton’s “Two Doors Down.”

Dolly Parton waves to the camera in a fur coat.
Dolly Parton | The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images

‘Two Doors Down’

Two Doors Down came out in 1978. It was the second single from Parton’s Here You Come Again album. According to the Queen of Country’s 2020 book, Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics, the song “became a No. 12 adult contemporary hit and No. 19 pop-music success. On the country charts, Hee Haw TV regular and former circus unicyclist Zella Lehr took it to No. 7.” It also inspired a 2019 Netflix movie in an anthology series based on Parton’s songs.

I think I’ll dry these useless tears and get myself together
I think I’ll wander down the hall and have a look around
‘Cause I can’t stay inside this lonely room and cry forever
I think I’d really rather join ’em two doors down

Two doors down we’re laughing and drinking and having a party
And two doors down they’re all aware that I’m around
‘Cause here I am no longer crying and feeling sorry
We’re having a party just two doors down

Dolly Parton’s “Two Doors Down”

Dolly Parton’s inspiration for ‘Two Doors Down’

“I had gained a lot of weight,” Parton wrote in her 2020 book. “I have a tendency to do that. At the time, I had tried everything to get the weight off, and there was this new diet out. It was like a liquid protein, and it was just the awfulest tasting stuff. You had to drink it three times a day, and you just gag when you are doing it.”

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

Parton was staying at a Howard Johnson’s hotel at the time.

“It had these great fried clams, which I loved,” she wrote. “The band was down there in the restaurant. I could hear them laughing and talking. I was in my room, because I couldn’t go down there and eat. I remember just feeling so sorry for myself in this lonely-a*s room while they were having a party.”

Instead of feeling sorry for herself, Dolly Parton wrote a song

So Parton did what she does best. She thought, “Well, I can’t eat. I can’t just sit here and feel sorry for myself. Why don’t I just write a song?”

RELATED: Why People Think Dolly Parton Has Had Affairs: ‘I Don’t Admit or Deny Anything’

Though Parton was at a Howard Johnson’s hotel when she wrote the song, she actually penned the lyrics on a notepad she had from another hotel she’d recently stayed at. And on the same paper, she started writing another famous song of hers.

“Because I remember those fried clams so well, I am positive that I wrote ‘Two Doors Down’ at a Howard Johnson’s Motor Inn,” she wrote. “I guess the stationary from a Pennsylvania Holiday Inn was the closest paper I had on hand to write it down. It looks like I started writing ‘It’s All Wrong But It’s All Right’ on those same pages.”