The Song Dolly Parton Says Is Her Version of Frank Sinatra’s ‘My Way’
Dolly Parton has several songs in her extensive repertoire that she identifies greatly with. But there’s one song, in particular, that she feels is her “testimony.” That song is “Try.” Here’s why Parton feels her 2014 song is her version of Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” and what it means to her.
Dolly Parton’s ‘Try’ and the Imagination Library
Parton created the Imagination Library in 1995. Originally, she launched the initiative to benefit the children of her home county in East Tennessee. Since then, the Imagination Library has grown significantly.
“Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is dedicated to inspiring a love of reading by gifting books free of charge to children from birth to age five, through funding shared by Dolly Parton and local community partners in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and Republic of Ireland,” reads the organization’s website.
Whenever Parton attends an Imagination Library event, she plays “Try” on her guitar.
“I wrote this as the theme song for the Imagination Library when we started it twenty-five years ago,” Parton wrote in her 2020 book, Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics.
It’s become a tradition to play “Try” at these events, and now the song is seen as the Imagination Library song.
‘Try,’ through the years
Parton has thousands of songs to choose from to play at her various performances and engagements. But “Try” keeps popping up whenever she has an audience of young people.
“I sang it when I did my commencement speech for the students at the University of Tennessee [in 2009],” she wrote. “It’s good for young people to hear its message that you have to get out there and make it work. Go out and do your thing.”
Currently, Parton is working on a musical of her life story. “Try” will, of course, be featured in the show.
‘Try’ is Dolly Parton’s ‘My Way’
“Now I think of it as being my version of Frank Sinatra’s ‘I Did It My Way’ that sums up who I am,” she wrote. “It’s like my testimony in song. ‘I have chased after rainbows / I’ve captured one or two / I’ve reached for the stars / And soared the sky / I’ve laughed and I have cried / But I have always tried.’ And like the song says, I’ve always been a dreamer, no matter what has happened.”
Parton thinks the song is going to become “[her] song.”
“It has kind of developed a life of its own,” she wrote. “And I hope that it will live on and on.”