The Song Dolly Parton Wrote Immediately After Learning About 9/11: ‘People Were Freaking Out and Crying’

Dolly Parton can famously write songs anywhere at any time. When inspiration strikes, when she’s feeling strong emotions, music and lyrics come to her. In her book, Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics, the Queen of Country writes about feeling “very inspired” in the midst of the chaos of learning about 9/11.

Dolly Parton performing 'Pure & Simple' at the 7th Annual Gift Of Music in Nashville.
Dolly Parton | Rick Diamond/Getty Images

Where Dolly Parton was on 9/11

“Everybody remembers where they were on 9/11,” wrote Parton. “I was out on a farm near Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, doing a video for a new ride that was going to be opening at Dollywood. We had rented this whole farm, and we had a film crew, mostly from New York. Because we were out on that farm so far out in the country, the cell phones wouldn’t work.”

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The woman who owned the farmhouse was inside watching TV when the Twin Towers were hit.

“She came out screaming, ‘Oh, the Twin Towers!’ Everybody went running into the house to see what was going on,” wrote Parton. “Then they all went crazy, because their families were in New York—their children, their wives. They went running down the road, trying to get somewhere where their phones would work and they could call someone to find out what was going on.”

Dolly Parton started writing ‘Hello God’

Chaos ensued. Initially, no one understood what was happening.

“We were all going crazy, going ‘Oh my God, it’s the end of the world,'” wrote Parton. “And then as we all got to see all that it really was, it was like the bottom had fell out of the world. It was like the world had stopped. It was like the end of time, somehow. It was just a horrifying thing. It was awful. People were freaking out and crying.”

In the midst of all this, Parton started writing “Hello God.”

“I was thinking, ‘Are You out there? Are You listening anymore? Can You hear me? Have we gone against You so much that these things are happening to us, now? I’ve questioned Your existence,'” she wrote. “The song was very inspired. That was my 9/11 song.”

‘Hello God’

“Hello God” came out in 2002. It was featured on the Halos & Horns album. The single reached No. 60 on the charts.

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This old world has gone to pieces
Can we fix it?
Is there time?
Hate and violence just increases
We’re so selfish, cruel, and blind
We fight and kill each other
In Your name defending You
Do You love some more than others?
We’re so lost and confused

“Hello God,” by Dolly Parton