Joshua

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Songfacts®:

  • In her first #1 hit on the Country chart, Dolly Parton's curiosity is piqued by a mysterious mountain man named Joshua, who has a reputation for being mean and vicious. She sets out on a trek to his little shack to find out if the rumors are true, only to discover he's a lonesome recluse with a kind heart. They fall in love and make the little shack their home.

    "I love the story of this song," Dolly wrote in her 2020 book, Songteller. "But I also love its little musical arrangement. The record sounded really good. I based the character on two or three mountain men I knew as a kid, reclusive people who lived alone way back in the mountains. I just kind of built the story around them."
  • This is the title track and sole single from Dolly's seventh studio album. Two months earlier, she also released the gospel album The Golden Streets Of Glory, which earned a Grammy nomination for its title song.
  • This was nominated for Best Female Country Vocal Performance at the 1972 Grammy Awards but lost to "Help Me Make It Through The Night" by Sammi Smith.
  • Dolly - who in reality was far from being an orphan with her two parents, 11 siblings and numerous aunts and uncles - tells Joshua she's spent her life in an orphan's home and can understand his loneliness. She also sang from the perspective of an abandoned child in "Evening Shade," where she teamed with other wayward kids to torch their prison-like juvenile home.
  • The song is also notable for showing off Dolly's yodeling skills.
  • Her next #1 single also featured a name in the title, this time a woman's: "Jolene."

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