Shattered Image

Album: All I Can Do (1976)
Play Video


  • Dolly Parton has been the subject of many tabloid rumors over the years. The gossip rags have reported her alleged affairs with Hollywood hunks, claimed she's carried on a lesbian romance with her childhood friend, and insisted her body is covered in hidden tattoos. They've even speculated if her publicity-shy husband, Carl Dean, is actually real.

    Back when she first recorded "Shattered Image" for her 17th solo album, All I Can Do, the singer was hurt by the figurative stone-throwing and was worried the stories would damage her reputation. To address her feelings, she did what she does best: She wrote a song. Here's her favorite verse:

    If you live in a glass house, don't throw stones.
    Don't shatter my image 'til you look at your own.
    Look at your reflection in your house of glass.
    Don't open my closet if your own's full of trash.
    Stay out of my closet if your own's full of trash
  • She shared her opinion of tabloids in her 2020 book, Songteller: "There are a lot of stories about me in the tabloids. I always say that they are based on some thread of truth, but usually it's so frayed by the time they get done with it, you don't hardly even recognize it. I don't mind what they say about me, as much as I do when it hurts other people I know. I hate that. I can handle it, myself. But I hate it when they drag other people into it. I love the tabloids. I read them all. They're fun to read. I believe everything they write about everybody. Except me!"
  • This was released as a single in the UK but it didn't chart.
  • Dolly re-recorded this for her 2002 album, Halos & Horns. She told CDNow why she decided to revisit the tune: "It wasn't just for me, but it's the way other people feel. I thought it was a very commercial idea. But it's not just about stars and the tabloids, it's about your next-door neighbor. It's like everybody's always throwing rocks at you, living in their own glass houses."


Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

Chris Frantz of Talking Heads

Chris Frantz of Talking HeadsSongwriter Interviews

Talking Heads drummer Chris Frantz on where the term "new wave" originated, the story of "Naive Melody," and why they never recorded another cover song after "Take Me To The River."

Fire On The Stage

Fire On The StageSong Writing

When you have a song called "Fire," it's tempting to set one - these guys did.

Who's Johnny, And Why Does He Show Up In So Many Songs

Who's Johnny, And Why Does He Show Up In So Many SongsSong Writing

For songwriters, Johnny represents the American man. He has been angry, cool, magic, a rebel and, of course, marching home.

Tommy James

Tommy JamesSongwriter Interviews

"Mony Mony," "Crimson and Clover," "Draggin' The Line"... the hits kept coming for Tommy James, and in a plot line fit for a movie, his record company was controlled by the mafia.

John Doe of X

John Doe of XSongwriter Interviews

With his X-wife Exene, John fronts the band X and writes their songs.

Ralph Casale  - Session Pro

Ralph Casale - Session ProSongwriter Interviews

A top New York studio musician, Ralph played guitar on many '60s hits, including "Lightnin' Strikes," "A Lover's Concerto" and "I Am A Rock."