Down from Dover

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Down from Dover is a song written and performed by Dolly Parton, originally released on Dolly's album The Fairest of them All(1970). It was later recorded by many other artists, including Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazlewood and Marianne Faithfull on her 2009 covers album Easy come, easy go.


Down from Dover is a tale of a pregnant teenager who's been rejected by her (former?) lover and family after her pregnancy is revealed. She moves to work with an elderly woman, while still silently hoping for the father to return from a place called Dover. In the end, the girl goes into labour when there's no one else around. The story ends in a sad note, as the baby turns out to be stillborn, with the narrator taking it as a sign that the baby's father won't be returning from Dover.

The song was controversial for the times and Parton has stated in recent interviews that mentor (and uncredited producer) Porter Wagoner told her that she'd never get played on the radio with story songs like that.

Although the song and its parent album weren't a big commercial success, they are still considered as highlights from Dolly's (early) career. All Music Guide says that Down from Dover was "crystallizing Dolly’s eye for detail" and labels it as "the peak of the album".


Dolly Parton re-recorded the song in 2001 for her album Little Sparrow, with one added verse.

She notably performed the song during her 1983 television special, Dolly in London, filmed at London's Dominion Theatre.