See Dolly Parton’s Letter To Sinéad O’Connor
via DollyParton1946 / Youtube
In a letter dated June 25, 2003, Dolly Parton sent a typed message to Sinéad O’Connor, expressing her admiration for O’Connor’s rendition of her song “Dagger Through the Heart” released in 2002.
“Well, I have always loved you anyhow, but now I love you more,” wrote Parton who had personally chosen O’Connor to cover the track for a tribute album. “I absolutely love how you sang ‘Dagger Through the Heart.’ Man alive, I feel that through and through.”
“Thank you for being a part of this special project and for giving so generously of yourself and your talent.”
O’Connor’s version of the song had a folk and bluegrass style, which differed from Parton’s original version on her album Halos & Horns from 2002. This cover was included in the tribute album titled Just Because I’m a Woman: Songs of Dolly Parton, alongside covers by other artists like Melissa Etheridge, Shania Twain, Alison Krauss, and Emmylou Harris.
“Dagger Through the Heart” was O’Connor’s first performance when she appeared on Saturday Night Live in 1992. O’Connor tore a picture of Pope John Paul II at the time in protest against the Catholic Church and its alleged cover-up of child sexual abuse. She sang Parton’s song before her acapella performance of Bob Marley’s 1976 song “War.”
Around the time of her cover of “Dagger Through the Heart,” O’Connor explored country music further with covers of Loretta Lynn’s “Success” and Peter Gabriel’s “Don’t Give Up” in collaboration with Willie Nelson.
Following O’Connor’s recent passing on July 26, a photo of the letter from Parton was shared on Twitter as a tribute. Many musicians paid their respects on social media and in live performances by covering O’Connor’s songs, including “Nothing Compares 2 U” by Fall Out Boy, a duet by P!nk and Brandi Carlile, and Michael Stipe revisiting his own cover of O’Connor’s “The Last Day Of Our Acquaintance.”
Another memorial had Michael Stipe revisiting his 1996 rendition of the O’Connor song “The Last Day Of Our Acquaintance,” and Tori Amos performing two of O’Connor’s earlier compositions, “I Am Stretched on Your Grave” and “Three Babies.”
Read the whole letter Parton wrote below.