Dolly Parton soared to the number one spot in 1975 with her healing love song, “The Bargain Store.”
The song is about a woman likening her life to a bargain store. She shares that although she has experienced heartbreak and ill-fated relationships, her love is just as valuable as anyone else’s. Some parts of her life may be “used merchandise” including her broken heart. However, with the right amount of love, she knows her heart can be “good as new.”
During the song, Dolly sings, “Take these old used memories from the past. And these broken dreams and plans that didn’t last. I’ll trade them for a future, I can’t use them anymore. I’ve wasted love but I still have some more.”
The song was released as the first single and title track from her album, The Bargain Store. It became Dolly’s fifth number-one hit song. “The Bargain Store” spent 13 weeks on the Hot Country Songs chart and peaked in the number one spot.
Many radio stations banned the song for its perceived sexual context. They didn’t like the line “You can easily afford the price. Love is all you need to purchase all the merchandise.” However, the controversy surrounding the song couldn’t stop Dolly Parton. The controversy only served to boost the song’s sales and solidify its spot as number on the charts.
Dolly Parton Purposely Chose ‘Unto’ For the Song Lyrics
The first line of “The Bargain Store” is “My life is like unto a bargain store.” During an interview, Mojo Magazine asked Dolly why she chose the word “unto” for the lyrics. Dolly said that she intentionally chose the word.
“I purposely did it. I could have said any number of things. It’s easier to sing ‘My life is like a bargain store.’ I like doing old-timey songs. It’s in that minor key, which sounds old world to me. That lonesome drone. It could be a sitar or something,” said Dolly.
That lonesome, old-world sound is still popular today. Although the song was released in 1975, it’s still widely recognized. In fact, the song was even featured in the hit Netflix series Stranger Things. The song plays in the episode “The Monster,” while Nancy and Jonathan stock up on gear to trap the Demogorgon.
In conclusion, neither time, radio station bans, nor controversy can stop Dolly Parton from releasing hit songs that stand the test of time.