On This Day: Dolly Parton Releases ‘The Golden Streets of Glory’ in 1971

by Keeli Parkey

Dolly Parton released her first gospel album 50 years ago today (Feb. 15, 2021). Titled “The Golden Streets of Glory,” the album includes original songs by the country music icon, as well as spirituals and other religious songs.

It’s really no surprise that Parton would produce this gospel collection as her sixth studio album. Her Christian faith has always played a role in her life and she has openly talked about it. For example, she shared a little about her faith with NPR during February 2009

“Well, you’ve got to keep your faith, first of all. I pray every day, I always have,” Dolly Parton said. “I always believed that God would provide. But I think people are going to have to just really keep the faith.” 

“The Golden Streets of Glory” as released in 1971 included 10 gospel tracks. The first song on the album was “I Believe.” This song was written in 1953 by Ervin Drake, Irvin Graham, Jimmy Shirl, and Al Stillman. It was first sung by Jana Froman on her television show.

You can watch Dolly Parton perform “I Believe” during the 1970s below.

Dolly Parton Praised for Gospel Album

Other songs on “The Golden Streets of Glory” include “How Great Thou Art,” “Wings of a Dove,” “The Master’s Hand,” and “Lord, Hold My Hand.”

According to Wikipedia, the album was recorded from May 11-13 during 1970 at RCA Studio B in Nashville. It also reportedly received positive reviews after its release. The article cites a Billboard review released on Feb. 27, 1971, as saying: “Sacred music is an essential part of the country field, and with this album Dolly Parton shows her knowledge of this material. Her vocals are full of sincerity …”

“The Golden Streets of Glory” was released on CD in 1993. The name was changed to “Golden Streets of Glory,” according to the article. Also, for this release, the tracks were rearranged. In 1997, it was released again, this time with the name “I Believe.” The 1997 issue uses the track arrangement from 1997. In 2010, it was released again. This time it was called “Letter to Heaven: Songs of Faith and Inspiration.” Seven bonus tracks were added to this release.

Dolly Parton Released Debut Album During February 1967

A few years before she released “The Golden Streets of Glory,” Dolly Parton released her very first album. The appropriately titled, “Hello, I’m Dolly,” was made available on Feb. 13, 1967. Given her legendary career, it’s no surprise that this album was the first of the 51 she has created.

Parton was only 21 years old and very new to the music scene when she released “Hello, I’m Dolly.” Possibly the most important thing about the album is that it brought her to the attention of singer Porter Wagoner. Dolly Parton would go on to appear on “The Porter Wagoner Show” and her career officially began to take off.

In addition, her debut album also included the songs “Dumb Blonde” and “Something Fishy.”