On This Day: Dolly Parton’s ‘It’s All Wrong, But It’s Alright’ Sits Atop the Country Music Charts at No. 1 in 1978

by Katie Maloney
(Photo by Richard E. Aaron/Redferns via Getty)

Forty-three years ago country music legend Dolly Parton’s number one hit song about remedying loneliness with a one-night stand sat on top of country music charts.

“It’s all Wrong, But it’s Alright” is about spending a lonely night with someone even if you know it’s never going to work out. Dolly Parton is vulnerable yet determined. She knows she’s just using the one-night stand as a band-aid for her feelings. But she’s committed to doing it anyway. During the song, Dolly sings, “It’s all wrong, but it’s alright. Just close your eyes and hold me tight. Tell me sexy lovin’ lines. It’s all wrong, but it’s alright.”

“It’s all Wrong, But it’s Alright,” was part of a double-sided hit. At the time, it was popular for artists to release one side to country radio and the other to pop radio. The pop hit that Dolly released, “Two Doors Down,” also became a huge hit. Interestingly, the original album version had a different first verse. Dolly recorded the song for this single, then replaced the song with a new version for future printings.

The songs spent 14 weeks on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart and peaked at the number one spot.

Dolly Parton’s “It’s all Wrong, But it’s Alright”

How Did Dolly Parton Feel After Landing Her First Number One Hit Song Ever?

It’s difficult to imagine a time when Dolly Parton wasn’t an international icon. But there was a time when no one in the world had heard a Dolly song yet. In fact, it wasn’t until Dolly released her seventh solo studio album that she landed her very first number one hit song. “Joshua,” the title track from the album is about an adventurous young girl who dares to visit a rural recluse who has a reputation for being mean and hostile. The song spent 15 weeks on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart and peaked in the number one spot. During an interview in 2020, Dolly Parton shared what it was like to land her very first number one song.

“I remember feeling like all our hard work had paid off. And I was going to be able to make a life in this business,” said Parton. “I don’t remember making that much money from [“Joshua”] at that time, but I’m sure I spent it on stage clothes or my family or something like that. And I remember watching it rise up the charts and thinking, ‘Golly, that’s such a great feeling!'”