Country Throwback: Dolly Parton Belts Unreleased Song at Tammy Wynette’s Funeral in 1998

by Emily Morgan

In 1998 Dolly Parton debuted a never-before-heard song to the public when she paid tribute to her colleague and friend, Tammy Wynette. 

Following Wynette’s passing, the country music community celebrated the female country legend for her achievements throughout her career. During the memorial, Wynette’s longtime friend and fellow country legend, Dolly Parton, shared memories and music as a way to pay tribute to the star. 

“We always had the worst hair,” Parton disclosed during her memorial speech. “‘But Tammy,’ I’d say, ‘I think that’s why God gave us talent, ’cause he screwed up our hair so bad.'”

In preparation for the memorial, Parton said that she had recently been going through some songs at home and discovered a part of a song that she had written with Wynette but explained they’d never released it to the public. On stage that day, Parton used the emotional moment to share the song with the audience.

With the Ryman Auditorium’s hallowed backdrop, a pitch pipe, and a few lines from the song, Parton and her band sang “Didn’t Hear the Thunder,” which the two both crafted together. 

The song’s title is a theme that appears throughout the chorus, which is the only part Parton sang of this collaboration. In proper Dolly Parton form, the performance was impressive as always. 

Parton’s beautiful a cappella singing echoed throughout the sacred auditorium, which created a moment attendees would never forget.

After finishing the chorus, Parton explained that she hoped to finish the tear-jerking song in Tammy’s honor soon. 

Dolly Parton & Tammy Wynette Share Duet in 1988

In 1988 during a segment on Parton’s TV show, Dolly!, Parton and Wynette reunited for a medley of songs sung by Wynette.

Before the country queens began singing, Parton told Wynette that the audience was delighted to see her on the show. Before she was a guest, Wynette was one of the most requested guests by the audience to appear on the show. That year viewers would get their wish.

During the show, the two Honky Tonk Angels sang some of Wynette’s number one songs, which included a medley of Wynette’s hits such as “Stand By Your Man,” “Apartment No. 9,” “D-I-V-O-R-C-E,” “I Don’t Wanna Play House,” and “Your Good Girl’s Gonna Go Bad.”