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Who Sang Donna Summer Co-Write 'Starting Over Again' Better: Dolly Parton or Reba McEntire?

Jack Mitchell/Getty Images and Ed Rode/Getty Images

Disco trendsetter Donna Summer shared songwriting credit with her husband Bruce Sudano for "Starting Over Again," a hit for two country music legends.

According to Songfacts, its lyrics tell the true story of Sudano's parents' breakup.

"I was merely painting a picture of these people who had been married for 30 years, and here they are by the end of the song, two fools starting over again because basically, both of them had gone from their parents' house into this marriage," he said. "So it's 'starting over again, where do you begin when you've never been out on your own.' And, 'All the king's horses and all the king's men could not put them back together again,' I was just merely reflecting my emotion."

Bruce Sudano dines with his wife, Donna Summer.
Donna Summer and husband Bruce Sudano circa 1980 in New York City. (Photo by Robin Platzer/IMAGES/Getty Images)

Dolly Parton first recorded the song for her 1980 album Dolly, Dolly, Dolly. Parton's mighty voice soars throughout Summer and Sudano's piano-based tearjerker about fading love. It's from the same album as "Old Flames Can't Hold a Candle to You," a co-write by Kesha's mom, Pebe Sebert.

Parton's version reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart and cracked the Top 40 of both the Adult Contemporary and the all-genre Hot 100 charts.

Read More: Rooted in Country: Ginger Minj on Dolly Parton's 'Coat of Many Colors'

Sudano included the song on his 1981 album Fugitive Kind. Summer recorded it as a non-album cut and performed it in the '80s on TV's The Donna Summer Show. Yet the song's second life came not from its songwriters but from one of Parton's fellow country queens.

Reba McEntire recorded the song for her 1995 album Starting Over as a tribute to both Summer and Parton. The Oklahoman brought her usual dose of heart while using Parton's recording as her guide. McEntire's cover reached a respectable No. 19 on the Hot Country Songs chart.

"Starting Over Again" Lyrics

Momma moved out
Daddy sold the house
They split up the money
And went on their way
And all the king's horses
And all the king's men
Couldn't put Mommy and Daddy back together again

Starting over again
Where should they begin?
'Cause they've never been out on their own
Starting over again
Where do you begin
When your dreams are all shattered
And the kids are all grown
And the whole world cries?

Got an apartment
She moved in with her sisters
He's scheming big deals with one of his friends
While she sits at home
Just sorting out pieces
Of left over memories
From 30 odd years

Starting over again
Where do you begin
When you've never been out on your own?
Starting over again
Never any end

What will the neighbors say?
They're talking talk, its small town news
Facing 50 years old
Breaking up a happy home
And this far down the road
You find yourself alone
Two fools

Starting over again
Now where do you begin
When you've never been out on your own?
Starting over again
Never any end
When your dreams are all shattered
And the kids are all grown

And all the king's horses
And all the king's men
Could never put Mommy and Daddy back together
Back together again

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Who Sang Donna Summer Co-Write 'Starting Over Again' Better: Dolly Parton or Reba McEntire?