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Country Rewind: Joe Sun First Recorded Dolly Parton's 'Old Flames Can't Hold a Candle to You'

Many country music fans associate the song "Old Flames Can't Hold a Candle to You" with Dolly Parton's version: A number one hit in August 1980 and a standout track on the album Dolly, Dolly, Dolly. Others note that pop star Kesha's mom Pebe Sebert and Sebert's husband at the time, country singer Hugh Moffatt, wrote this scenario where the grass got greener in the narrator's love life.

Yet two years before the song entered Parton's catalog, lesser-known singer-songwriter Joe Sun took a shine to Sebert and Moffatt's surefire hit. Sun even named his first album for Ovation Records Old Flames to draw attention to what became his breakthrough song.

Although "High and Dry," "Blue Ribbon Blues" and a cover of Crystal Gayle hit "Ready For the Times to Get Better" establish the late, great Sun's talents as effectively, none of those singles approached the Billboard top 15 success of his version of "Old Flames Can't Hold a Candle to You."

Read More:  The 15 Best Dolly Parton Songs, Ranked

Beyond Sun and Parton, the song got covered over the years by Foster and Allen, Merle Haggard and even Kesha herself.

"Old Flames Can't Hold a Candle to You" Lyrics

Downtown tonight, I saw an old friend, someone who
I use to take comfort from long before I met you
I caught a spark from his eyes of forgotten desire
With a word, or a touch, I could have rekindled that fire
Old flames can't hold a candle to you

No one can light up the night like you do
Flickering embers of love
I've known one or two
But old flames can't hold a candle to you

Sometimes at night, I think of old lovers I've known
I remember how holding them helped me not feel so alone
Then I feel you beside me and even their memories are gone
Like stars in the night lost in the sweet light of dawn

Old flames can't hold a candle to you
No one can light up the night like you do
Flickering embers of love
I've known one or two

But old flames can't hold a candle to you
Old flames can't hold a candle to you

Now Watch: Revisit Dolly Parton's Movie Roles

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Country Rewind: Joe Sun First Recorded Dolly Parton's 'Old Flames Can't Hold a Candle to You'