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Story Behind the Song: Dolly Parton's 'Love is Like a Butterfly' Put the 'W' in Dollywood

American singer Dolly Parton performs during her Tokyo concert on Monday, July 30, 1979. The popular vocalist, who won the Grammy award this year, sang 20 songs before a crowd of 1,600. (AP Photo/Tsugufumi Matsumoto)

Over the years, butterflies have become as synonymous with Dolly Parton as great songs, rhinestones and free books for kids. Shoot, the "W" in Dollywood's a butterfly!

For fans, this trend began with "Love is Like a Butterfly," the title track from a 1974 album. It became Parton's fourth No. 1 as a songwriter and solo artist (and her third consecutive No. 1, following heavy-hitters "Jolene" and "I Will Always Love You").

The album its from includes a couple of songs penned by Parton's longtime business and duet partner Porter Wagoner ("If I Cross Your Mind," "Highway Headin' South") plus her own folk tales about faith ("Sacred Memories"), hope ("If I Cross Your Mind") and love ("Blackie, Kentucky," You're the One That Taught Me How to Swing," "My Eyes Can Only See You"). It's a great album start to finish, yet only "Love is Like a Butterfly" defined Parton before she crossed over into the mainstream. She even used it as the theme song for her 1976 syndicated music series Dolly!

Even after "Here You Come Again," "9 to 5" and other game-changers, "Love is Like a Butterfly" remained a creative inspiration for Parton's theme park and other business ventures.

"We have to 'Dolly-ize' everything," she told USA Today for a 2016 feature about Dollywood. "Butterflies are my symbol. As a child, I used to get lost chasing them and got my butt whipped for wandering too far off. So we have butterflies everywhere. We have some of my sayings -- 'Dolly-isms' -- in different places. There's a whole layout of my album covers. It's in good taste. There's a fine line between taste and gaudy."

Read More: Dolly Parton Voices Support For Black Lives Matter: 'Do We Think Our Little White Asses are the Only Ones That Matter?'

As a benevolent soul and a country music icon, Parton's always been a people-pleaser (in a selfless, Christian sort of way). Perhaps that's why Parton connects with the butterfly and its own "Coat of Many Colors."

"Butterflies are colourful and bright and gentle," Parton says, as quoted by Highway Queens. "They go about their business and bring others pleasure while doing it, because seeing one flying about makes people happy."

A version by Clare Torry, a vocalist heard on Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon album, was the theme song of the BBC sitcom Butterflies (1978-1983).

"Love is Like a Butterfly" Lyrics

Love is like a butterfly
As soft and gentle as a sigh
The multicolored moods of love are like its satin wings
Love makes your heart feel strange inside
It flutters like soft wings in flight
Love is like a butterfly, a rare and gentle thing

I feel it when you're with me
It happens when you kiss me
That rare and gentle feeling that I feel inside
Your touch is soft and gentle
Your kiss is warm and tender
Whenever I am with you I think of butterflies

Love is like a butterfly
The multicolored moods of love are like its satin wings
Love makes your heart feel strange inside
It flutters like soft wings in flight
Love is like a butterfly, a rare and gentle thing

Your laughter brings me sunshine
Everyday is spring time
And I am only happy when you are by my side
How precious is this love we share
How very precious, sweet and rare
Together we belong like daffodils and butterflies

Love is like a butterfly
As soft and gentle as a sigh
The multicolored moods of love are like its satin wings
Love makes your heart feel strange inside
It flutters like soft wings in flight
Love is like a butterfly, a rare and gentle thing

Love is like a butterfly, a rare and gentle thing

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Story Behind the Song: Dolly Parton's 'Love is Like a Butterfly' Put the 'W' in Dollywood