Parton honored for songwriting hits

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NEW YORK - Country music icon Dolly Parton was honored for her songwriting Thursday at the Songwriters Hall of Fame, where she made jokes about her famous big bust that she quipped would outlast her.

"I can just see two big mountains growing up out of my grave, and people going around on mule rides to look at them," said Parton, who was honored for writing such hits as "I Will Always Love You" and "Coat of Many Colors."

Parton, already a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame, was given the Johnny Mercer Award by the association for her songwriting.

"Throughout my whole career, I've been known for two things," joked the singer, famous for cutting a memorable figure in cleavage-revealing, glittery outfits.

"I'm talking about my music and my lyrics," she said.

On a more serious note, Parton, who is famous for her big voice, big wigs and big smile as well, said she would like to be remembered most for her songwriting.

"It is my favorite thing to do. It is my private time with God. That's when I feel closest to God even when the songs I'm writing are just God-awful," said Parton, who performed her hit "9 to 5" for the occasion, held at a Manhattan hotel.

Her song "I Will Always Love You," originally released in 1974, was a hit remake by Whitney Houston for the 1992 movie "The Bodyguard."

Also at the event and inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame were Jackson Browne, who wrote such hits as "Rock Me on the Water" and "Running on Empty," and Don Black, who wrote the lyrics for "Born Free," which won an Oscar for Best Original Song in 1967, and "To Sir With Love."

Inducted as well were Michael Masser, who wrote "Touch Me in the Morning," Irving Burgie, who wrote "Day-O" and "Island in the Sun" popularized by Harry Belafonte, and the team of Bobby Weinstein and Teddy Randazzo, who wrote "Goin' Out of My Head" and "Hurt So Bad" for Little Anthony & the Imperials.

Songwriter and entertainer John Legend and music publisher and producer Don Kirschner also were honored.

The Songwriters Hall of Fame was founded in 1969 to celebrate and promote songwriting talent.

Previous inductees include Carole King, Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, Billy Joel, Elton John, Bernie Taupin, Brian Wilson, James Taylor, James Brown, Hal David and Burt Bacharach.

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