Hard Candy Christmas

"Hard Candy Christmas" is a song written by composer-lyricist Carol Hall for the musical The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.

"Hard Candy Christmas"
Single by Dolly Parton
from the album The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas
B-side"Act Like a Fool"
ReleasedOctober 11, 1982
Songwriter(s)Carol Hall
Producer(s)Greg Perry
Dolly Parton singles chronology
"I Will Always Love You"
"Hard Candy Christmas"
"Potential New Boyfriend"

Near the end of the original play, individual girls of the brothel sing lines of the verses as they are preparing to leave; they join together on the refrains. This pattern was adopted for the film version of the musical, except that Dolly Parton (who played Miss Mona) is featured as soloist on the refrains, with the girls accompanying her. A further alteration can be found on the soundtrack album for the film in which Parton alone sings the verses.

Parton's version of the song was released as a single in October 1982, reaching number 8 on the U.S. country singles chart in January 1983.[1] In 1998, the song re-entered the country charts and peaked at number 73 based on unsolicited airplay. Though not expressly a "Christmas song", Parton's recording received some airplay on country stations around the holiday seasons during the 1980s and 1990s; Parton also performed the song on Bob Hope's Christmas Special in 1988. During the late 1990s, when RCA reissued Parton's 1984 holiday album with Kenny Rogers, Once Upon a Christmas, Parton's recording of "Hard Candy Christmas" was added to the track list.

Hard candy encompasses a large array of inexpensive sweet treats like candy canes and lollipops. The phrase "hard candy Christmas" refers to a time when families who did not have much money could only afford to give hard candy or penny candy (bulk confectionery) to their children at Christmas. The hard candy metaphor suggests that life can simultaneously be hard and sweet.

Chart performanceEdit

Dolly PartonEdit

Chart (1982–83) Peak
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[2] 8
Canadian Country Tracks (RPM) 27
Chart (1998) Peak
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[2] 73

Cyndi LauperEdit

Chart (2016) Peak
US Adult Contemporary (Billboard)[3] 27


In 1997, the song was covered by RuPaul on the album Ho, Ho, Ho featuring Michelle Visage and Barbara Mitchell. The song has also been recorded by indie rocker Dan Bryk, and former Sixpence None The Richer vocalist Leigh Nash on their respective 2006 releases Christmas Record and Wishing for This.

The Venture Bros. released a version of the song in 2005 as performed by Henchmen Nos. 21 and 24 and The Monarch.

June Carter Cash performed the song on the 1982 Johnny Cash Christmas special on CBS Television.

In 2001, the song was covered by The Torpedoes on their CD "Hard Rock Candy Christmas"

In 2012, Tracey Thorn recorded a version of the song for her Christmas album Tinsel and Lights.

In 2014, LeAnn Rimes recorded a version of the song for her Christmas EP "One Christmas: Chapter 1".

In 2015, Cyndi Lauper recorded a cover of the song for her 2016 album Detour as a duet with Alison Krauss.

In 2016, Reba McEntire recorded a cover of the song for her 2016 album My Kind of Christmas (Reba McEntire album) My Kind of Christmas.

In 2016, The Nymphs's Inger Lorre, Eric James Contreras, and Marshall O’boy recorded a cover of the song for Amazon's "Acoustic Christmas" album.

In 2020, Liz Callaway included a cover of "Hard Candy Christmas" on her 2020 Christmas album, "Comfort and Joy (An Acoustic Christmas)"


  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book Of Top 40 Country Hits: 1944-2006, Second edition. Record Research. p. 262.
  2. ^ a b "Dolly Parton Chart History (Hot Country Songs)". Billboard.
  3. ^ "Cyndi Lauper Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard.

External linksEdit