This might just be the only country song ever written about fried clams.
Dolly Parton stopped by the Kelly Clarkson Show a little while back, where they covered a ton of ground about her forthcoming rock album, as well as getting into some of the stories behind her biggest hits.
Kelly asked her if it was true that “Two Doors Down” was written about fried clams, which Dolly confirmed was 100% true, and gave the full rundown of how it all happened.
Dolly added that she’s always struggled with her weight and how much if fluctuates, because she loves to eat… and I’ve never related to someone more.
Anywho, at one point in her life when she was much younger, she became depressed over it and got on a nasty liquid diet to try to lose a few pounds:
“It was, I’m like you, I’ve always had a problem with my weight, too. I love to eat, I’ve been up and down, I’ve been every size in the world. And a long time ago, it was getting me depressed, I didn’t like it.
So you try everything to lose weight, and I had got on some kinda crazy old diet, like a liquid protein, you just drink an ounce of something, ground up horse hooves or something. I don’t know, or monkey pee or something, I don’t know what it was.
You’re supposed to drink it like three times a day, and it was so ungodly you just had to close the back of your throat off so you don’t smell.”
And back in the day, when she was constantly touring on the road with her band, Dolly says they would stay at Howard Johnson motor lodge’s often, and they had fried clams at their restaurant that she and her band absolutely loved:
“We used to stay at the Howard Johnson’s motor lodge, the band when we traveled back in the early days.
And they had a restaurant there, and they had these fried clams that we couldn’t wait to stop to go to Howard Johnson’s. Even if we weren’t staying over, we’d stop to eat the fried clams.”
But on one specific tour, she remembers being on that liquid protein diet and having to skip out on the fried clams dinner with them… and she hated it:
“But we were staying over, and I was on that stupid liquid protein diet, and the band was down in the kitchen and I was in the hallway in my room, and I could hear them all laughing and talking… and I was just saying, like:
‘Two doors down they’re laughing and drinking and having a partyAnd two doors down they’re not aware that I’m around But here I am crying my heart out, feeling sorry But they’re having a party, just two doors down'”
Dolly’s a woman after my own heart… that sound like a real nightmare, honestly.
She says it really came down to the fact that they were “two doors down” eating her favorite food and having a grand ole time without her:
“I was just in there feeling sorry for myself ‘cuz they were eating fried clams and I wasn’t.
And it was two doors down, I was staying two doors down from the rest of them. Seriously.”
“Two Doors Down” was penned by Dolly in 1978, and the story in the song is a bit different than the actual inspiration behind it.
The woman in the tune is in the wake of a breakup with her boyfriend, and goes to a party two doors down from her apartment and brings home a new guy.
It was included on Dolly’s 1977 Here You Come Again album, and it peaked at #19 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1978. Pop star Zella Lehr released a version of it in 1977, which became a hit and peaked at #7 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles chart.
Leave it to Mrs. Dolly to write a good old fashioned country music heartbreaker about how badly she wanted to eat fried clams with her band…
You can watch her tell the story here, and you should, because it’s fantastic:
“Two Doors Down”