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Deconstructed cover
Kesha/Kesha (feat. Dolly Parton)
Written by Hugh Moffatt
Pebe Sebert
Produced by Gary Klein (Dolly Dolly Dolly)
Greg Kurstin
Sean Cimino (Deconstructed)
Kesha Sebert
Pebe Sebert (Rainbow)
Length 3:23 (Dolly Parton)
3:37 (Solo)
4:26 (Duet)
Album
Deconstructed logo
Rainbow logo

"Old Flames Can't Hold a Candle to You" is a song originally performed by country singer Joe Sun. It was written by Kesha's mother and Hugh Moffatt (Lagan's father) and covered by Dolly Parton for her 1980 album, Dolly Dolly Dolly, which gave the song mainstream success.

Kesha's versions

Kesha covered the song as the first track on her second extended play, Deconstructed. On the Kesha and the Creepies: Fuck the World Tour, the song was frequently performed live. Kesha covered the song yet again as the twelfth track on her third album, Rainbow, in a duet with Parton. The title is stylized as "Old Flames Can't Hold a Candle to You - Deconstructed Mix" on Deconstructed and as "Old Flames (Can't Hold A Candle To You)" on Rainbow.

'Old Flames (Can't Hold a Candle To You)' is a song my mom wrote for Dolly Parton. It was released in 1980, and it has also been recorded by Johnny Cash, June Carter, Dolly Parton and Merle Haggard. It's a classic country music standard. I've played it at tons of my shows, and I've recorded it before — on my Deconstructed EP. I just love the song — it's in our family, and it has always been a dream to record it with Dolly Parton. It's always been one of those ridiculous thing to say out loud so you don't say it. I felt silly ever saying that out loud, because, I mean — it's Dolly Parton.

I have always looked up to Dolly. I always wanted to get a tattoo: "What would Dolly do?" Because I always think about that whenever I'm in a situation or when I'm in an interview. She's just been such a positive compass for me in my career as a woman. The fact that I actually got to sing "Old Flames" with her on this album is a really, really, really big deal for me — I dream really big but I wasn't sure if this one would ever actually happen. Still, every time I listen to it, it gives me full-body chills and it makes me tear up because she's a f****** legend; she's an icon. I'm just so grateful and humbled. This album is special for so many reasons but this just like tops the whole thing off.

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Lyrics

Downtown tonight, I saw an old friend, someone who
I used to take comfort from long before I met you
I caught a spark in his eyes of forgotten desire
With a word, or a touch, I could've rekindled that fire

But 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
Oh, yeah, ooh

But sometimes at night, I think of old lovers I've known
And I remember how holding them helped me not feel so alone
(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

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

Downtown tonight
I saw an old friend
Someone who I use to take comfort from long before I met you
I saw a spark in his eyes of forgotten desire
With a word, or a touch, I could've rekindled that fire

But 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
Remember 'em holding them helps me not feel so alone
And I feel you beside me
And even their memories are gone like stars in the night
Lost in the sweet light of dawn

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

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