And now, finally, it has a home.
The Hall of Fame will share space in a historic Music Row building with students enrolled in a new songwriting major at Belmont University, officials with the hall, the university and the Mike Curb Family Foundation said Thursday.
"I've been a member for many years," said Parton, who attended the announcement. "It's nice to know now we have a home."
"I saw some great songs come to life, not always knowing if we were going to have a meal the next day," she said.
The building on Music Square East was once home to the Quonset Hut where Patsy Cline, Brenda Lee, Marty Robbins and Sonny James recorded; and of Columbia Studio A where Elvis Presley, Jim Reeves, the Everly Brothers, Roy Orbison, Waylon Jennings and Parton cut records.
Columbia and Epic Records also formerly had offices there. Most recently, Sony Music Nashville occupied the two-story brick structure.
Roger Murrah, chairman of the Hall of Fame Foundation, said the hall will honor past songwriters while nurturing the next generation.
It will include resources to learn more about songwriters and the craft of songwriting and will be open to the public.
"Hopefully, I'll get to come and take some songwriting classes myself," cracked Parton, 61, who had pink streaks in her famous blond hair.
Mike Curb, chairman of Curb Records and head of the philanthropic Mike Curb Family Foundation, told Parton: "You exemplify what every songwriter would dream of being."
"I'm never going to retire. I'm a gypsy at heart," Parton said. "I hope I fall dead right there on stage during a song -- hopefully one I've written."