Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton

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About Dolly Parton

A powerful singer-songwriter and electric performer, Dolly Parton is one of country music’s most beloved figures. Born to an impoverished family in Tennessee in 1946 (in humble upbringings that would inspire such songs as “Coat of Many Colors”), she started singing in church, received a guitar at age eight, and performed on regional radio programs as a kid. She moved to Nashville the day after her high school graduation in 1964 and quickly signed with Monument Records. Her first charting single, 1966’s “Dumb Blonde,” introduced her as a fun-loving but independent woman confident enough to flout stereotypes and command her own destiny. In the late ’60s, Parton enjoyed huge success as a regular on Porter Wagoner’s weekly TV show and through a long string of collaborative hits. But she became even more popular as a solo artist, particularly with a pair of 1974 hits: the aching “I Will Always Love You”—which Parton wrote about needing to strike out on her own without Wagoner—and the timeless “Jolene,” with its poignant minor-key mode and emotional intensity. In 1981, Parton landed her first pop No. 1 hit, the blue-collar anthem “9 to 5,” and co-starred in the comedy film of the same name. She then had the biggest smash of her career in 1983 with “Islands In the Stream,” an easygoing romantic duet with Kenny Rogers. Further collaborations—like her albums with Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris, plus cameos on songs by Kesha and Miley Cyrus (her goddaughter)—expanded Parton’s legacy through the end of the 20th century and well into the 21st. Over time, she became involved in endeavors like her namesake Dollywood theme park, a 9 to 5 Broadway musical, and the literacy-focused Imagination Library. But Parton’s latter-day work—including a series of stripped-down bluegrass albums and her A-list-studded 2023 album, Rockstar, a rock ’n’ roll album released upon her Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction—shows that her musical gifts contain multitudes.

Pittman Center, TN, United States
January 19, 1946
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