Dolly Parton Part One
Parton accepting the Liseberg Applause Award in 2010.
Dolly Rebecca Parton
January 19, 1946( age 73).
Pittman Center, Tennessee, U.S.
Carl Dean (m. 1966).
Associated Acts. Stella Parton, Randy Parton, Rachel Dennison, Porter Wagoner,Kenny Rogers, Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt, Tammy Wynette, Loretta Lynn.
Parton‘s music includes 25 Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)–certified gold, platinum and multi-platinum awards. She has had 25 songs reach No.1 on the Billboard country music charts, a record for a female artist (tied withReba McEntire). She has 41 career top-10 country albums, a record for any artist,and she has 110 career charted singles over the past 40 years. She has garnerednine Grammy Awards, two Academy Awardnominations, ten Country Music AssociationAwards, seven Academy of Country Music Awards, three American Music Awards, and isone of only seven female artists to win the Country Music Association‘sEntertainer of the Year Award. Parton has received 47 Grammy nominations.
In 1999, Parton was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. She has composedover 3,000 songs, including “I Will Always Love You“ (a two-time U.S. countrychart-topper, as well as an international pop hit for Whitney Houston), “Jolene“,“Coat of Many Colors“, and “9 to 5“. She is also one of the few to have received at least one nomination from the Academy Awards, Grammy Awards, Tony Awards, and Emmy Awards. As an actress, she has starred in films such as 9 to 5 (1980) and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1982 ), for which she earned Golden Globe nominations for Best Actress, as well as Rhinestone (1984 ), Steel Magnolias (1989), Straight Talk (1992) and Joyful Noise (2012 ).
Early Life and Career
Dolly Rebecca Parton was born January 19, 1946, in a one-room cabin on the banks of the Little Pigeon River in Pittman Center, Tennessee, a very small community in Sevier County in the Great Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee. She is thefourth of 12 children born to Avie Lee Caroline (née Owens; 1923— 2003) andRobert Lee Parton Sr. (1921— 2000). Mr. Parton (known as “Lee“) worked in themountains of east Tennessee, first as a sharecropper and later tending his ownsmall farm and acreage. He also worked temporary side jobs to make ends meet. He was illiterate. Despite his lack of formal education, Parton has saidthat he was one of the smartest people she has known. Avie Lee was homemakerfor the large family. Her 11 pregnancies (the tenth being twins) in 20 years madeher a mother of 12 by age 35. Often in poor health, she still managed to keephouse and entertain her children with songs and tales of mountain folklore. AvieLee‘s father, Jake Owens, was a Pentecostal preacher, so Parton and her siblingsall attended church regularly. Parton has long credited her father for her business savvy, and her mother‘s family for her musical abilities. While shewas still very young, Dolly Parton‘s family moved to a farm on nearby LocustRidge. Most of her cherished memories of youth happened there, and it is the place a bout which she wrote the song “My Tennessee Mountain Home“ in the 1970s. Parton bought back the Locust Ridge property in the 1980s. Two of her siblings are no longer living; Larry died shortly after birth in 1955, and Floyd died in 2018.
Dolly Parton‘s middle name comes from her maternal great-great-grandmother Rebecca(Dunn) Whitted. She has described her family as “dirt poor.“ Parton‘s father paid the doctor who helped deliver her with a bag of cornmeal. She outlined her family‘s poverty in her early songs “Coat of Many Colors“ and “In the Good Old Days (When Times Were Bad)“. They lived in a rustic, one-room cabin in LocustRidge, just north of the Greenbrier Valley of the Great Smoky Mountains, a predominantly Pentecostal area. Music played an important role in her early life.She was brought up in the Church of God (Cleveland, Tennessee), the church her grandfather, Jake Robert Owens, pastored. Her earliest public performanceswere in the church, beginning at age six. At seven, she started playing a homemadeguitar. When she was eight, her uncle bought her first real guitar.
Parton began performing as a child, singing on local radio and television programs in the East Tennessee area. By ten, she was appearing on The Cas Walker Show on both WIVK Radio and WBIR-TV in Knoxville, Tennessee. At 13, she was recording (the single “Puppy Love“) on a small Louisiana label, Goldband Records, and appeared at the Grand Ole Opry, where she first met Johnny Cash, who encouraged her to follow her own instincts regarding her career.
After graduating from Sevier County High School in 1964, Parton moved to Nashville the next day. Her initial success came as a songwriter, having signedwith Combine Publishing shortly after her arrival; with her frequent songwriting partner, her uncle Bill Owens, she wrote several charting singles during this time, including two top-10 hits: Bill Phillips‘s “Put It Off UntilTomorrow“ (1966) and Skeeter Davis‘s “Fuel to the Flame“ (1967 ). Her songs were recorded by many other artists during this period, including Kitty Wells and HankWilliams Jr. She signed with Monument Records in 1965, at age 19; sheinitially was pitched as a bubblegum pop singer. She released a string of singles,but the only one that charted, “Happy, Happy Birthday Baby“, did not crack theBillboard Hot 100. Although she expressed a desire to record country material,Monument resisted, thinking her unique voice with its strong vibrato was notsuited to the genre.
After her composition “Put It Off Until Tomorrow“, as recorded by Bill Phillips(with Parton, uncredited, on harmony), went to number six on the country chart in1966, the label relented and allowed her to record country. Her first countrysingle, “Dumb Blonde“ (composed by Curly Putman, one of the few songs during thisera that she recorded but did not write), reached number 24 on the country chartin 1967, followed by “Something Fishy“, which went to number 17. The two songs appeared on her first full-length album, Hello, I‘m Dolly.