Dolly Parton is one of the most recognizable musicians in the world, both as a singer and as an actress. She is as decorated as they come and one of the only artists in the world to have been nominated for a Grammy, Tony, Emmy, and Academy Award. She is prolific, with the credit of having an award-winning amusement park named after her.
She has played with everyone from Porter Wagoner, to Kenny Rogers, to Linda Ronstadt, and Emmylou Harris. Lady Gaga showed Parton’s influence on her new record Joanne, showing the world that you can be in showbiz for 50+ years and still be relevant.
Parton recently turned 71 years old, and we thought it befitting to celebrate her birthday with 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know about the one and only Dolly Parton.
1. Parton is One of the Most Honored Artists of All Time
Dolly Parton is so much more than makeup and a blonde hair. The singer, and actress, has serious talent and is the most decorated female country performer of all time. She currently has 25 RIAA Gold, Platinum, and Multi-Platinum records. She has had 25 of her songs reach number one on the Billboard country music charts, 41 top 10 country albums, 110 charted singles over the past 40 years, and all that leads to over $100 million in sales of singles, albums, hits collection, and digital downloads over her illustrious career.
Along with all that, she has been honored with eight Grammy Awards out of 46 nominations, two Oscar nominations, ten Country Music Association Awards, seven Academy of Country Music Awards, and has won the Country Music Association’s prestigious Entertainer of the Year Award. Parton was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1999 and has written 3,000+ compositions during her career. She is best known for her brilliant songs “Jolene”, “Coat of Many Colors”, and “9 to 5.” She also wrote the Whitney Houston hit “I Will Always Love You.”
2. She Grew Up in a One Room Cabin in Rural Tennessee
Dolly Parton has worked very hard to get where she is. She was born in rural Sevier County, Tennessee as the fourth of twelve children. Her father was a farmer / construction worker while her mom tended to the house and children. She had once said that she was “dirt poor” growing up in Tennessee, with a story of how her father paid the local doctor with a bag of oatmeal upon her birth.
Parton was born into a Pentecostal, church-going family with music playing a huge role as she grew up. Her first performances were in the church playing a homemade guitar. Parton and her family lived in a one-room cabin in the Great Smoky Mountains. She sang about her childhood in the song “In the Good Old Days (When Times Were Bad).”
3. Dollywood is a Theme Park Located in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
Parton had always said that if she made a lot of money that she would want to give back to where she grew up. In 1986, Parton bought an interest in the Silver Dollar City amusement park and, as part of the deal, the park reopened the following season as “Dollywood.” The theme park is huge, sits on 295 acres and offers the theme park, water park Dollywood’s Splash Country, Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort, and Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede Dinner Attraction.
In 2010. The park won the prestigious “Liseberg Applause Award” an international award given to the amusement park whose “management, operations and creative accomplishments have inspired industry with their foresight, originality, and sound business development. The park is organized into ten themed areas that explore life in the Smoky Mountains and Dolly Parton’s life and imagination. Craftsman’s Valley, and The Country Fair among others are part of the themed areas.
The park hosts festivals, has award-winning roller coasters and is one of the biggest attractions in the area surrounding the Smoky Mountains.
4. Dolly Parton Starred in her Own Syndicated 70’s TV Show Called Dolly!
It has seemed that in the Mid-70’s the celebrity themed variety show was all the rage with Johnny Cash, and Sonny and Cher stealing the buzz, but Dolly Parton had a short-lived variety show as well. The aptly named Dolly! ran in syndication from 1976 – 1977. The show had a modest budget of $85,000 and had the honor of being the most expensive show produced out of Nashville to that point in time.
The show had high ratings, but only lasted one season when Parton asked out of her contract for being uncomfortable with the television medium.
The show opened with the Parton hit “Love Is Like A butterfly, and closed with “I Will Always Love You”, both songs hit number one on the charts in 1974. The show was also the first time the “Trio” of Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, and Linda Ronstadt performed.
Parton also had another variety show on ABC called Dolly in 1987 and 1988 that lasted 22 episodes.
5. Parton recorded two critically acclaimed records with Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt
Parton’s career had stalled a bit in the Mid-80’s, until she teamed up with Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt to record the album Trio in 1987. The album spent five weeks at Number 1 on the Billboard Country Albums charts as well as the Top 10 on the Billboard Top-200 Albums Chart. The record sold over a million copies with the trio scoring four Top 10 country hits. The album was nominated for a Grammy Award in the “Album of the Year” category, and won the Grammy for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group.
The Parton, Harris, and Ronstadt collaboration bore one more record titled Trio II in 1999. The Trio II album was actually recorded in 1994, with cover of songs penned by Linda Ronstadt, and a cover of Neil Young’s After the Gold Rush. It rose to number 4 on the U.S. Billboard Country Charts and won the group another Grammy Award.