Sparkling Facts About Dolly Parton, The Rhinestone Queen of Tennessee

When it comes to celebrities, there are few as instantly recognisable as Dolly Parton. With her huge blonde hair, sequinned jumpsuits and frosted lip gloss, the bubbly country singer has cultivated an image that is known around the world.

Not only that, but whenever stories hit the headlines about Dolly Parton, they almost always focus on her good deeds, her charity work and her kindness. Even more than her music, Parton is known for single-handedly increasing the literacy rate in her home state, helping to fund a vaccine and secretly being involved in getting Buffy the Vampire Slayer on to our TV screens (it’s true!).

Today we’re journeying through the life of this incredible country music star!


1. Famous Family

If you’ve ever seen the Disney show Hannah Montana, you’ll know that Dolly Parton often shows up in episodes, calling herself Miley’s Aunt Dolly. Like a lot of other details of the show, this joke was actually based in truth, since Dolly Parton is Miley Cyrus’ godmother in real life.

Dolly Parton first appeared in the season one episode of Hannah Montana Good Golly Miss Dolly, and she last appeared in the season four episode Kiss it all Goodbye in 2010. In every appearance, she gives sage advice about balancing your real-life with your pop star persona, which no doubt worked as both in-character advice to Hannah Montana and real-world advice to Miley Cyrus herself.

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2. Sticking up for your daughter

Dolly Parton has stuck by her daughter through thick and thin, even coming out publicly to support Miley Cyrus in her immediate post-Disney years. In that time, Cyrus made headlines for her controversial outfits and behaviour, with the media branding her as a wild child when she attempted to shed her family-friendly, Disney image.

Despite the age difference between Parton and Cyrus, Parton understood the desire an artist often has to push aesthetic boundaries and create their own image. When asked if she approved of Cyrus’ scandalous new attitude, Parton said: “I got to do it my way, why shouldn’t she do it her way?”

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Credit: Joel Warren/Disney Channel via Getty

 

3. The family that plays together stays together

Miley’s dad Billy Ray Cyrus and Parton have been friends for decades, owing to their shared love of country music. In fact, for a few years rumours swirled about a romance between musicians, though they both vehemently denied them. Even if Parton and Billy Ray Cyrus were never involved, Parton’s love for Miley Cyrus has proved absolute.

Dolly recently said in an interview about Miley:  “I’m so proud of her, love her, and she’s just like one of my own.” The pair have done joint performances on several occasions, often doing a duet version of the classic song Jolene, complete with harmonies and adorable familial banter.

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4. Her signature look

Almost all the musical artists that we consider legends have a signature look, whether it’s Elvis’ slicked up hair or Cher’s Bob Mackie gowns. Dolly Parton’s look may have evolved over the years, but it can be boiled down to a few things: white jumpsuits, rhinestones and big, blonde hair.

If you ask Dolly Parton herself though, she would probably say that the most important component of her trademark style are what she calls her “girls”. Though most female artists would probably not admit to making their chest the focus of their visual identity, Parton has always been proud of her choice, which she says honours the kinds of women she grew up admiring, but who were always disregarded as “tramps”.

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Credit: Larry McCormack via The Guardian

 

5.Knowing what you’re worth

Dolly Parton has said that her breasts are an essential part of her persona, as they give her something to “hide behind”. Essentially, by identifying her public brand with her boobs, her own personality remains a little bit shielded. This has helped her to maintain a healthy relationship to the spotlight, as well as a pretty good work-life balance.

Parton views her assets as such an integral part of her career and look that each boob is insured for $300,000. That means Parton is carrying around $600,000 worth of value on her person at all times, even if she doesn’t take her purse out with her.

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Credit: Kevin Winter via People

 

6. Not enough of a drag queen

When Dolly Parton decided to compete in a Dolly lookalike contest against a group of drag queens, she simply exaggerated her normal make-up and thought that would be enough. After all, she was the real Dolly Parton, so who could possibly do a better job at being her than her?

Unfortunately for Parton, not only did no-one realise she was actually the real deal, but she also walked away with a very low score. Compared to a room full of drag queens, the watching crowd concluded that Dolly Parton looked nothing like Dolly Parton, because her make-up, her boobs and her outfit were all too small and not outrageous enough.

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7. The wrong voice for country music

Dolly Parton was signed to Monument Records in 1965 and was certain from the beginning that she wanted to release country music. However, despite being steadfast in her love of the genre and never even considering other kinds of music she could make, her plan to become a country star didn’t exactly pan out the way she wanted it to.

It seems almost impossible to imagine now, but the label actually discouraged her from pursuing the country genre, as they believed she looked more like a pop star. Dolly Parton’s look was not the only problem, as her label was also convinced that Parton did not have the correct voice for country music, believing her vocals to be more pop-oriented.

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8. A pop-star flop

Parton’s record label was so convinced that she was a pop star in the making, that Parton was only allowed to release a country single after her only pop song, Happy, Happy Birthday Baby, failed to break the Billboard Hot 100. Faced with the knowledge that her pop career had been a flop, they allowed her to try doing what she loved.

Even once Parton was allowed to take a chance on a solo country career, it took a few singles for her to hit her stride and move up the charts. It took until 1974 for Parton to get a number one single that wasn’t a duet with another artist, and by then her star status was cemented. It was a long road, but eventually, Parton became the country star she had always envisioned for herself.

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Credit: Irving Penn via Vogue

 

9. A theme park in your back yard

Plenty of musicians have become stars, but not many have become famous enough to sustain their own theme park, let alone one conceptualised and invested in by the artist themselves. Parton opened Dollywood in 1986 as part of her ongoing mission to invest in her home town of Pigeon Forge. It was a successful endeavour, as the park is now one of the major employers in the area.

The bustling attraction now draws over a million guests a year, and is considered a must-visit attraction for theme park fans. Dollywood last ranked 6th in a poll of the USA’s top theme parks, beating out three Disney properties as well as other big names like Sea World and Cedar Gardens.

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Credit: Getty Images via Forbes

 

10. A little bit chicken

One draw for guests is the huge selection of roller-coasters, but it might surprise you to know that Parton herself has never set foot on one. Despite knowing from the start that her theme park would have to include thrill rides as well as authentic food and musical performances, she steadfastly refused from the beginning to ride the roller-coasters. Why?

Well, aside from the motion sickness, she also doesn’t want to risk messing up her look. Speaking about the decision to avoid her own rides, Parton said: “I’m a little bit chicken. With all my hair I got so much to lose, like my wig or my shoes. I don’t like to get messed up.”

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11. The early bird gets the worm

You might think you get up early, but chances are you don’t get up as early as Dolly Parton. It’s a popular cliche that successful people wake up earlier, so if you do the maths then it makes sense that Doll Parton has managed to find such a large amount of success over the years. Parton wakes up when many rockstars would be starting to think about going to bed, beginning her day at 3 am every morning to maximise her productivity.

Dolly Parton is one of the busiest celebrities out there, constantly juggling her charity work and numerous businesses alongside the normal musician jobs of writing, touring, and recording. Over the years she has developed strategies to ensure that she can fit everything in, and one of those strategies involves getting up early.

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12. Finding time to chill

While the rest of the world is snoozing, Parton is up and at it at 3:00 every morning, in order to meditate and pray before starting work. Spirituality is hugely important to Dolly Parton, who has long maintained that finding time to be still and set out her intentions has helped to keep her grounded, focussed and on track to achieve her goals.

Speaking about her morning routine in an interview, Parton said: “I get up, I do my little meditations, I do my little spiritual work. I do more work between 3:00 AM and 7:00 AM than most people do all day.”

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Credit: Kevin Winter / Getty images via Southern Living

 

13. Not a party animal

Dolly Parton might have been a professional musician for decades, but she’s never really partaken in the wild rock and roll life that some of her contemporaries became notorious for. Parton has never been one to live it up all night, but in her advanced years, she has started avoiding parties and other late-night events almost altogether.

Today, Dolly Parton’s schedule means she goes to bed pretty early, so you’re unlikely to catch her at any wild showbiz parties. When asked in an interview to explain why she loves getting up so early, Parton said “because it’s quiet and the energy’s all low, except mine. So I just really get a lot done. I just love the wee hours, I call it.”

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14. Back-to-back hits

Dolly Parton has had a lot of hits over the course of her career, but I Will Always Love You and Jolene no doubt rank among her most popular songs. What’s incredible about these two hits, in particular, is that they were probably written in the same night… even if Parton can’t quite remember.

The reason we know that both I Will Always Love You and Jolene were written close together is that they were both recorded on the same cassette tape, and Parton has been known to fill a whole cassette in one writing session.

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Credit: Shirlaine Forrest / Getty Images via Southern Living

 

15. The lost recordings

Given that Parton used to fill a whole cassette worth of songs and ideas in one go, it’s very likely that the two songs were brought into existence back to back, or at the very least one after another within a pretty short space of time. Unfortunately for Dolly Parton historians everywhere, the original tape no longer exists, even if the original recordings were saved by Parton.

Parton had the presence of mind to worry about archiving her early work as technology progressed, and digitised a lot of her old recordings as the tape began to decay. In doing so, she rediscovered a lot of details about the recording process, as well as what songs she recorded in what year and how the ideas came to her.

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16. Pretty poor payment

Nowadays, Dolly Parton is one of the most successful and glamorous music stars out there, but her life wasn’t always quite so idyllic. There are very few truly rags to riches stories in the world, especially when it comes to celebrities like actors and musicians, but Dolly Parton really did defy the odds to end up where she is today.

Parton grew up with 11 siblings in Appalachia, a part of the United States that has seen real hardship, with poverty and a lack of development often plaguing it. Dolly Parton’s family struggled so much that when she was born, her parents paid the doctor who delivered her with a sack of oatmeal. This was not an uncommon practise in the area of the United States Dolly Parton grew up in, as everyone in her town was similarly struggling.

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17. Appreciating what you’ve got

Parton has always maintained in interviews that her childhood was a happy one, even if she didn’t have a lot of the luxuries and amenities that we have today. At the same time, Parton has never shied away from being honest about the fact that she grew up very poor, and understood that her family were struggling from a young age.

The biggest example of this is the house Dolly Parton grew up in. Though Parton has said that the house was always full of music, laughter and activity, it is a fact that her childhood home lacked both electricity and plumbing. Parton’s childhood home also featured an outdoor toilet, which Parton has surprisingly said that she’s actually pretty nostalgic about.

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18. Living in the past

Like many other performers who started out with nothing but found success throughout their lives, Dolly Parton is obviously grateful to be out of hardship. With that said, Parton has remained very connected to her past. Part of that impulse has manifested in a desire to lift her hometown out of hardship, in order to pass on the good fortune she herself has experienced.

In a more personal sense though, Dolly Parton has stayed connected to her humble beginnings by physically staying attached to her childhood home. Dolly Parton has even spent millions of her own money refurbishing her own family home, in order to make it look exactly like it did when she lived there, outdoor toilet and lack of plumbing to boot.

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19. Love at first sight

You might not know it, as she doesn’t talk about it very often, but Dolly Parton has been married since 1966. Specifically, Dolly Parton tied the knot with construction entrepreneur Carl Dean, who she had known for years prior. Dean is notoriously shy when it comes to the spotlight, but in a rare interview he said of his meeting Dolly for the first time: “My first thought was I’m gonna marry that girl.”

Of course, Dean’s second thought was less grand and romantic but still very sweet, as he said: “My second thought was Lord she’s good lookin’.” Both Parton and Dean have avoided talking about their marriage in great detail, but from the current images available of the two of them together, it seems as though they’re as happy as they have ever been.

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20. Good things last forever

Celebrities get a bad reputation for a lot of things. Many often characterise celebrities as narcissistic or impulsive, and it is often said that famous people have a much tougher time staying in and maintaining monogamous, long-term relationships. In particular, the cliche seems to be that celebrities are more likely to cheat, or at the very least get bored in relationships more quickly.

Many famous people seem to bounce from one high profile marriage to the next, but the same cannot be said for Dolly Parton. Not only are Dolly Parton and Carl Dean still together, but according to their friends the two are still madly in love today, and the couple even renewed their vows in 2016. How sweet!

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21. Keeping it in the family

Dolly Parton is a certified triple threat as far as music-making goes. Not only can she sing, but she can also play multiple instruments and write her own hit songs. By the time she had finished high school and set her sights on trying to make it the music industry, she was already a formidable talent.

Needing to create a portfolio and develop a name for herself before asking record companies for a solo contract, Parton actually started her career by writing hits for other country musicians. She began by collaborating with her uncle Bill Owens, who was a fairly well-known artist and songwriter in his own right.

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22. Fighting to be heard

During those early years of developing her style by ghostwriting songs for other artists, Parton proved her skills by writing two top ten hits: Put It Off Until Tomorrow for Bill Phillips in 1966, and Fuel to the Flame by Skeeter Davis in 1967. These hits gave Dolly Parton the confidence and credibility she needed in order to pursue a solo career.

However, all of her prior songwriting success makes it more surprising that when Parton started out as a singer in her own right, she wasn’t allowed to write her own songs. Her record company felt more comfortable making her a mouthpiece for other people’s songs, despite Dolly Parton having only one solo hit out of those written by another artist. The song in question was Dumb Blonde, which was written by Curly Putman.

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23. A musical duo

If you ask anyone who the most famous musical duo to collaborate on a television show are, then they would probably answer Sonny and Cher, from The Sonny and Cher Show. However, right behind them in both recognisability and popularity were Dolly Parton and Porter Waggoner.

Waggoner invited Parton to be the resident singer on The Porter Waggoner Show, a position that Parton held for eight years. The move was pretty controversial at the time, with Porter Waggoner having to bolster Parton when she was booed by the crowd, who were upset that Parton was replacing the beloved resident singer who preceded her.

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24. Making it on her own

Waggoner championed Dolly Parton’s early music career, but eventually, it was time for Parton to break away and make a name for herself outside of the confines of the show, and outside of Waggoner’s influence. Unfortunately, when Parton attempted to leave the show and strike out on her own, Waggoner tried to sue her for breach of contract.

As a result of this, the two former friends were estranged for many decades, with each believing that the other had in some way betrayed them. In fact, they only felt able to reconcile after many decades had passed to cool the bad blood, and they only picked up their friendship shortly before Waggoner’s death.

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25. A deathbed resolution

Not wanting for Waggoner to pass away before the two could fully reconcile and forgive each other, Parton made an effort to visit her former friend many times in the years that he was ill. In fact, Dolly Parton was the last guest to visit Waggoner, and was present by his bedside the day before he died.

According to Parton, the two had spent a lot of time talking about the fond memories they had shared and the time that had passed. On the day before Waggoner died however, the two could only hold hands and pray together. When Dolly Parton later discussed the day, she made sure to say that by that point Waggoner’s soul was “already with God”.

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26. Giving something back

It’s not unusual for celebrities to decade their lives to a variety of causes, even collaborating with charities in order to channel their reach and influence into something positive. It’s not even that unheard of for musicians and actors to create their own charitable foundations, but Dolly Parton has shown singular dedicated to philanthropy throughout her life.

In 1995, Dolly Parton founded Imagination Library, a charity dedicated to providing kids with free books throughout their childhood. The aim of Imagination Library is to encourage a love of reading in children, as well as to help increase literacy rates in lower-income areas of the United States.

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27. Making daddy proud

Shocked by the fact that even in the modern-day many children in America were still struggling to learn to read, Parton wanted to help alleviate the shame and fear that both parents and children have around the issue of literacy in the United States. Specifically though, Dolly Parton started the foundation in tribute to her father, who she has often called “the smartest man [she] ever met”.

Dolly Parton’s father unfortunately did not have the ability to read, which was something that caused him a great deal of stress and shame throughout his life. Despite that, Parton always referred to her father as her hero, and believed him to be smarter than anyone else around even in spite of the fact that he struggled to read.

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28. A worldwide effort

After several years of focussing just on America, Dolly Parton realised that literacy rates were an issue all around the world, and she expanded the scope of her mission. Imagination Library has now been responsible for sending out more than 120 million free books to children, and has even begun to help out children beyond the borders of the US.

The project now sends out books to children who need them in Canada, the UK, Australia and the Republic of Ireland, making it one of the most tangibly successful charity projects helmed by a celebrity. More importantly than that though, it was the thing that Parton’s father was most proud of in his life, and he made sure to let Dolly Parton know.

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Credit: Shannon Finney / Getty Images

 

29. Best friends for life

Most people have a childhood best friend, and sometimes that relationship sticks with people through their entire life. With that said, it’s less common for people to remain best friends with their childhood bestie all the way through adulthood, and even into old age.

As unusual as it sounds, that’s exactly how the friendship between Dolly Parton and Judy Ogle has gone, as the pair are just as close to each other now as they were when they first met. In fact, photos of them together show how giggly and casual the friends are with each other, as if when they are together they begin to act just like teenagers again!

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30. Something more than friendship?

Dolly Parton and Judy Ogle went to school together and met in the third grade, and they have been fast friends ever since. In fact, the pair have been so inseparable and affectionate for so long that many journalists have speculated that the two are secretly dating.

Both friends ignored the rumours for as long as they could, but they were so prevalent that even Dolly Parton’s long term marriage could not sway them. In fact, journalists were so convinced that Dolly Parton even had to release a statement to the contrary, in which she said: “I love her as much as I love anybody in the whole world, but we’re not romantically involved.”

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31. One star’s not enough

When it comes to career milestones for famous creative people, getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is pretty much the highest honour there is. Even more so than winning a Grammy or an Oscar, or being given some kind of Lifetime Achievement award, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame cements a person’s legacy.

With that said, there is only one thing better than getting a single star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and that is getting two stars. Dolly Parton got her first star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1984, and her second in 2019, making her one of a few select celebrities to be given the honour.

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32. In good company

In fact, getting two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is such a rare occurrence that Dolly Parton is the first woman this century to have achieved it. Not only that, but Dolly Parton is only the second woman overall to have received the honour, after the similarly legendary Diana Ross. Talk about an exclusive club.

Even though it is less common these days for performers to receive multiple stars, last century it happened far more frequently. Several classic actresses have two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, from Judy Garland and Doris Day to Bette Davis.

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33. A long list of accolades

There are several awards you would expect a popular musician to collect over the course of their lifetime, and then there are those that you wouldn’t expect at all. For a celebrity as legendary and enduring as Dolly Parton, it makes sense that the list of accolades that she has achieved is now very long, even if some of them are more unexpected than others.

For example, it makes total sense that Dolly Parton has over 30 awards to her name, most of which are Grammys and People’s Choice awards. What you might not know or expect is that Dolly Parton also holds two Guinness World Records, which have to do with just how unprecedented her success has been across her lifetime.

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34. Record-maker, record-breaker

Perhaps the most impressive accolade Dolly Parton has achieved is the fact that she currently holds the world record for Most Decades With a Top 20 Hit on the US Hot Country Songs Chart, and she holds the record by a, pardon the expression, country mile.

As if that were not enough, Dolly Parton also holds the record for the Most Hits on US Hot Country Songs Chart By a Female Artist. Not bad at all. As for the person with the most number one singles on the Country chart overall, that honour goes to George Strait.

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35. A very fluffy fan

Dolly Parton is pretty much universally beloved, with many fans idolising her for her sweet and funny nature, even if they are not country fans or part of her core demographic. With that said, Parton’s music does have a wide appeal, with it even having popularity in sectors that you might not expect.

For example, the first-ever cloned mammal was a domestic sheep, who was successfully cloned in 1996. The scientists involved with the project knew that the animal was a scientific breakthrough, and that it would become a famous part of science history. So what did they call the sheep? Dolly, after Dolly Parton.

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36. Interplanetary appeal

Dolly Parton’s work might be adored by geneticists, but that is not the only branch of science obsessed with Parton’s country charm. As if enamouring biologists enough to have a cloned sheep named after you was not enough, Dolly Parton is also one of a small number of artists whose work has been listened to outside Earth’s atmosphere.

As unusual as it might sound, Astronaut Charles Duke listened to a cassette tape of Dolly Parton songs while on his spaceflight to the moon, since the music was upbeat and relaxing and also reminded him of his time on Earth. So clearly her music is appropriate for all sorts of situations.

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37. Going back to school

Parton set out to begin her career as a songwriter the second she graduated high school, so she never really pursued education beyond that point. With that said, her philanthropic work and activism have both focused heavily on children’s access to education and betterment opportunities.

This lifelong commitment to improving people’s access to educational attainment opportunities throughout her life was recently noticed by the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. The university decided that Parton was a prime candidate for an honorary doctorate, in honour of the value she had placed on education throughout her life.

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38. Top of the class

Celebrities being awarded honorary doctorates from universities in their home state or town is nothing new, but the fact that Parton was given a doctorate from the University of Tennessee is significant. Just as some universities are more exclusive, and have far higher rejection rates than easier to attend universities, some universities are much more discerning when it comes to giving out honorary degrees.

The University of Tennessee is one of those institutions famous for not giving out honorary doctorates lightly, and for doing so only on rare occasions. In fact, Parton’s diploma represents only the second honorary degree the University of Tennessee has ever given out, which surely means it is worth framing along with all of her platinum records.

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39. Working with the king

When it comes to musical legends, Elvis is about as famous as they come. After all, you don’t get the nickname of The King by being a niche underground artist. Countless artists have cited him as their primary inspiration or reason for getting started in music in the first place, and Elvis’ discography is credited as moving music forward and allowing whole new genres to gain widespread popularity.

Given his fame and renown, it’s difficult to imagine anyone saying no to a collaboration with him. Dolly Parton is no ordinary artist though, and was unafraid to turn down a collaboration with The King when she knew that it was the correct thing to do for her own career and livelihood.

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40. The power of saying no

Elvis approached Parton as a fan, wishing to record and release a cover of her song I Will Always Love You. Parton was flattered and thrilled, but soon realised that she had to say no. The reason why was simple, as Elvis’ cover version would involve him taking half the publishing rights for a song that he had not technically written.

Dolly Parton tried to negotiate a situation in which Elvis would not receive the publishing rights income, but it simply wasn’t possible. Given that the song was already hugely successful, Parton had planned on leaving any publishing profits from the song to her family when she died, so the rights were not something she felt that she could give up.

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41. The most successful cover ever

Turning down Elvis’ cover version meant that Dolly Parton retained the publishing rights to the song, even when other artists covered it. All the publishing income would go directly to her, allowing the profits to be passed on to her family when she died as part of her estate.

This turned out to be the right decision, as when Whitney Houston’s cover of the song became a hit, Parton herself saw a significant portion of the profits. Dolly Parton has since said in interviews that as well as loving Whitney Houston’s cover, she is glad that Houston did it as she has seen a significant uptick in her own income.

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42. A hall of fame connoisseur

Most halls of fame only induct a select few artists every year, and only once they have proven themselves to be both pioneering and enduring. Being selected for induction is a sign that you have become a stand out in your field, who has contributed something unique and influential in whatever niche you happen to be in.

Given that many artists work their whole lives to be considered for induction into just one hall of fame, Dolly Parton’s induction track record is just another thing that proves her success. At last count, Dolly Parton had been inducted into 15 different halls of fame, for various areas and genres of music.

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43. Hidden tattoos

It’s hardly uncommon for musicians to be covered in tattoos, especially since music is one of the few career areas where how much body art you have is unlikely to prove a professional detriment in any way. In fact, plenty of musicians have tattoos from head to toe, though they tend to be involved with genres that skew towards the heavier or rocky end of the musical spectrum.

Dolly Parton’s upbeat and bubbly personality, as well as her fun and fluffy country music, often leads people to assume that she has no tattoos. It is even difficult to imagine Dolly Parton sporting the traditional rockstar tattoos, which usually involved being adorned with some combination of skulls and roses.

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Credit: Inked Magazine

 

44. Bruising easily

However, despite the majority of the world assuming that Dolly Parton has no tattoos at all, Parton has multiple tattoos on her arms, and even a small one on her sternum. Some of her tattoos are even in fairly painful places, which show that she is no stranger to the tattoo chair.

However, she keeps these tattoos hidden almost 100% of the time, and has said in interviews that they serve a very specific function. Rather than getting tattoos for any kind of aesthetic reason, or as a kind of latent teenage rebellion, Dolly Parton has said that the tattoos exist purely to cover up her scars.

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Credit: Taste of Country

 

45. A lifelong love

Most of Parton’s tattoos were placed to cover scars that could be seen through her costumes, since her pale skin means that her scars are often visible. As she gets older, Dolly Parton has said that her skin has become even more sensitive, brushing and scarring when even slightly battered.

Rather than live with the blemishes, Dolly Parton has opted to beautify them instead, often by covering them up with ink. Dolly Parton has specifically chosen to cover them with pastel tattoos, usually of butterflies or hearts, that are sometimes dedicated to her husband.

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Credit: Kevin Winter / Getty Images via Country Now

 

46. A silver screen return

Dolly Parton’s last big television appearance was in 2019, when Dolly Parton: Here I Am, the made-for-TV documentary made about her life, was released. The documentary featured exclusive archived footage and interviews, and charted Parton’s career from her childhood to the present day.

However, early in 2020, it was revealed that Dolly Parton would be returning to our screens, in a Christmas-themed musical called Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Square.

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Credit: Netflix

 

47. A glittering cast

Christmas on the Square, which Dolly Parton produced, wrote the music for and starred in, allowed her to work with some of the biggest names in the history of musicals.

Specifically, Christine Baranski was cast in the jaded starring role of Regina Fuller, a woman who plans to evict her whole neighbourhood on the eve of Christmas. Baranski has previously starred in Into the Woods and both Mamma-Mia films, making her a true titan of the genre.

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48. A jolly, Dolly Christmas

As if releasing and starring in a feature-length Christmas film with songs that she’d written all by herself wasn’t enough to do in 2020, Dolly Parton also decided that it was the perfect time to release a new Christmas album: A Holly Dolly Christmas.

Parton has previously released two other solo Christmas albums, Home for Christmas in 1990 and Once Upon a Christmas in 1984. A Holly Dolly Christmas featured a mix of original songs and classic covers, and had four different bonus editions with different bonus tracks, depending on which format you bought the album in.

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Credit: CBS

 

49. Familiar festive faces

Throughout Dolly Parton’s career, she has always gravitated towards collaboration, whether in the form of her longstanding musical partnership with Porter Wagoner, or her amicable attitude to appearing on other people’s tracks and allowing others to cover her music in return.

True to the trend, the tracklist of A Holly Dolly Christmas is filled to the brim with other artists, who no doubt were honoured to be asked to contribute to a Dolly Parton Christmas album. Some are obvious choices, like Christmas mainstay Michael Bublé or Parton’s goddaughter Miley Cyrus, while others, such as Jimmy Fallon, are less obvious. Even Parton’s younger brother makes an appearance – making it a true family affair!

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50. The Dolly Renaissance

Dolly Parton has had a long and storied career that at this point spans over half a century, but it’s clear that she is not running out of stream any time soon. In fact, between Dolly Parton’s 2019 documentary, her 2020 Christmas film and Christmas album, plus her increased media appearances to promote these projects, it seems as though we are going through something of a Dolly Parton renaissance.

It seems as though Dolly Parton has many more albums to make yet, as well as more than a few rhinestone jumpsuits that she hasn’t yet stunned audiences with. Parton’s tenacity, success and beloved status just proves that age is just a number, and you can continue to tour the world and make amazing music for as long as you want!

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