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Parton, Dolly

Dolly Parton

Singer, songwriter

American singer and songwriter Dolly Parton was born into poverty but used her talent and determination to become one of the best known women in country and pop music. Her business insight made a well-known theme park and other ventures into a personal empire. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, as older artists found themselves often shut out of the country music mainstream, Parton returned with impressive success to the bluegrass and mountain roots music with which she had grown up.

Dolly Rebecca Parton was born in Locust Ridge, Sevier County, Tennessee, on January 19, 1946. She was the fourth of twelve children born to Robert Lee and Avie Lee Parton. Her father was a sharecropper, farming someone else's land in return for a share of the crop, and the family was very poor. The family moved to a new house when Parton was five years old. The house was rundown and required a lot of work, but Robert Parton was proud to own it. Parton's grandfather was a preacher in a Pentecostal church and the family all played music and sang in the church.

Parton began writing music and playing the guitar when she was seven years old. She would sing everywhere she went, always trying to get her siblings to sit in front of her while she performed. She would even occasionally perform for the chickens, pigs, and ducks. "They didn't applaud much, but with the aid of a little corn, they could be counted on to hang around for a while," she wrote in her autobiography, Dolly: My Life and Other Unfinished Business. Sometimes she got to sing in front of real audiences when the Parton girls would sing at area churches.

Started Singing Professionally

Parton's uncle, Billy Earl Owens, recognized her musical talent early in her life. He taught her to play the guitar and songwriting. In 1956, he brought her to the attention of Cas Walker. Walker owned a grocery store chain and used a show on the radio to promote his stores. When she was ten years old, Parton sang on the show in front of a live audience in Knoxville, Tennessee. The crowd cheered. "At that very moment I fell in love with the public. This was what I had always wanted—no, needed. It was the attention I had longed for. I knew what they were giving me. Now I had confidence in what I had to give them," she wrote.

Parton desperately wanted to sing at the Grand Ole Opry, but it was difficult to get a spot on the program. Then, when she was twelve years old, Jimmy C. Newman gave her his spot, and she got her chance.

Henry Owens, Parton's uncle, was in the service in Lake Charles, Louisiana, and lived next door to Gold Band Records recording studio. He became friends with the owner and arranged for Parton to come down and make a recording. In 1960, she recorded two songs that she had written with her Uncle Bill, "Puppy Love" and "Girl Left Alone."

Parton became determined to find success. One day, when she was sixteen years old, she and her Uncle Bill waited all day at Tree Publishing until someone would see them. The waiting paid off, and when they got their appointment that evening, they signed a deal and Parton got a recording session with Mercury Records in 1962. She recorded "It May Not Kill Me (But It's Sure Gonna Hurt)" and "I Wasted My Tears (When I Cried Over You)." She was thrilled when she heard it play on WIVK, the Knoxville radio station.

Parton began to create her image. "I always wanted to be prettier," she said, according to People. "I got to fixin' myself up. I wanted my clothes tight, my makeup bright, my nails long, my lips red. I got into it."

Moved to Nashville

In 1964, Parton was the first person in her family to graduate from high school and the very next day she headed for Nashville, Tennessee. "Early next morning I boarded a Greyhound bus with my dreams, my old guitar, the songs I had written, and the rest of my belongings in a set of matching luggage—three paper bags from the same grocery store. I had asked whatever relatives could afford to give me a graduation gift to please make it cash. I didn't want any additional baggage, and I knew I would need the money for a grub stake until I became a star. I genuinely thought that would happen before my little bit of money ran out," she wrote.

Parton rented a tiny apartment over a laundromat called the Wishy Washy. Soon after she moved in, she was outside, waiting for her clothes to dry, when a man drove by and stopped to chat. His name was Carl Thomas Dean. He stopped by several more times and finally asked her out on a date. On their first date, he took her to his parents' house for dinner. He told his mother, "Fix this girl a plate," wrote Parton. "She's the one I'm going to marry."

Parton got her first big break with Fred Foster who signed her and her Uncle Bill to a deal. Foster invested in Parton, buying her clothes and promoting her career by securing appearances on American Bandstand and at a jukebox convention in Chicago.

For the Record …

Born on January 19, 1946 in Locust Ridge, TN; daughter of Robert Lee and Avie Parton; married Carl Dean, 1966.

Signed to Mercury label at age 14; signed to Monument Records, 1965; single "Dumb Blonde" reached top 25, 1967; signed to RCA label; released "Joshua," first Number One single, 1970; released "I Will Always Love You," 1974; cultivated pop career as well as country; reached pop Number One with "Here You Come Again," 1977; starred in film 9 to 5 and released his song with same title, 1980; recorded Trio album with Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt, 1987; Whitney Houston recorded "I Will Always Love You," 1992; released Honky Tonk Angels album with Tammy Wynette and Loretta Lynn, 1993; published autobiography, My Life and Other Unfinished Business, 1994; signed with bluegrass-oriented Sugar Hill label; released albums The Grass Is Blue, Little Sparrow, and Halos & Horns; tribute album Just Because I'm a Woman released, 2003.

Awards: Country Music Award, Vocal Group of the Year (with Porter Wagoner), 1968, 1970, 1971; Country Music Award, Female Vocalist of the Year, 1975, 1976; Country Music Award, Entertainer of the Year, 1978; Grammy Award, Best Country Vocal Performance, Female, "9 to 5," 1981; Grammy Award, Best Country Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal, Trio (with Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris), 1988; Country Music Award, Vocal Event of the Year, Trio (with Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris), 1988; Country Music Award, Vocal Event of the Year, "I Will Always Love You," 1996; Grammy Award, Best Country Collaboration With Vocals, "After the Gold Rush" (with Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris), 1999; Grammy Award, Best Bluegrass Album, The Grass is Blue (with Gary Paczosa and Steve Buckingham), 2000; Grammy Award, Best Female Country Vocal Performance, "Shine," 2001; Living Legend award, United States Library of Congress, 2003.

Addresses: Record company—Sugar Hill Records, P.O. Box 55300, Durham, NC 27717.

Parton and Carl decided to get married, but Foster warned against it, thinking she might have more record-buying appeal if she was single. Parton told Foster she would wait, but then she and Carl secretly got married in Ringgold, Georgia, on May 30, 1966, at the Ringgold Baptist Church. They kept it a secret for a year.

Made It Big

In 1967, Parton's hit "Dumb Blonde" made it into the top ten on the country charts. This caught the attention of Porter Wagoner, who had a country music show on television. He asked Parton to sing on his show for $60,000 a year. Parton knew that she had found success.

Parton's relationship with Wagoner was tumultuous. He taught her a lot about entertaining and was generous with information. "I could sing when I met Porter. After knowing him, I knew how to perform," wrote Parton in her book. However, she also resented Wagoner's need to control her career, pushing her uncles out of the way. He also pressured her to leave Monument Records and sign with RCA, which she eventually did. Despite the rocky relationship, Parton stayed with Wagoner through 1974, and Wagoner did a lot to launch her career. He continued to produce her records until 1977.

In 1970, Parton released "Joshua," which was a big hit. In 1971, both "Joshua" and "Old Time Preacher Man" won Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) Awards. "I have since won many awards and honors, but those still stand out as special," Parton wrote in her book.

In 1973, Parton released "Jolene," and in 1974, she released "I Will Always Love You" and "Love is like a Butterfly." Along with "Joshua," these hit number one on the country charts. Between 1968 and 1972, she released an amazing 21 albums and each of those years she was nominated by the Country Music Association as Female Vocalist of the Year. After this success, the time had come to leave Wagoner. She received the same nomination every year from 1974 to 1979. Two songs were written with Porter Wagoner in mind. "I Will Always Love You" was written in appreciation of all he had taught her. "Light of a Clear Blue Morning" was written when she finally made her decision to go out on her own.

Crossed Over To Pop

Parton put together the Traveling Family Band, made up mostly of family members, and headed out to face the world. She did find success, but she also found that although she made a lot of money, it was not enough to meet all her staff expenses. Therefore, she started her own publishing company, increased her public relations, started considering movie roles, and searched for songs with the potential to cross over from country into pop.

In 1976, Parton started her own television show, "Dolly!" The show was not very successful, but a few good things did come out of it. First, one of the shows featured Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt. "The three of us really got comfortable with just us, our voices and guitars. The result was some of the most unspoiled, pure country music I have ever been a part of. It was a forerunner of our Trio album," Parton wrote. Kenny Rogers also appeared on the show, and he and Parton later worked together on several other projects.

In 1980, Jane Fonda sent Parton a script for the movie Nine to Five. Initially, she was reluctant to take it since she did not have any training in acting. Her agent, Sandy Gallin, and Fonda both encouraged her to take it. She enjoyed it and received an Oscar nomination for writing the title song, as well as two Grammys for Best Country Song and Best Female Country Vocal Performance.

In conjunction with starring in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas in 1982, Parton re-released "I Will Always Love You." She was the first performer to hit number one twice with the same song. In 1983, she starred in Rhinestone and received a Grammy nomination for the song "Tennessee Homesick Blues." Teaming with Kenny Rogers for "Islands in the Stream" brought her another pop smash. She starred in Steel Magnolias in 1989.

In 1986, Parton founded Dollywood, a theme park near her hometown. Then, in 1988, just outside of Dollywood, she opened the Dixie Stampede & Dinner Show. The Dixie Stampede & Dinner Show was such a success that she proceeded to open additional locations in Branson, Missouri (1992); Myrtle Beach, South Carolina (1995); and Orlando, Florida (2003).

In 1996, Parton started a literacy program in her hometown called the Imagination Library. It provided one book each month to children from birth to their fifth birthday. The program quickly spread throughout the nation. In 2000, the Association of American Publishers (AAP) presented Parton with one of its first AAP Honors and Awards, which is presented to someone outside the industry for promoting books and authors.

Parton's albums of the late 1980s and 1990s were a varied lot, often involving collaborations with other artists. In 1987 a long-rumored collaboration with Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt was released under the title Trio, and another album with Tammy Wynette and Loretta Lynn, Honky Tonk Angels, followed in 1993. Parton's live 1994 album Heartsongs, recorded at Dollywood, featured an appearance by the Irish folk group Altan, and on the Treasures CD of 1996 she teamed with the South African vocal group Ladysmith Black Mambazo for a remake of the Cat Stevens hit "Peace Train," later a worldwide hit in dance remixes. A host of Parton and Parton-Wagoner greatest-hits collections appeared in the 1990s, and in 1999, Parton became a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame.

That honor didn't bring Parton airtime on country radio, however. She became one of a group of artists who were outspoken in their criticism of country radio programmers for ignoring the older generation of country artists. Rather than just criticizing, though, Parton also offered a creative response to her predicament: she signed with the small Sugar Hill label and recorded several bluegrass and roots-oriented CDs, including The Grass Is Blue (1999), Little Sparrow (2001, featuring a version of Collective Soul's "Shine" that gained airplay following the terrorist attacks of that year), Halos & Horns (2002), and the patriotic collection For God and Country (2003). "I had to get rich in order to afford to sing like I was poor again," Parton told Interview. In 2003, Parton was honored by other country music stars with a tribute CD entitled Just Because I'm a Woman: The Songs of Dolly Parton, sung by female country and pop stars including Melissa Etheridge, Shania Twain, and Norah Jones. In turn, she sang a duet with Jones, "Creepin' In," on Jones's 2004 CD Feels Like Home.

In 2004, Parton was honored once more by the Library of Congress, with its Living Legend award. Parton has no plans of retiring. As quoted in America's Intelligence Wire Parton said, "I'll be like Bob Hope, touring when I'm 100." Having written thousands of songs, Parton could also look back on a lifetime of influence on the country music tradition. As Emmylou Harris told People in 2003, "I can't imagine anybody, especially in country, who doesn't try to emulate Dolly in some way."

Selected discography

Hello, I'm Dolly, Monument, 1967.

Just Because I'm a Woman, RCA, 1968.

In the Good Old Days (When Times Were Bad), RCA, 1969.

Coat of Many Colors, RCA, 1971.

Jolene, RCA, 1974.

My Tennessee Mountain Home, RCA, 1975.

Love Is Like a Butterfly, RCA, 1975.

All I Can Do, RCA, 1976.

Here You Come Again, RCA, 1977.

9 to 5, RCA, 1980.

Heartbreak Express, 1982, RCA.

Rhinestone (soundtrack), RCA, 1984.

(With Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt) Trio, WEA, 1987.

White Limozeen, Sony, 1989.

(With Tammy Wynette and Loretta Lynn) Honky Tonk Angels, Columbia, 1993.

Heartsongs, Columbia, 1994.

The Essential Dolly Parton, Vol. 1, RCA, 1995.

Treasures, Rising Tide, 1996.

The Essential Dolly Parton, Vol. 2, RCA, 1997.

Hungry Again, MCA, 1998.

The Grass Is Blue, Sugar Hill, 1999.

Little Sparrow, Sugar Hill, 2001.

Halos & Horns, Sugar Hill, 2002

RCA Country Legends, RCA, 2002.

For God and Country, Welk Music, 2003.

Sources

Books

American Decades, Gale Research, 1998.

Emery, Ralph, 50 Years Down a Country Road, HarperCollins, 2000.

Newsmakers 1999, Gale Group, 1999.

Parton, Dolly, Dolly: My Life and Other Unfinished Business, HarperCollins, 1994.

Periodicals

America's Intelligence Wire, April 5, 2004; April 14, 2004.

Business Wire, November 3, 2003.

Entertainment Weekly, August 9, 2002, p. 73.

Interview, March 2001, p. 95.

People, November 10, 2003, p. 165.

Publishers Weekly, July 4, 1994; January 6, 2003.

Online

"Biography for Dolly Parton," Internet Movie Database, http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000573/bio (January 8, 2004).

"Country Music Awards," Country Music Awards, http://www.cmaawards.com/2003/search_artists/view_artist_17.htm (January 8, 2004).

"Dolly Parton," All Music Guide,http://www.allmusic.com (July 6, 2004).

"Grammy Awards," Grammy Awards, http://www.grammy.com/awards/search/index.aspx (January 8, 2004).

—B. Kimberly Taylor andKen Burke

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Parton, Dolly

Dolly Parton

Singer, songwriter

National Media Celebrity

Legend Continued

Selected discography

Sources

Legendary country-and-western singer/songwriter Dolly Parton is one of the few American country and western musicians to achieve international acclaim; in fact, her career is virtually unprecedented in music history. With twenty-two number one hit singles and ten gold and platinum albums to attest to her talent, Parton has moved far from her humble East Tennessee roots to become a cultural icon. She pursued entrepreneurial business and philanthropic endeavors and performed in numerous films and television shows. Although she began performing at the age of 12, her career began to blossom in 1967, and by 1999, she was known throughout the world as a premier country singer and American music/film media celebrity along the lines of Elvis, Madonna, and Cher. By 1999, Dolly Parton Enterprises became a $100 million media empire. Earlier, in 1986, her company opened a sprawling theme park, Dolly-wood, in Tennessee that celebrated her Smoky Mountain upbringing. Nominated for 70 music awards between 1968-99, she has won 34 of them. She was also nominated for an Oscar for composing the title song for the film 9 to 5 in 1980. Her ascent to fame, both impressive and unprecedented, has generated at least 16 booksone autobiographyas well as countless articles and numerous web sites.

Born Dolly Rebecca Parton in Servier, Tennesee, on January 19, 1947, she was the fourth child of twelve born to Robert Lee Parton and Bessie Elizabeth Rayfield. She was raised in Locust Ridge, only a few miles from Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, the area of the Smoky Mountain country where her theme park, Dollywood, is now located. Her 1971 autobiographical single, Coat of Many Colors, details her poverty as one of twelve children growing up on a run-down farm. Parton first began singing by joining the gospel choir in her grandfathers church as a young child. In 1959, at the age of twelve, Parton had appeared on Knoxville television as a singer and by the age of thirteen she was recording on the small label Gold Band and appearing at the Grand Ole Opry. She released her debut album Puppy Lovein 1960 at the age of thirteen. After graduating from high school, Parton moved to Nashville to launch her career as a country-and-western singer. There she met Carl Thomas Dean, her future husband, at a laundromat. They married in Ringgold, Georgia on May 30, 1966.

National Media Celebrity

In 1967, Parton released Hello Im Dolly on the Monument label, followed by Just Between You and Me with Porter Wagoner the following year on RCA/Victor. Wagoner had liked her 1967 single, Dumb Blonde, and hired Parton to appear on his television show, where

For the Record

Born Dolly Rebecca Parton on January 19, 1947, in Servier, TN; fourth child of twelve; father, Robert Lee Parton; mother Bessie Elizabeth Rayfield; married Carl Thomas Dean on May 30, 1966; children: one daughter Virginia.

Began by joining the gospel choir in her grandfathers church as a young child; appeared on Knoxville television as a singer by the age of 12; began appearing at the Grand Ole Opry at 13; released Puppy Love, Gold Band Records, 1960; moved to Nashville after graduating from high school; released Hello, Im Dolly, 1967; released Just Between You and Me with Porter Wagoner the following year; appeared on Wagoners television show, where their duet performances became popular; released 21 albums between 1968-72; saw 22 number one hit singles; received ten gold and platinum albums between 1968-98; appeared frequently on television specials and talk shows in the late 1970s; made her film debut in 9 to 5, 1980 and received an Oscar nomination for composing the films title song; opened Dollywood, 1986; formed the Dollywood Broadcasting Company, 1990; composed Whitney Houstons number one R&B single, I Will Always Love You, 1994.

Awards: Received five Academy of Country Music (ACM) Awards; five American Music Awards (AMA); eight Country Music Association (CMA) awards;four Grammy Awards; ten Music City News (MCN) awards; two Nashville Songwriters Association, International (NASAI) awards;

Addresses: Home Dolly Parton, Crockett Road, Route #1, Brentwood, TN 37027; Manager Jim Morey, Morey & Associates, 245 North Maple Drive, Suite 300, Beverly Hills, CA 90210, (310) 278-0808; fax (310) 205-6199.

their duet performances became popular. She released an astounding 21 albums between 1968-72. When her Joshua album reached number one in 1970. Partons fame soon overshadowed Wagoners. Although she continued to release albums with Wagoner periodically over the course of her long career, she struck out on her own as a solo recording artist and songwriter in 1974. By 1974, she had released 28 albums and had won seven music awards, one of thema Music City News Award (MCN) in 1968for Most Promising Female Artist. The Country Music Association (CMA) nominated her as Female Vocalist of the Year every year between 1968-72, and again from 1974-79.

Parton appeared frequently on television specials and talk shows in the late 1970s, which further fueled public interest in her celebrity. Her cheerful disposition, good looks, flamboyant conversational and dress style, and winning smile endeared her to millions of viewers and her immense country music vocal/songwriting talent endeared her to millions of listeners. She made her film debut in 1980 in 9 to 5, co-starring with Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda. Two years later, in 1982, she appeared in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, and, in 1984, she starred with Sylvester Stallone in Rhinestone, a film in which the two sang a duet. The single Tennessee Homesick Blues from the film earned Parton another Grammy nomination.

Parton released The Best of Dolly Partonin 1975, which went RIAA Gold in August of 1978, and released Here You Come Again in 1977, which successfully blended country with pop and dance music, and crossed most musical lines. Here You Come Again was Partons second gold album. It went platinum in April of 1978. Her third gold album, Great Balls of Fire, was released in 1979. She released her fourth gold album, Dolly Partons Greatest Hits, in 1982 and this album also went platinum. The next album to reach gold status was 1984s Once Upon A Christmas, which also went platinum. 1987s Trio went gold and platinum; 1989s White Limozeen went gold; 1991s Eagle When She Flies reached gold and platinum status, as did 1993s Slow Dancing with the Moon. Her last release to reach gold and/or platinum status was Dolly Parton: Her Greatest Hits in 1998. Where many musicians are hard-pressed to attain even an eighth of her musical output, Parton managed to released 87 albums between 1960-98.

Legend Continued

Parton continued to garner awards after her first nomination in 1968, and was nominated for awards almost yearly up until 1997. She collaborated with numerous other musicians other than Porter Wagoner over the years including, Kitty Wells in 1980 for Dolly Parton and Kitty Wells, Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, and Brenda Lee in 1982 for Kris, Willie, Dolly and Brenda: The Winning Hand, Kenny Rogers in 1984 for Once Upon a Christmas, Linda Rondstadt and Emmylou Harris in 1987 for Trio, Billy Ray Cyrus, Tanya Tucker, Kathy Mattea, Mary Chapin-Carpenter, and Pam Tillis in1993 for Romeo, Loretta Lynn and Tammy Wynette in 1994 for Honky Tonk Angels. Honkey Tonk Angels. Honky Tonk Angels also garnered a Country Music Award (CMA) Vocal Event of the Year nomination.

Parton began the new year in 1999 with the January release of Dolly Parton. She also opened the addition of the Southern Gospel Music Hall of Fame and Museum at Dollywood. The museum was a fitting addition to her theme park, considering that Partons grandfather was a preacher and she first starting her singing career in his church.

Parton, a devoted philanthropist, used the 20 dollar annual membership dues for her extensive Dollywood Ambassador Fan Club to support education in Tennessee. In 1997, she dismantled her own fan club after some members complained that she didnt perform often enough for them at Dollywood. She even sent membership dues back to all of her fans. Her reasoning behind this was that she felt many of her fans werent interested in supporting her charitable pursuits and, instead, were merely supporting her fan club. She requested that her fans send money directly to Dollywood Foundation projects. Its this spirit of giving and caring that has characterized both Partons professional and private life. Her endless stream of material and awards over the years reveals how gifted and prolific she is. Her ability to build and maintain a multimillion dollar empire within the short span of one lifetime starting with nothing but the basics and musical abilityrenders Parton nothing less than legendary.

Selected discography

Puppy Love, Gold Band, 1960.

Hello, Im Dolly, Monument, 1967.

Just Between You and Me (with Porter Wagoner), RCA Victor, 1968.

Just Because Im A Woman, RCA Victor, 1968.

Just The Two of Us (with Porter Wagoner), RCA Victor, 1968.

In the Good Old Days When Times Were Bad, RCA Victor, 1969.

My Blue Ridge Mountain Boy, RCA Victor, 1969.

The Fairest of Them All, RCA Victor, 1970.

Porter Wayne and Dolly Rebecca, RCA Victor, 1970.

As Long As I Live, Monument, 1970.

A Real Live Dolly, RCA Victor, 1970.

Once More (with Porter Wagoner), RCA Victor, 1970.

The Best of Dolly Parton, RCA Victor, 1970.

Golden Streets of Glory, RCA Victor, 1971.

Two of A Kind, RCA Victor, 1971.

Joshua, RCA Victor, 1971.

Coat of Many Colors, RCA Victor, 1971.

The World of Dolly Parton, Monument, 1972.

Touch Your Woman, RCA Victor, 1972.

Together Always (with Porter Wagoner), RCA Victor, 1972.

Just The Way I Am, RCA Camden, 1972.

My Tennessee Mountain Home, RCA Victor, 1973.

Love And Music (with Porter Wagoner), RCA Victor, 1973.

Bubbling Over, RCA Victor, 1973.

Mine, RCA Camden, 1973.

Jolene, RCA Victor, 1974.

Porter n Dolly, RCA Victor, 1974.

Love is Like a Butterfly, RCA Victor, 1974.

The Bargain Store, RCA Victor, 1975.

Best of Dolly Parton, RCA Victor, 1975.

Dolly: The Seeker & We Used To, RCA Victor, 1975.

All I Can Do, RCA Victor, 1976.

New HarvestFirst Gathering, RCA Victor, 1977.

Here You Come Again, RCA Victor, 1977.

Heartbreaker, RCA Victor, 1978.

Great Balls of Fire, RCA Victor, 1979.

Dolly Parton and Kitty Wells, Exact, 1980.

Dolly, Dolly, Dolly, RCA Victor, 1980.

Sweet Harmony: Porter and Dolly, RCA Victor, 1980.

9 to 5 (and Odd Jobs), RCA Victor, 1981.

Heartbreak Express, RCA Victor, 1982.

The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, MCA Records, 1982.

Dolly Partons Greatest Hits, RCA Victor, 1982.

Kris, Willie, Dolly & Brenda: The Winning Hand, (with Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, and Brenda Lee) RCA Victor, 1982.

Burlap and Satin, RCA Victor, 1983.

Songbook, Exact, 1984.

The Great Pretender, RCA Victor, 1984.

Rhinestone, RCA Victor, 1984.

Once Upon a Christmas (with Kenny Rogers), RCA Victor, 1984.

Portrait, RCA Victor, 1985.

Real Love, RCA Victor, 1985.

Dolly Parton (Collectors Series), RCA Victor, 1985.

Think About Love, RCA Victor, 1986.

The Best There Is, RCA Victor, 1987.

The Best of Dolly Parton, Volume 3, RCA Victor, 1987.

Trio (with Linda Rondstadt and Emmylou Harris), Warner Brothers, 1987.

Rainbow, CBS Records, 1987.

White Limozeen, CBS Records, 1989.

Best of Dolly Parton, RCA Victor, 1990.

Home for Christmas, CBS Records, 1990.

Eagle When She Flies, Sony (CBS), 1991.

Straight Talk, Hollywood, 1992.

Slow Dancing with the Moon, Columbia, 1993.

Heartsongs: Live from Home, Columbia, 1994.

Honky Tonk Angels, (with Loretta Lynn and Tammy Wynette), Columbia, 1994.

Something Special, Columbia, 1995.

The Essential Dolly Partorn, RCA Victor, 1995.

I Will Always Love You and Other Greatest Hits, Columbia, 1996.

Treasures, Rising Tide, 1996.

Peace Train (CD Single), Flipit, 1997.

I Believe, BMG Special Projects, 1997.

Here You Come Again (from 1977), DCC Records, 1998.

Honky Tonk Songs (CD Single), UNI/DECCA, 1998.

Hungry Again, UNI/DECCA, 1998.

Trio 11 (with Linda Rondstadt and Emmylou Harris), Asylum, 1998.

Dolly Parton, BMG Special Projects, 1999.

Sources

Books

Amdur, Richard, Dolly Close Up/Up Close, Putnum, 1983.

Berman, Connie, The Official Dolly Parton Scrapbook, Grosset and Dunlap, 1978.

Bufwack, Mary A. and Oermann Robert K., Finding Her Voice: The Illustrated History of Women in Country Music, Henry Holt & Company, 1993.

Fleischer, Leonore, Dolly: Here I Come Again, Zebra Books, 1978.

James, Otis, Dolly Parton: A Personal Portrait, Quick Fox, 1978.

Krishef, Robert, Dolly Parton, Lerner Publications Company, 1980.

Nash, Alanna, Behind Closed Doors: Talking with the Legends of Country Music, Alfred A. Knopf, 1988.

Parton, Dolly, Dolly: My Life and Other Unfinished Business, Harper Collins, 1994.

Parton, Willadeene, In the Shadow of a Song: The Story of the Parton Family, Bantam Books, 1985.

Saunders, Susan, Dolly Parton: Gointo Town, Viking, 1985.

Online

http://bestware.net/spreng/dolly/index.html

http://decca-nashville.com/dollyparton

http://www.dolly.net

http://estanley.simplenet.com/dolly/links/html

http.//expressnet.lycos.com/entertainment/celebrities/celebs/Parton.html

http://www.flip.it.records.com

http://members.aol.com/dlyboy/index.html

http://personal.cfw.com/~herlanh/97timmy/97timmy1.html

http://smokykin.com/

B. Kimberly Taylor

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"Parton, Dolly." Contemporary Musicians. . Encyclopedia.com. 21 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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Parton, Dolly

Dolly Parton

American singer and songwriter Dolly Parton (born 1946) was born into poverty but used her talent and determination to become one of the best known women in country and pop music. Her business insight has made subsequent expansion ventures into an empire.

Dolly Rebecca Parton was born in Locust Ridge, Sevier County, Tennessee, on January 19, 1946. She was the fourth of twelve children born to Robert Lee and Avie Lee Parton. Her father was a sharecropper, farming someone else's land in return for a share of the crop, and the family was very poor. The family moved to a new house when Parton was five years old. The house was rundown and required a lot of work, but Robert Parton was proud to own it. Parton's grandfather was a preacher in a Pentecostal church and the family all played music and sang in the church.

Parton began writing music and playing the guitar when she was seven years old. She would sing everywhere she went, always trying to get her siblings to sit in front of her while she performed. She would even occasionally perform for the chickens, pigs, and ducks. "They didn't applaud much, but with the aid of a little corn, they could be counted on to hang around for a while," she wrote in her autobiography, Dolly: My Life and Other Unfinished Business. Sometimes she got to sing in front of real audiences when the Parton girls would sing at area churches.

Started Singing Professionally

Parton's uncle, Billy Earl Owens, recognized her musical talent early in her life. He taught her to play the guitar and songwriting. In 1956, he brought her to the attention of Cas Walker. Walker owned a grocery store chain and used a show on the radio to promote his stores. When she was ten years old, Parton sang on the show in front of a live audience in Knoxville, Tennessee. The crowd cheered. "At that very moment I fell in love with the public. This was what I had always wanted—no, needed. It was the attention I had longed for. I knew what they were giving me. Now I had confidence in what I had to give them," she wrote.

Parton desperately wanted to sing at the Grand Ole Opry, but it was difficult to get a spot on the program. Then, when she was twelve years old, Jimmy C. Newman gave her his spot, and she got her chance.

Henry Owens, Parton's uncle, was in the service in Lake Charles, Louisiana, and lived next door to Gold Band Records recording studio. He became friends with the owner and arranged for Parton to come down and make a recording. In 1960, she recorded two songs that she had written with her Uncle Bill, "Puppy Love" and "Girl Left Alone."

Parton became determined to find success. One day, when she was sixteen years old, she and her Uncle Bill waited all day at Tree Publishing until someone would see them. The waiting paid off, and when they got their appointment that evening, they signed a deal and Parton got a recording session with Mercury Records. She recorded "It May Not Kill Me (But It's Sure Gonna Hurt)" and "I Wasted My Tears (When I Cried Over You)." She was thrilled when she heard it play on WIVK, the Knoxville radio station.

Parton began to create her image. "I always wanted to be prettier," she said, according to People. "I got to fixin' myself up. I wanted my clothes tight, my makeup bright, my nails long, my lips red. I got into it."

Moved to Nashville

In 1964, Parton was the first person in her family to graduate from high school and the very next day she headed for Nashville, Tennessee. "Early next morning I boarded a Greyhound bus with my dreams, my old guitar, the songs I had written, and the rest of my belongings in a set of matching luggage—three paper bags from the same grocery store. I had asked whatever relatives could afford to give me a graduation gift to please make it cash. I didn't want any additional baggage, and I knew I would need the money for a grub stake until I became a star. I genuinely thought that would happen before my little bit of money ran out," she wrote.

Parton rented a tiny apartment over a laundromat called the Wishy Washy. Soon after she moved in, she was outside, waiting for her clothes to dry, when a man drove by and stopped to chat. His name was Carl Thomas Dean. He stopped by several more times and finally asked her out on a date. On their first date, he took her to his parents' house for dinner. He told his mother, "Fix this girl a plate," wrote Parton. "She's the one I'm going to marry."

Parton got her first big break with Fred Foster who signed her and her Uncle Bill to a deal. Foster invested in Parton, buying her clothes and promoting her career by securing appearances on American Bandstand and at a jukebox convention in Chicago.

Parton and Carl decided to get married, but Foster warned against it, thinking she might have more record-buying appeal if she was single. Parton told Foster she would wait, but then she and Carl secretly got married in Ringgold, Georgia, on May 30, 1966, at the Ringgold Baptist Church. They kept it a secret for a year.

Made It Big

In 1967, Parton's hit "Dumb Blonde" made it into the top ten on the country charts. This caught the attention of Porter Wagoner, who had a country music show on television. He asked Parton to sing on his show for $60,000 a year. Parton knew that she had found success.

Parton's relationship with Wagoner was tumultuous. He taught her a lot about entertaining and was generous with information. "I could sing when I met Porter. After knowing him, I knew how to perform," wrote Parton in her book. However, she also resented Wagoner's need to control her career, pushing her uncles out of the way. He also pressured her to leave Monument Records and sign with RCA, which she eventually did. Despite the rocky relationship, Parton stayed with Wagoner through 1974, and Wagoner did a lot to launch her career. He continued to produce her records until 1977.

In 1970, Parton released "Joshua," which was a big hit. In 1971, both "Joshua" and "Old Time Preacher Man" won Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) Awards. "I have since won many awards and honors, but those still stand out as special," Parton wrote in her book.

In 1973, Parton released "Jolene," and in 1974, she released "I Will Always Love You" and "Love is like a Butterfly." Along with "Joshua," these hit number one on the country charts. Between 1968 and 1972, she released an amazing 21 albums and each of those years she was nominated by the Country Music Association as Female Vocalist of the Year. After this success, the time had come to leave Wagoner. She received the same nomination every year from 1974 to 1979. Two songs were written with Porter Wagoner in mind. "I Will Always Love You" was written in appreciation of all he had taught her. "Light of a Clear Blue Morning" was written when she finally made her decision to go out on her own.

Crossed Over To Pop

Parton put together the Traveling Family Band, made up mostly of family members, and headed out to face the world. She did find success, but she also found that although she made a lot of money, it was not enough to meet all her staff expenses. Therefore, she started her own publishing company, increased her public relations, started considering movie roles, and searched for songs with the potential to cross over from country into pop.

In 1975, Parton released The Best of Dolly Parton, which went RIAA Gold in August of 1978. In 1977, she released Here You Come Again, which included both country and pop music. This also went gold and then platinum in 1978.

In 1976, Parton started her own television show, "Dolly!" The show was not very successful, but a few good things did come out of it. First, one of the shows featured Emmy Lou Harris and Linda Ronstadt. "The three of us really got comfortable with just us, our voices and guitars. The result was some of the most unspoiled, pure country music I have ever been a part of. It was a forerunner of our Trio album," Parton wrote. Kenny Rogers also appeared on the show, and he and Parton later worked together on several other projects.

In 1980, Jane Fonda sent Parton a script for the movie Nine to Five. Initially, she was reluctant to take it since she did not have any training in acting. Her agent, Sandy Gallin, and Fonda both encouraged her to take it. She enjoyed it and received an Oscar nomination for writing the title song, as well as two Grammys for Best Country Song and Best Female Country Vocal Performance.

In conjunction with starring in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas in 1982, Parton re-released "I Will Always Love You." She was the first performer to hit number one twice with the same song. In 1983, she starred in Rhinestone and received a Grammy nomination for the song "Tennessee Homesick Blues." She starred in Steel Magnolias in 1989.

In 1986, Parton founded Dollywood, a theme park near her hometown. Then, in 1988, just outside of Dollywood, she opened the Dixie Stampede & Dinner Show. The Dixie Stampede & Dinner Show was such a success that she proceeded to open additional locations in Branson, Missouri (1992); Myrtle Beach, South Carolina (1995); and Orlando, Florida (2003).

In 1996, Parton started a literacy program in her home-town called the Imagination Library. It provided one book each month to children from birth to their fifth birthday. The program quickly spread throughout the nation. In 2000, the Association of American Publishers (AAP) presented Parton with one of its first AAP Honors and Awards, which is presented to someone outside the industry for promoting books and authors.

In 1999, Parton became a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame. In 2003, Parton was honored by other country music stars with a tribute CD entitled "Just Because I'm a Woman: The Songs of Dolly Parton," sung by female country and pop stars including Melissa Etheridge, Shania Twain, and Norah Jones. In 2004, Parton was honored by the Library of Congress with The Living Legend award. Parton has no plans of retiring. As quoted in America's Intelligence Wire Parton said, "I'll be like Bob Hope, touring when I'm 100."

Books

American Decades CD-ROM, Gale Research, 1998.

Contemporary Musicians, Gale Group, 1999.

Emery, Ralph, 50 Years Down a Country Road, HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., 2000.

Newsmakers 1999, Gale Group, 1999.

Parton, Dolly, Dolly: My Life and Other Unfinished Business, HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., 1994.

Periodicals

America's Intelligence Wire, April 5, 2004; April 14, 2004.

Business Wire, November 3, 2003.

People, November 10, 2003.

Publisher's Weekly, July 4, 1994; January 6, 2003.

Online

"Biography for Dolly Parton," Internet Movie database,http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000573/bio (January 8, 2004).

"Country Music Awards," Country Music Awards website,http://www.cmaawards.com/2003/search_artists/view_artist_17.htm (January 8, 2004).

"Grammy Awards," Grammy Awards website,http://www.grammy.com/awards/search/index.aspx (January 8, 2004).

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Parton, Dolly

DOLLY PARTON

Born: Locust Ridge, Tennessee, 19 January 1946

Genre: Country

Best-selling album since 1990: Eagle When She Flies (1991)

Hit songs since 1990: "Eagle When She Flies," "Rockin' Years"


In many respects Dolly Parton is the quintessential country singer; her poor upbringing in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee and subsequent rise to fame are the components of country legend. Over the years Parton has managed to retain the girlish innocence and sweet soprano voice that propelled her to stardom, even when her records veered toward glitzy overproduction. More than contemporaries such as Reba McEntire and Barbara Mandrell, Parton makes country stardom a personal statement, decorating herself with glittering rhinestones, towering blonde wigs, and pounds of makeup. At her core, however, Parton is still that simple mountain girl from Tennessee, and her best recordings reflect this contrast between wide-eyed child and knowing adult. While she moved away from a pure country sound in the late 1970s, devoting her energies to slick pop music, Parton returned to traditional country in the 1990s and produced some of the finest work of her career.


Country Beginnings and Pop Stardom

Born in the Tennessee mountain town of Locust Ridge, Parton is the fourth of twelve children. Her farmer parents, possessing little cash, paid the doctor who delivered her with cornmeal. As a child in the 1950s Parton sang on radio and television programs in nearby Knoxville. In 1966, at the age of twenty, she signed with Nashville-based Monument Records and recorded her first hit,
"Dumb Blonde," the next year. Although the real-life Parton was crafty and intelligent, the sexy "Dumb Blonde" image stuck, informing the public's perception throughout her career. In the late 1960s she appeared on a television program with country star Porter Wagoner, with whom she enjoyed several duet hits.

Recording solo by the early 1970s, Parton created a remarkable series of country hits, many of which she wrote herself. Drawing upon her childhood experiences, Parton painted tender, loving portraits of her family in "Coat of Many Colors" (1971) and "My Tennessee Mountain Home" (1973). The former, one of her most beloved recordings, describes a coat her mother, too poor to afford clothes, stitched for her out of old rags. When she gets to school the other children laugh at her, even though in Parton's assessment, "I felt I was rich / And I told them of the love / my mama sewed in every stitch." The song, performed in Parton's bell-clear soprano, is a masterpiece of country sentiment, memorable for its ingenuous depth of feeling. Other songs of this period, such as the haunting "Jolene" (1974), deal with adult themes of marital insecurity and jealousy. In 1977 Parton hit with "Here You Come Again," a glossy pop record that brought her new popularity with a mainstream audience.

Parton spent much of the 1980s cultivating her pop base and largely ignoring her longtime country fans, although her soulful work on Trio (1987), an album recorded with fellow singers Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris, was a refreshing exception. During these years Parton also established a career as a movie actress, performing in the films 9 to 5 (1980), The Best Little Whore-house in Texas (1982), and Rhinestone (1984). Always down-to-earth and cheerful, she exhibited a witty, self-deprecating sense of humor, telling interviewers, "I'm not offended by dumb blonde jokes because I know that I'm not dumb. I also know I'm not blonde."


Return to Country Roots

The 1990s witnessed Parton's gradual return to pure country music, a movement that began with the release of White Limozeen in 1989. Produced by country artist Ricky Skaggs, the album benefits from traditional country instrumentation of guitar, steel pedal, banjo, and fiddle, as well as Parton's renewed vocal commitment. Eagle When She Flies (1991) features the hit title song, an ode to female perseverance and strength: "She's a woman / She knows how to dish it out / Or take it all." Slow Dancing with the Moon (1993) is another highlight among Parton's early 1990s recordings. Critics hailed Parton for her childlike grace and simplicity on the expressive title track, her feathery voice supported by a restrained but powerful arrangement. Other songs, such as the lilting "I'll Make Your Bed," reveal a playful sensuality only hinted at in Parton's earlier work: "I'll love you to sleep at night, wake you with a kiss / things that I can't do, I swear you won't miss." Still, Parton's finest music of the 1990s was yet to come. In 1998 she recorded Hungry Again after spending time meditating and fasting in a remote mountain cabin. Composed entirely of her own material, the album finds Parton exploring a range of country music styles, from tough, 1950s-styled honky-tonk to religious gospel, with assurance and maturity.

The subtle, restrained sound and traditional country arrangements of Hungry Again paved the way for Parton's next release, The Grass Is Blue (1999). The album represents a bold artistic step for Parton in that it is her first recording of bluegrass, a traditional country music style characterized by fast banjo playing and tight vocal harmony. While bluegrass has a dedicated following, it is singularly out of place within the contemporary, pop-driven country music industryan indication of just how much risk Parton was taking in recording the album.

To a greater extent than any of Parton's previous work, The Grass Is Blue speaks to her Appalachian childhood and formative musical influences, even when the material is not strictly bluegrass in nature. Beginning with a mournful fiddle solo, pop songwriter Billy Joel's "Travelin' Prayer" is refashioned as a deep bluegrass piece, with Parton sounding, critics noted, more relaxed and loose than she has in years. Approaching the song with power and soul, Parton ends by singing a high-pitched yodel. "Cash on the Barrelhead" is a deep country blues, while "Silver Dagger" conjures an air of mystery through potent use of lyrical imagery. Renouncing her true love for a life of celibacy, Parton's character describes the opposition of her mother: "In her right hand is a silver dagger / She says that I can't be your bride." The harrowing story digs into the dark history and superstition of Parton's mountain upbringing, revealing the mysterious, secretive woman who has always been there, hidden beneath the false eyelashes and layers of makeup. On the up-tempo "I'm Gonna Sleep with One Eye Open" she communicates with the trenchant precision of a blues singer, shouting with emotional urgency. Finally, Parton displays her mastery of gospel music on "I Am Ready," the album's closing track. In what critics describe as an expertly timed performance, Parton offers a powerful display of gospel melisma, a vocal technique in which multiple notes are sung within the same syllable. Brimming with freedom and release, The Grass Is Blue is further enlivened by the nimble banjo picking of Jim Mills.

Building upon the album's surprise popularityit reached the Top 30 on the country album charts and also dented the pop chartsParton quickly recorded two more bluegrass collections, Little Sparrow (2001) and Halos & Horns (2002). The latter contains a fine gospel version of rock group Led Zeppelin's 1970s hit, "Stairway to Heaven."

The homespun, traditional mountain woman and flamboyant Las Vegasstyled diva form equally important elements of Parton's musical personality. She is both the small-town girl dreaming of life in the big city and the glittering woman who is no longer sure of what she wants once she gets there. After years of pop stardom, Parton's renewed artistic fulfillment came through a return to her roots, allowing her to record the soulful bluegrass music closest to her heart.

SELECTIVE DISCOGRAPHY:

Hello, I'm Dolly (Monument, 1967); Coat of Many Colors (RCA, 1971); Jolene (RCA, 1974); Here You Come Again (RCA, 1977); Trio (Warner Bros., 1987); White Limozeen (Columbia, 1989); Eagle When She Flies (Columbia, 1991); Slow Dancing with the Moon (Columbia, 1993); Hungry Again (Decca, 1998); The Grass Is Blue (Sugar Hill, 1999); Little Sparrow (Sugar Hill, 2001); Halos & Horns (Sugar Hill, 2002).

SELECTIVE FILMOGRAPHY:

9 to 5 (1980); The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1982); Rhinestone (1984); Steel Magnolias (1989); Unlikely Angel (1997).

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

A. Nash, Dolly: The Biography (New York, 2003).

david freeland

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Parton, Dolly

Dolly Parton, 1946–, country singer, songwriter, and actress, b. Sevier County, Tenn. Among the most popular country singers of the 1970s and 80s, Parton is known for her Nashville-style flamboyance, talent for self-parody, and intelligent and witty approach to popular, country, and bluegrass music. She began performing (1956–59) as a child star in Knoxville, Tenn., and later collaborated with Porter Wagoner on his television show (1967–74). After moving to the West Coast in 1976 she had continued success, making her debut as an actress in the film 9 to 5, the title song of which became one of her hit recordings. Since 1968 she has been an owner of Dollywood, a popular Great Smoky Mountain theme park located in Pigeon Forge, Tenn.

See her autobiography, My Life and Other Unfinished Business (1994).

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Parton, Dolly

Dolly Parton

Singer and songwriter

For the Record

Selected discography

Sources

No country singer has had greater success in the pop market than Dolly Parton, the curvaceous blonde from Tennessees Smoky Mountains. As much as anyone, writes Gene Busnar in Superstars of Country Music, Dolly has extended the connections between folk traditions and contemporary styles. Much attention has been lavished on Partons gaudy attire, cascading wigs, and outgoing, chatty personality, but beneath the surface glitter lurks a genuine musician determined to enjoy her life and art. As Margo Jefferson observes in Ms. magazine, Parton is making no effort to hide or disguise her origins. She is indelibly country. The vibrato and light twang of her voice evoke the Anglo-Saxon ballads of the Southern mountains, and the jigs and reels of the early string bands. Her rhythmic fluidity suggests the affinity for black blues and church singing that always lies beneath the surface of so much country music. And she has been experimenting with assorted styles since her first recordings. Concerning Partons association with the stereotypical dumb blonde, those who know her characterize her as an astute businesswoman with unrelenting ambitions. Busnar states, Dolly makes it crystal clear that she is the brains behind all those wigs. The performer herself puts it more succinctly in Ms.: If people think Im a dumb blonde because of the way I look, then theyre dumber than they think I am. If people think Im not very deep because of my wigs and outfits, then theyre not very deep. If I was trying to really impress men or be totally sexy, I would dress differently.

Partons affinity for fancy hairstyles and jewel-studded dresses stems in large part from her impoverished upbringing in Sevier County, Tennessee. She was born near the Smoky Mountains in 1946, the fourth of eleven children of Robert Lee and Avie Lee Parton. According to Busnar, the pain of growing up poor and hungry weighed heavily on the young girl and, like Cinderella in the fairy tale, Dolly dreamed that someone would magically turn her shack into a palace and her raggedy clothes into magnificent gowns. Partons romantic visions of wealth soon gave birth to an iron determination to succeed. If she wanted to get rich and give her farmer parents an easier life, she realized she would have to make a name for herself. I knew Id be the first member of my family in generations to leave the mountains and actually go out in the world, she said in Busnars account. I never doubted Id make it. Parton began writing songs and singing at the age of seven. She made her professional debut on a Knoxville radio show at ten and had secured a guest appearance at the Grand Ole Opry at twelve. Parton told Ms., I got so much applause, it just confirmed what I believed. I thought: Well, this is for me. I am definitely destined to be a star. Im going to make a lot of money. Im going to

For the Record

Full name Dolly Rebecca Parton; born January 19, 1946, in Sevier County, Tenn.; daughter of Robert Lee (a farmer) and Avie Lee (Owens) Parton; married Carl Dean (a contractor) May 30, 1966. Education: Graduated from high school in Sevier County, Tenn.

Singer/songwriter, 1956. Singer on the Cass Walker Program, Knoxville, Tenn., 1956; appeared at the Grand Ole Opry, 1958; co-star of The Porter Wagoner Show, 196774; solo artist, 1974. Formed and headed Dolly Parton and the Traveling Family Band, c. 197077; star of the musical variety show Dolly, 1987, ABC-TV. Feature films include Nine to Five, 1980, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, 1982, and Rhinestone, 1984 (also wrote songs for the soundtracks). Owner of the theme park Dolly wood, in Sevier County, Tenn.

Awards: Grammy Award, 1978, for Here You Come Again; recipient of Peoples Choice awards, 1980 and 1988; named female vocalist of the year by the Academy of Country Music, 1980; Academy Award nomination, 1981, for song Nine to Five ; (with Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt) Album of the Year award from the Academy of Country Music, 1987, for Trio; Grammy Award, 1988, for Trio.

Addresses: Home P.O. Box 1976, Nolensville, TN 37135. Agent Creative Artists Agency, Inc., 1888 Century Park East, Suite 1400, Los Angeles, CA 90067.

buy Mama and Daddy a house. Were going to have clothes, cars

First, however, Parton graduated from high school. Intuitively she felt that she would need an education to help her manage the fantastic career she had planned. Immediately after graduation, she packed a cardboard suitcase and moved to Nashville to begin her career. On her first night in town she met a handsome contractor, Carl Dean, in a Nashville laundromat. They married and pursued their separate interestsParton a singing career, Dean a small business buying and selling farm equipment. Within a year, in 1967, Parton had landed a starring role on the popular Porter Wagoner Show. She began recording duets with Wagoner, himself a country-music superstar, and both their careers were strengthened by the association. Busnar writes, With the addition of Dolly, Wagoner was able to successfully combine traditional folk elements with rock and pop influences to put on a show rivaled only by Johnny Cash and his troupe. However, Dolly was already looking not only beyond Porter Wagoner, but also beyond the confines of the entire Nashville scene.

In the mid-1970s several female artists began crossing over from country to pop. Parton, who had never sold more than two hundred thousand copies of an album, decided to gamble on her marketability in the pop-music business. It was an audacious move for a performer so strongly identified with countryshe not only ran the risk of alienating her country fans, she also ran the risk of being too eccentric a personality to attract pop listeners. She was fond of saying, Im not leavincountry, Im just takin it with me, as she fired her backup band and signed on with a Los Angeles-based management company. For Parton, the move to Hollywood was a smart one. Her subsequent songs Here You Come Again, Islands in the Stream, and Nine to Five were million-sellers that appealed as much to her old fans as to her new ones. She also landed film work in the movies Nine to Five, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, and Rhinestone, and only the latter failed to show a hefty profit. By 1981 Parton was an international star. Women especially liked her earthy humor andsurprisinglyher figure-enhancing gowns. Jefferson notes, Isnt it pleasant to be reminded that ruffles, pleats, drapes, sequins, curls, lashes, hoops, spangles, powders and paints can be simply toysentertainment and sports for women quite apart from their value in the game of sexual barter and exchange? Parton, Jefferson says, returned the joy to femininity.

Like many performers, Parton finally succumbed to the stress of her profession. In 1982 she fainted during a performance and was hospitalized for exhaustion and a host of internal problems. According the Scot Haller in People, the crowds were faced by a different Dolly: hoarse, overweight, unhealthy and unhappy. After a long recuperation at her home in Nashville, Parton began working again, but she has never quite regained the pinnacle of success that she had reached before her illness. In 1987 she was given a prime-time television variety show, Dolly, that failed in the ratings. The movie Rhinestone served as proof that she was not a guaranteed draw at the box office. Still, Parton has continued to enjoy a healthy career between her music and her pet project, a theme park called Dollywood that she built near her mountain home in Tennessee. Busnar analyzes Partons musical talents: In her typical fashion, Dolly often jokes about not being a particularly good singer. But, in fact, she is one of our best and most important contemporary female vocalists. Although she is often imitated, Dolly has an unmistakable quality in her voice that somehow combines elements of traditional American folk music, the strength and power of religious music, and her own unique brand of fun. Busnar adds, most importantly, that Partons songwriting skills have helped her become an awesome force in the music business.

Alanna Nash praises Parton for another aspect of her career in Ms., namely her astute (and independently made) career decisions and her preservation of family and marital ties. Dolly Parton has realized the American dream on her own terms, writes Nash. Throughout her career, Parton has followed the classic female paradigm of using the access that comes with personal achievement to create opportunities for those we love. [She] has come to symbolize the Smoky Mountains heritage. For Parton, this heritage has not only meant preserving the old ways, but also making the most out of what you have, and then showing others how to do it too. Parton, who is said to be looking forward to performing until she turns a hundred, told People that the way she looks and dresses is the way she chooses to look and dress. The personality is for real, she said. I dont have to put on makeup to feel like Dolly. I am Dolly.

Selected discography

Just Because Im a Woman, RCA, 1968.

In the Good Old Days, RCA, 1969.

My Blue Ridge Mountain Boy, RCA, 1969.

Fairest of Them All, RCA, 1970.

A Real Live Dolly, RCA, 1970.

Hello, Im Dolly, Monument, 1970.

Best of Dolly Parton, RCA, 1970.

Golden Streets of Glory, RCA, 1971.

Joshua, RCA, 1971.

As Long As I Have Love, Monument, 1971.

Coat of Many Colors, RCA, 1971.

Touch Your Woman, RCA, 1972.

My Favorite Songwriter: Porter Wagoner, RCA, 1972.

Just the Way I Am, Camden, 1973, rereleased, 1986.

My Tennessee Mountain Home, RCA, 1973.

Mine, RCA, 1973.

Real Live Bubbling Over, RCA, 1974.

Love Is like a Butterfly, RCA, 1974.

Best of Dolly Parton, RCA, 1975.

All I Can Do, RCA, 1976.

New Harvest First Gathering, RCA, 1977.

Here You Come Again, RCA, 1977.

Heartbreaker, RCA, 1978.

Great Balls of Fire, RCA, 1979.

Dolly Dolly Dolly, RCA, 1980.

9 to 5 and Odd Jobs, RCA, 1980.

Heartbreak Express, RCA, 1982.

The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, RCA, 1982.

(With Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, and Brenda Lee) Kris, Willie, Dolly, and Brenda: The Winning Hand, Monument, 1982.

Burlap and Satin, RCA, 1983.

Collectors Series, RCA, 1985.

Portrait, RCA, 1986.

Think about Love, RCA, 1986.

The Best of Dolly Parton, Volume 3, RCA, 1987.

The Best There Is, RCA, 1987.

(With Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt) Trio, Warner Brothers, 1987.

Rainbow, Columbia, 1988.

Also recorded The Great Pretender, RCA, and Jolene, RCA.

Sources

Books

Busnar, Gene, Superstars of Country Music, J. Messner, 1984.

Nash, Alanna, Dolly Parton, Reed Books, 1978.

Simon, George T., The Best of the Music Makers, Doubleday, 1971.

Periodicals

Life, March, 1987.

Ms., June, 1979; July, 1986.

New York Times Magazine, May 9, 1976.

People, August 2, 1982; July 9, 1984; May 5, 1986.

Rolling Stone, October 23, 1975; August 15, 1977.

Anne Janette Johnson

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"Parton, Dolly." Contemporary Musicians. . Encyclopedia.com. 21 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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