Dolly Rebecca Parton (born January 19, 1946) is a Country Music
singer-songwriter, actress and businesswoman with over 3,000 songwriting credits to her name. The fourth of 12 children, Parton began singing in her childhood, working on Porter Wagoner's radio show. After a couple of singles on Monument Records, she was signed to RCA Victor Records in 1968. A few modest hits came in the next couple of years, followed by the Number One "Joshua" in 1970. She stayed with RCA through the 1970s
and into the 1980s
, then switched to Columbia Records
and stayed there until 1995. In her career, Parton charted 25 Number One singles, counting two different versions of her Signature Song
"I Will Always Love You". Also included in her total is a duet with Brad Paisley
, "When I Get Where I'm Going", which in early 2006 made Parton the oldest female artist to chart a Number One country song. Of course, Parton has earned several awards just for her music, including seven Grammy Awards.
But her career is far more than just singing. Parton has starred in the movies 9 to 5
and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas
, both of which earned her Golden Globe nominations. She has also starred in several television series, mostly in cameo or performing roles.
Parton is known for her campy, big-breasted image, as well as joking about her large amounts of plastic surgery. But underneath it all, she has a really big... heart
, including several philanthropic efforts and even her own theme park, Dollywood (which is in itself something of a philanthropic effort, bringing a large amount of money and jobs to the chronically poverty-stricken Appalachian region.) She's also well known in the gay community for her support of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues.
Tropes present in her work:
- Buxom Is Better: Perhaps the Most Triumphant Example.
- Cover Version: A fairly good bluegrass version of Collective Soul's "Shine", for one.
- Drag Queen: Dolly has stated before that were she born a man, she has no doubt she would be a drag queen. She's also a huge supporter of any queens who lip sync her in their act.
- Dumb Blonde: "I'm not offended by all the dumb blonde jokes, because I know I'm not dumb. And I'm not blonde." ("Dumb Blonde" was also the title of Parton's first hit, from 1967.)
- Everything Is an Instrument: Parton clicked her fingernails together rhythmically on "9 to 5" to simulate the sound of a Rhythm Typewriter.
- Happily Married: Still with her first husband since 1966.
- I Am Song: "Backwoods Barbie", written for 9 to 5: The Musical and recorded by Dolly herself.
- Reality Is Unrealistic / Your Costume Needs Work: She once lost a Dolly Parton lookalike contest, and even better, the other competitors were Drag Queens. She says that they probably thought she was a gay midget since she was so much shorter than the rest of them.
- Rerelease the Song: She re-released "I Will Always Love You" in 1982, eight years after the original. Both versions went to #1 on the country charts. She cut it a third time in 1995 with Vince Gill and, although it was never officially released as a single, it went to #15. Whitney Houston's cover is still the more famous version, and Dolly herself loved it.
- Self-Deprecation: Is perfectly willing to joke about her appearance and her breast size.
- Stylistic Suck: Essentially what her signature looks boils down to. She even once told Anderson Cooper that she specifically based it on a woman of ill repute who she knew growing up.
- Title Only Chorus: "I Will Always Love You".
- Wanton Cruelty to the Common Comma: In 1982, she released a single titled "Everything's Beautiful (In It's Own Way)."
- Your Cheating Heart: "Jolene," a rare instance of the song being from the point of view of the person about to be cuckolded.