Happy Birthday, Dolly Parton!

On a day as important as this one, it is only right to celebrate the amazing life of country singer/actress, Dolly Parton.


Dolly Rebecca Parton was born to Avie Lee Owens and Robert Lee Parton on January 19, 1946 in Locust Ridge, Tennessee. She has twelve siblings, six brothers and six sisters. Dolly Parton grew up pretty poor in rural Appalachia, and money was always a concern for her parents. 

Dolly Parton was introduced to music at a young age from her family members, mostly from her mom who sang and played guitar. Some of her first “performances” were singing at her local church. 

She got her first guitar at age ten and started to perform professionally on local television and radio stations. Three years later she made her debut at the Grand Ole Opry. After her debut, her heart was set on being a musician and moved to Nashville after high school. 

Parton and Wagoner from The Porter Wagoner Show recorded an abundance of country songs. Even from early in her musical career she protected the publishing rights to her songs. In return, she has earned millions of dollars in royalties. 

“As soon as I could, I started my own publishing company, got my own record label. I think it’s important, if you can, to keep all of your goods close to home where you can control them and know what’s happening with them,” Dolly Parton said.

Dolly Parton got her first No. 1 country hit in 1971 with her song “Joshua,” which was inspired by two lonely people who find love. A couple of her other No. 1 hits were in the mid-70s, including “Jolene,” a song in which a woman begs another beautiful woman not to take her man. “I Will Always Love You,” which is a song dedicated to Wagoner when they parted ways professionally. 

In 1975 and 1976, she won the Country Music Association award for best female vocalist. 

In 1980, she starred in the film, 9 to 5, alongside Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, which marked her film debut. The title song had come to have the most memorable opening lines in music history and earned her another No. 1 on both pop and country charts and gained her an Academy Award nomination. 

In 2015 the show Dolly Parton’s Coat of Many Colors, a show about her childhood, aired, starring Alyvia Alyn Lind as young Dolly. 

The next year she had her first No. 1 in 25 years with Pure and Simple. That same year the Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love, the sequel to Dolly Parton’s Coat of Many Colors, came out. 

In 2016, during the 50th Annual Country Music Association Awards, Dolly Parton was the recipient of the Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award. 

In an interview with The Washington Post revolving around Dolly’s Imagination Library, which donates over 10 million books to children annually. “They call me the Book Lady. That’s what the little kids say when they get their books in the mail. They think I bring them and put them in the mailbox myself, like Peter Rabbit or something,” Parton said.