It’s the incomparable Dolly Parton’s birthday! For someone quoted as saying, ““If you see someone without a smile, give them yours.”, she sure has made a lot of folks smile with her quick wit, amazing songwriting talent and one of a kind vocals. She’s not just a talented singer/songwriter, the woman is an all ’round “knock em on their butts” performer who’s not afraid at laughing at herself. She also supports literacy in our country. Growing up, her father couldn’t read, and she remembers he was sort of ashamed of that fact. She, however, never saw him in that same light. Inspired by her father’s inability to read, the country singer founded the Imagination Library to help kids develop a love of books and reading. I mean, C’MON! The woman is a saint. At least here in the great state of Tennessee we seem to think that! Every month, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, a nonprofit that promotes literacy to children, mails a free book to children registered for the program; enrollment can begin at birth and lasts until a child turns five. My own lil cousin, whom I nicknamed “Monkey” since birth (which she now argues with me is NOT her name, thankyouverymuch) was a recipient of books from her birth until she was 5. I love that it is a program that is still going strong, and from the looks of it, will continue to do so for many, many years to come.
Here are some fun facts about Dolly in honor of her birthday:
Dolly started writing songs as a toddler. Her first song was about her corncob doll named “Little Tiny Tasseltop.” Her mother wrote the lyrics down for her.
She started entertaining small audiences at 8 and had radio and TV appearances in Knoxville at age 10. At age 13, she made the trek to Nashville to appear on the Grand Ole Opry.
Dolly credits her Uncle Bill Owens for helping her get started in the music business. He took her to audition for Cas Walker, which landed her on the Cas Walker Farm and Home Hour TV and radio shows. He also coordinated her a guest appearance spot on the Grand Ole Opry.
Dolly’s first single “Puppy Love” was released in 1959 after a recording session in Louisiana. The song is inspired by her first crush, recording executive Ed Shuler’s son Johnny.
Almost every major record company on Music Row turned Dolly away as a singer, but she eventually signed with Monument Records and later left them for RCA.
Dolly is an EGOT: Meaning she is one of an elite group of people to receive at least one nomination from all four major American award organizations; Emmy, GRAMMY, Oscar and Tony.
Along with writing songs and taking the internet by storm, Dolly has also dabbled in writing books. The superstar has written the following books: “Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics”, “Coat of Many Colors”, “Dream More: Celebrate the Dreamer in You”, “Dolly: My Life and Other Unfinished Business”, “Dolly’s Dixie Fixin’s”, “Just the Way I Am” and “I Am a Rainbow”. Dolly Parton is releasing her first novel with author James Patterson. “Run Rose Run” is set to come out on March 7.
I could go on and on, as she’s one of my favorite female artists of all times. However, I just HAVE to share this hilarious story she told to Jimmy Fallon one night on his show that really got him good. I don’t think I’ve laughed that hard in a long time when I first watched it: (The actual story begins around the 6:09 minute mark)
Some of my favorite Dolly quotes:
“I used to think that when I became a star, I would have candy and cakes and pies any time I felt like it. One need only look at the width of my butt in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas to know that I kept that promise to myself, at least for a while.”
“Everybody always wants to know, ‘How long does it take to do your hair?’ How should I know? I’m never there.”
“These are my weapons of mass distraction.”
“I was the first woman to burn my bra — it took the fire department four days to put it out.”
“It costs a lot to look this cheap.”
When I was on tour in Scotland, I realized really quickly if I wanted to really get the audience to enjoy my show, I’d better learn as many Dolly Parton songs as I could. Their two most requested were ‘9 to 5’ and ‘Coat of Many Colors’. I’ll never forget their reactions when the intro to ‘9 to 5’ would begin. Even the MEN would jump up and start cheering and dancing. It was an out of this world experience! They have a love for Dolly that equals the love most fans of Elvis have for him. Seriously, and I LOVE IT!!!! It’s easy to see that she has impacted the world with her music, her philanthropy, and her love of her fans and family. May we have her around for many more years with lots of new music coming from her for all of us to enjoy!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DOLLY, WE WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU!!