Dolly Parton is the favorite daughter of the Smoky Mountain area. Her life is a true rags-to-riches, Cinderella story. One of her top songs, Coat of Many Colors was inspired by her own childhood that saw hardships such that the clothes she wore were patched together from already worn out scraps of clothing. Dolly wrote practically all of her own songs, timeless for their heartfelt accounts of hardship, heartache, and love.
An American Icon
Known throughout the world for her music, films, and most of all, her voice, Dolly Parton is an American Icon. Parton has more than 25 songs that reached number one on the Billboard country charts. She has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and a Star on the Nashville Star Walk. For her contributions to the cultural heritage of the United States, the US Library of Congress awarded Dolly the Living Legend Medal in 2004, and she was presented with the National Medal of Arts in 2005.
Dolly's Smoky Mountain Home
Dolly Parton was born in Sevierville, Tennessee in 1946. As young as age 8, Dolly was playing the guitar and making up her own songs. Music was a way to rise above the poverty her family endured, if only for a short time. Her large family, which eventually numbered 12 children in all, shared a run-down one-bedroom log cabin on Locust Ridge. At age 13, Dolly's musical talent was broadcast on Knoxville radio airwaves. Dolly was popular locally, but her talent took her to Nashville. The day after she graduated from Sevier County High School in 1964, she left the hills of East Tennessee and began her journey to international fame.
Dolly Parton met her future Carl Dean on her first day in Nashville at a laundromat. She married him in 1966, two years after they met, but not before she told Dean that she had no plans to give up her pursuit of success as a country singer. Dolly's talent gave her that success when she was asked to join the Porter Wagoner television show as the new "girl singer." Along with the television show, she signed on with the RCA record label. In 1969, Dolly joined the Grand Ole' Opry.
Dolly the Superstar
During the following decade, Dolly wrote and performed many of her most popular songs, such as Just Because I'm a Woman and I Will Always Love You. Her success gave her independence from Wagoner in 1974, and she won the Country Music Association's female vocalist award in 1975 and 1976. In the 1980s, Dolly branched into film when she was cast in the hit movie 9 to 5, which featured her original song of the same title.
Dolly Parton's Achievements
Today Dolly Parton is among the most honored female country performers in the history of music. She has won 11 Grammy awards, including a Lifetime Achievement Grammy in 2011, and has been nominated for fifty. She has had more Top 10 country albums than any other artist and has sold more than 100 million records. Dolly Parton was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in 1969, the Country Music Hall Of Fame in 1999, and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2022.
To top it all off, Dolly even has a bronze statue in her likeness on the courthouse lawn in her hometown of Sevierville, Tennessee. Among all of her awards, she's called the statue of herself at the Sevier County Courthouse the greatest honor because it came from those who already knew her.
Dolly Parton Statue
The Dolly statue in Sevierville is an excellent photo opportunity. The sculpture itself is beautifully crafted in cast bronze, and depicts Dolly perched upon a mountain boulder with a guitar in hand and a song in her heart. The beautiful statue is a tribute to a truly talented artist and a cherished daughter of the Smoky Mountains.Dolly Parton Statue
To visit Dolly's hometown and her statue, take I-40 to exit 407 and proceed south on the parkway for 10 miles. At traffic light number 15.5, make a left onto Bruce Street and then take a left again at Court Avenue. The statue is on the East Lawn of the Sevier County Courthouse, at 125 Court Ave, Sevierville, TN 37862.
Dolly's Smoky Mountain heritage lends a distinct voice from the Scots-Irish pioneers who made a home in the wilderness of the Smoky Mountains, as does her skillful songwriting ability that carries on East Tennessee's musical traditions. It is this unique heritage that Dolly sought to preserve when she opened Dollywood in Pigeon Forge in 1987 as a showcase for artists and craftsmen of the Smoky Mountains.Dollywood
Because she loved to read when she was growing up in the Smoky Mountains, Dolly established the Imagination Library, which provides free books to children in 40 states. Dolly read anything and everything, including the Farmer's Almanac, the Bible, and even seed packets as a youth in Sevier County. Today one in ten children under the age of 5 receives books from this program.Imagination Library
Each year Dolly returns to Sevier County to open Dollywood. Up until 2018, she would be the grand marshal in what was known as the Dolly Parade. Now, it is known as the Music in the Mountains Spring Parade and it is a sure sign of spring in Pigeon Forge.
Dolly Parton's Stampede
Formerly known as Dixie Stampede, Dolly Parton's Stampede brings an authentic Old West Review show featuring tricks, stunts, music and humor to Pigeon Forge. This is all highlighted by some friendly competition between the North and South. Come join in on the fun at Stampede and see tricks that'll make your jaw drop.Dolly Parton's Stampede
Pirates Voyage Dinner & Show
Pirates Voyage Dinner & Show invites you to join the most famous pirate, Blackbeard, and his quarter master Calico Jack as they lead the Crimson and Sapphire crews in a battle on land, on deck, in water and high above full-sized pirate ships in a 15-foot indoor hideaway lagoon! Dolly's newest show in Pigeon Forge will bring you right into the pandemonium as the crews fight to win Davey Jones coveted sunken treasure.Pirates Voyage