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. To her credit, Parton has more than 25 songs that reached number one on the Billboard country charts, with 110 charted singles and 41 Top 10 albums during her career. 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 U.S. Library of Congress awarded Dolly the Living Legend Medal in 2004.
She earned the nation's highest honor for excellence in the arts when she was presented with the National Medal of Arts in 2005. To top it all off, Dolly even has a bronze statue in her likeness on the courthouse lawn in her hometown of Sevierville, Tennessee. Parton captured the Best Original Song nomination for an Academy Award.
The 2011 Grammys awarded Dolly the coveted Lifetime Achievement Award. Dolly is a seven-time Grammy winner and although she could not make it to accept her Lifetime Achievement Award she sent a video message that was played at the awards ceremony where she stated she’s “working on some new stuff” and she has plans to “win at least seven more Grammys.”
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. It is a tribute to a truly talented artist and a cherished daughter of the Smoky Mountains. To visit Dolly's hometown and her statue, take I-40 to exit 407 and proceed south on The Great Smoky Mountains 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. For more information on Dolly Parton and the Annual Dolly Parade held each year in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, visit our Dolly Parade Photo Gallery!
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 "Music City." 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. "I Will Always Love You", made its debut in the album Just Because I'm a Woman.
Dolly Parton met her future husband Carl Dean on her first day in Nashville at the Wishy Washy 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.
Decades Of Hits
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," a song so successful that even Elvis Presley was interested in covering it. Her success gave her independence from Wagoner in 1974, and she won the Country Music Association's female vocalist award in 1975 and 1976. Dolly Parton received her first Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song for "9 to 5" Trio boasts four singles that reached the Top 10.
Dolly the Superstar
In the 1980s, Dolly became more than just a talented country artist, however. She developed her talents in music and also branched into film when she was cast in the hit movie "9 to 5," which featured an original song of the same title sung by Parton. "9 to 5" became a number one pop hit that earned Dolly an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song.
In 1983, Dolly starred in another silver screen production, "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas," a comedy based on the true story of a house of ill-repute in Austin, Texas. A new rendition of "I Will Always Love You" arranged for the film soared on the charts again, while a duet with Kenny Rogers in 1983 gave Dolly another top pop hit, "Islands in the Stream."
In 1987, Dolly collaborated with Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt in the landmark album Trio which featured four singles that reached the Top 10, while "To Know Him Is To Love Him" reached No. 1. Dolly topped the charts at number one again in 1993 with the single "Why'd You Come in Here Lookin' Like That," and in the same year starred in another successful film, Steel Magnolias. Parton's longtime fan-favorite "I Will Always Love You" reached a new audience when Whitney Houston recorded "I Will Always Love You" for The Bodyguard soundtrack, which was an instant success. Dolly's first entry into Bluegrass, The Grass is Blue gained critical acclaim In Halos and Horns, Dolly sings Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" with her own touch.
Dolly Parton Today
Dolly's first entry into Bluegrass, The Grass is Blue gained critical acclaim. In 1999, Dolly Parton was inducted into the Country Music Hall of fame. In that same year, Dolly worked with an independent music label to produce her new bluegrass album The Grass is Blue, popular with fans and critics alike and winning the International Bluegrass Music Association's Album of the Year and a Grammy for Best Bluegrass Album.
Also in 1999, Dolly starred as herself, albeit animated, in the animated television comedy The Simpsons, where she guest-starred as a Superbowl performer.
2001 saw Little Sparrow, followed by Halos & Horns in 2002, Dolly's response as an artist to the events of September 11. She contributed to the resurgent patriotic climate in the United States with the album For God and Country in 2003. The album Live and Well is her most recent original work, while in 2005 she released a cover album, Those Were the Days, featuring her favorite songs from the 60s and 70s, such as the John Lennon classic "Imagine." Country Music Television features a Music Video of Imagine as sung by Dolly Parton. In 2006, Dolly Parton secured her second Oscar nomination for "Travelin' Thru," which she wrote especially for the film "Transamerica."
In 2011, Parton voiced the character Dolly Gnome in the animated film Gnomeo and Juliet. Other celebrities with roles in the film include Ozzy Osborne, Hulk Hogan and Elton John.
Dolly was deeply moved by the death of Whitney Houston in 2012. Houston made Parton’s “I Will Always Love You” famous again in 1992. Dolly made a statement about her friend’s death:
Mine is only one of the millions of hearts broken over the death of Whitney Houston. I will always be grateful and in awe of the wonderful performance she did on my song, and I can truly say from the bottom of my heart, "Whitney, I will always love you. You will be missed.Dolly Parton
In the Spring of 2013, Dolly and Kenny Rogers reunited for the title song of his album You Can't Make Old Friends. The two were nominated at the 2014 Grammy Awards for Grammy Award for Best Country Duo/Group Performance for their performance on the song.
Dolly is currently gearing up for the release of her 42nd album, Blue Smoke and the following world tour. In Halos and Horns, Dolly sings Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" with her own touch. Dolly recently co-starred with Elvis Presley in a television commercial for the State of Tennessee's department for tourism. The commercial features Elvis and Dolly enjoying a Tennessee Road Trip in a corvette convertible. The video is viewable online at Graceland.com. Although the pair of talented musicians were sure to stop at Graceland on their Tennessee Road Trip, Pigeon Forge and Dollywood is one place Elvis would not want to miss.
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. A visit to Dollywood offers a glimpse into Parton's childhood, and into her belief in the importance of imagination in children's lives. 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. Each year Dolly returns to Sevier County to open Dollywood and star in the Dolly Parade, a sign that warm weather and summer fun is just around the corner in Pigeon Forge.