“I’m not offended by dumb blonde jokes because I know I am not dumb. I also know I am not blond.” – Dolly Parton
I love Dolly Parton. I love her big voice, her big hair, and her big boobs.
I also admire her. Parton is passionate about early childhood education, and she has done amazing, important work to give kids who are born in her part of the Appalachian Mountains a good start in life with her Dollywood Foundation, which runs The Imagination Library, providing rural Tennessee kids a new book every month until their fifth birthdays. So far, Parton and The Imagination Library have given away more than 60 million books.
Parton is an outspoken advocate for Women’s Rights. A good Christian girl, like Tammy Faye LaValley Bakker Messner, she seems to have actually read The Bible and gets the loving message provided by the life of Jesus. She has been an especially good friend to her gay fans, a longtime supporter Gay Rights and Marriage Equality, even appearing on the cover of Out Magazine.
Parton’s production company, Sandollar Productions, which she started with her longtime manager/business partner/close friend, the late, great Sandy Gallin, an openly gay man who we lost last spring, chose, as its first project, the Academy Award winning documentary about the making of the AIDS Quilt, Common Threads (1989).
The day after she graduated from high school in 1964, she moved to Nashville. Her initial success came as a songwriter, and she wrote several charting singles during this time, including two Top10 hits: Bill Phillips’s Put It Off Util Tomorrow (1966) and Skeeter Davis’s 1967 hit Fuel To The Flame. Her songs were recorded by many artists during in the late 1960s, including Kitty Wells and Hank Williams Jr. She signed with Monument Records in 1965, at 19-years-old; she initially was pitched as a pop singer.
Parton released a string of singles, but the only one charted, Happy, Happy Birthday Baby, yet it did not even crack the Billboard Hot 100. She expressed wanted to record country material, but Monument resisted, thinking her unique voice was not suited to the genre.
After her song Put It Off Until Tomorrow, recorded by Bill Phillips (with Parton, uncredited, on harmony), went to Number Six on the Country Charts in 1966, the label allowed her to record country. Her first country single, Dumb Blonde reached Number 24 on the Country Charts in 1967, followed by Something Fishy, which went to Number 17. The two songs appeared on her first full-length album, Hello, I’m Dolly.
Parton was #BornThisDay in 1946.
Below are videos of five of her earliest performances, just for you: