Saturday, 23 July 2011
Dolly Rebecca Parton (born January 19, 1946) is an American singer-songwriter, author, multi-instrumentalist, actress and philanthropist, best known for her work in country music.
She is one of the most successful female country artists, garnering the title of "The Queen of Country Music," with 25 number-one singles. and a record forty-one top-10 country albums. She has the distinction of having performed on a top-five country hit in each of the last five decades and is, along with Reba McEntire, one of the only two country artists having had No. 1 singles in each of four consecutive decades
Parton began performing as a child, singing on local radio and television programs in the Eastern Tennessee area. By age nine, she was appearing on The Cas Walker Show on both WIVK Radio and WBIR-TV in Knoxville, Tennessee. At thirteen, she was recording on a small Louisiana label, Goldband Records, and appeared at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee. It was at the Opry where she first met Johnny Cash who encouraged her to go where her heart took her, and not to care what others thought. The day after she graduated from high school in 1964, Parton moved to Nashville taking many traditional elements of folklore and popular music from East Tennessee with her.
Parton's initial success came as a songwriter, writing two top ten hits with her uncle Bill Owens, Bill Phillips's "Put it Off Until Tomorrow" and Skeeter Davis' 1967 hit "Fuel to the Flame". She also wrote a minor chart hit for Hank Williams Jr during this period. She had signed with Monument Records in late 1965, where she was initially pitched as a bubblegum pop singer, earning only one national-chart single, "Happy, Happy Birthday Baby," which did not crack the Billboard Hot 100.
The label agreed to have Parton sing country music after her composition, "Put It Off Until Tomorrow," as recorded by Bill Phillips (and with Parton, uncredited, on harmony), went to number six on the country-music charts in 1966. Her first country single, "Dumb Blonde" (one of the few songs during this era that she recorded but did not write), reached number twenty-four on the country-music charts in 1967, followed the same year with "Something Fishy," which went to number seventeen. The two songs anchored her first full-length album, Hello, I'm Dolly
On May 30, 1966, she and Carl Thomas Dean were married in Ringgold, Georgia. She had met Dean at the Wishy-Washy Laundromat two years earlier on her first day in Nashville. His very first words to her were: "Y'all gonna get sunburnt out there, little lady."
Dean, who runs an asphalt road-surface-paving business in Nashville, has always shunned publicity and rarely accompanies her to any events. According to Parton, he has only ever seen her perform once. However, she has also commented in interviews that, although it appears they do not spend much time together, it is simply that nobody sees him. She has also commented on Dean's romantic side claiming that he will often do spontaneous things to surprise her, and sometimes even writes her poems.
The couple partly raised several of Parton's younger siblings at their home in Nashville, leading her nieces and nephews to refer to her as "Aunt Granny"; she has no children of her own.
The couple are also the sole guardian of a family friend’s son, whose parents died within two years of each other, though in keeping with the very private nature of the family, not much is known.
On May 30, 2011, they celebrated their 45th anniversary. Later, she said, “We’re really proud of our marriage. It’s the first for both of us. And the last.”
1967–1975: Country music success
In 1967, country entertainer Porter Wagoner invited Parton to join his organization, offering her a regular spot on his weekly syndicated television program The Porter Wagoner Show, as well as in his road show.
Initially, much of Wagoner's audience was unhappy that Norma Jean, the performer whom Parton had replaced, had left the show, and was reluctant to accept Parton (sometimes chanting loudly for Norma Jean from the audience). With Wagoner's assistance, however, Parton was eventually accepted. Wagoner also convinced his label, RCA Victor, to sign Parton. RCA decided to protect their investment by releasing her first single as a duet with Wagoner. That song, a cover of Tom Paxton's "The Last Thing on My Mind," released in late 1967, reached the country top ten in January 1968, launching a six-year streak of virtually uninterrupted top ten singles for the pair.
Parton's first solo single for RCA, "Just Because I'm a Woman," was released in the summer of 1968 and was a moderate chart hit, reaching number seventeen. For the remainder of the decade, none of her solo efforts – even "In the Good Old Days (When Times Were Bad)", which later became a standard – were as successful as her duets with Wagoner. The duo was named Vocal Group of the Year in 1968 by the Country Music Association, but Parton's solo records were continually ignored. Wagoner and Parton were both frustrated by her lack of solo success, because he had a significant financial stake in her future – as of 1969, he was her co-producer and owned nearly half of Owepar, the publishing company Parton had founded with Bill Owens.
By 1970, both Parton and Wagoner had grown frustrated by her lack of solo chart success, and Porter had her record Jimmie Rodgers' "Mule Skinner Blues", a gimmick that worked. The record shot to number three on the charts, followed closely, in February 1971, by her first number-one single, "Joshua." For the next two years, she had a number of solo hits – including her signature song "Coat of Many Colors" (number four, 1971) – in addition to her duets. Though she had successful singles, none of them were blockbusters until "Jolene". Released in late 1973, the song topped the singles chart in February 1974 (it would eventually also chart in the UK, reaching #7 in 1976, representing Parton's first UK success). Parton and Wagoner performed their last duet concert in April 1974, and she ceased appearing on his TV show in mid-1974, though they remained affiliated, with him helping to produce her records through 1976. The pair continued to release duet albums, their final release being 1975's Say Forever You'll Be Mine.
In 1974, her song, "I Will Always Love You," written about her professional break from Wagoner, went to number one on the country music charts. Around the same time, Elvis Presley indicated that he wanted to cover the song. Parton was interested until Presley's manager, Colonel Tom Parker, told her that it was standard procedure for the songwriter to sign over half of the publishing rights to any song Elvis recorded. Parton refused, and that decision is credited with helping to make her many millions of dollars in royalties from the song over the years. It was decisions like these, in fact, that caused her to be called "The Iron Butterfly" in show business circles
In concert and on tour
Parton toured extensively from the late 1960s until the early 1990s. In the 60's and 70's, Parton toured alongside other country musicians including Porter Wagoner, George Jones and Linda Ronstadt. Parton toured as a headline act in 1977 and 1978 for promote her albums, Here You Come Again and Heartbreaker. From 1984 to 1985, she toured alongside Kenny Rogers for the "Real Love Tour". She continued touring in 1986 with the "Thinkin' About Love Tour" and in 1989 for the "White Limozeen Tour". Her only tour in the 1990s was the "Eagle When She Files Tour" which was performed in 1991 and 1992. In 2002 she returned to the concert stage; she later went on the Backwoods Barbie Tour in 2008 promoting Backwoods Barbie
The Dollywood Company
Parton invested much of her earnings into business ventures in her native East Tennessee, notably Pigeon Forge. She is a co-owner of The Dollywood Company, which operates the theme park Dollywood (a former Silver Dollar City), a dinner theatre, Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede, and the waterpark, Dollywood's Splash Country, all in Pigeon Forge.
Dollywood is ranked as the 24th-most-popular theme park in the U.S., with about three million visitors annually. The area is a thriving tourist attraction, drawing visitors from large parts of the Southeastern and Midwestern U.S. This region of the U.S., like most areas of Appalachia, had suffered economically for decades; Parton's business investment has helped revitalize the area.
The Dixie Stampede business also has venues in Branson, Missouri, and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. A former Dixie Stampede location in Orlando, Florida closed in January 2008 after the business's land and building were sold to a developer. Starting in June 2011, the Myrtle beach location became Pirates Voyage Fun, Feast & Adventure; Parton appeared for the opening, and the South Carolina General Assembly declared June 3, 2011 Dolly Parton Day.
Awards and honors
Parton is one of the most-honored female country performers of all time. The Record Industry Association of America has certified 25 of her single or album releases as either Gold Record, Platinum Record or Multi-Platinum Record. She has had 26 songs reach number one on the Billboard country charts, a record for a female artist. She has 42 career-top-10 country albums, a record for any artist, and 110 career-charted singles over the past 40 years. All inclusive sales of singles, albums, hits collections, paid digital downloads and compilation usage during Parton's career have reportedly topped 174 million records around the world.[
She has received eight Grammy Awards and a total of 45 Grammy Award nominations. At the 2011 Grammies she was given a Lifetime Achievement Award. At the American Music Awards she has won three awards, but has received 18 nominations. At the Country Music Association, she has received 10 awards and 42 nominations. At the Academy of Country Music, she has won seven awards and 39 nominations. She is one of only six female artists (including Reba McEntire, Barbara Mandrell, Shania Twain, Loretta Lynn, and Taylor Swift), to win the Country Music Association's highest honor, Entertainer of the Year (1978). She has also been nominated for two Academy Awards and a Tony Award.
She was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Recording in 1984, located at 6712 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California; a star on the Nashville Star Walk for Grammy winners; and a bronze sculpture on the courthouse lawn in Sevierville. She has called that statue of herself in her hometown "the greatest honor," because it came from the people who knew her.
Parton was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in 1969, and in 1986 was named one of Ms. Magazine's Women of the Year. In 1986, Parton was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. In 1999, Parton received country music's highest honor, an induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame. She received an honorary doctorate degree from Carson-Newman College (Jefferson City, Tennessee) in 1990. This was followed by induction into the National Academy of Popular Music/Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2001. In 2002, Parton ranked number four in CMT's 40 Greatest Women of Country Music.
She was honored in 2003 with a tribute album called Just Because I'm a Woman: Songs of Dolly Parton. The artists who recorded versions of Parton's songs included Melissa Etheridge ("I Will Always Love You"), Alison Krauss ("9 to 5"), Twain ("Coat of Many Colors"), Me'Shell NdegéOcello ("Two Doors Down"), Norah Jones ("The Grass is Blue"), and Sinéad O'Connor ("Dagger Through the Heart"); Parton herself contributed a rerecording of the title song, originally the title song for her first RCA album in 1968. Parton was awarded the Living Legend Medal by the U.S. Library of Congress on April 14, 2004, for her contributions to the cultural heritage of the United States.
This was followed in 2005 with the National Medal of Arts, the highest honor given by the U.S. government for excellence in the arts and is presented by the U.S. President.
On December 3, 2006, Parton received the Kennedy Center Honors from the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts for her lifetime of contributions to the arts. Other 2006 honorees included Zubin Mehta, Steven Spielberg, Smokey Robinson and Andrew Lloyd Webber. During the show, some of country music's biggest names came to show their admiration. Carrie Underwood performed Parton's hit "Islands in the Stream" with Rogers, Parton's original duet partner. Krauss performed "Jolene" and duetted "Coat of Many Colors" with Twain. McEntire and Reese Witherspoon also came to pay tribute.
On November 16, 2010, Parton accepted the Liseberg Applause Award, the theme park industry's most prestigious honor, on behalf of Dollywood theme park during a ceremony held at IAAPA Attractions Expo 2010 in Orlando