Often referred to as “The Queen of Country Music,” The American singer-songwriter, author, multi-instrumentalist, actress and philanthropist Dolly Parton was born on this day January 19 in 1946). best known for her work in country music, she has appeared in movies like 9 to 5, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Steel Magnolias and Straight Talk and is one of the most successful female country artists of all time.Dolly Parton was born in Sevierville, Tennessee, and 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 recorded the single “Puppy Love”, 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,” . The label agreed to let Parton sing country music after her composition, “Put It Off Until Tomorrow,” as recorded by Bill Phillips went to number six on the country music charts in 1966. Her first country single, “Dumb Blonde” 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.
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. He encouraged Dolly to sign to his label, RCA Victor. RCA released her first single as a duet with Wagoner. That song, “The Last Thing on My Mind,” was 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 1968 and was a moderate chart hit. For the remainder of the decade, none of her solo efforts were as successful as her duets with Wagoner. The duo were named Vocal Group of the Year in 1968 by the Country Music Association. in February 1971,
For the next two years, she had a number of solo hits including her first number-one single, “Joshua.” and her signature song “Coat of Many Colors”, in addition to her duets she had successful singles, including “Jolene”. which was eleased in 1973 and topped the singles chart in February 1974, reaching No. 7 in the UK in 1976. From 1974 to 1980, she consistently charted in the country Top 10, with no fewer than eight singles reaching number one, and she also had her own syndicated-television variety show, Dolly! (1976–1977). It was also during this period that Parton began to embark on a high profile crossover campaign, attempting to aim her music in a more mainstream direction outside country music.
In Her 1976 album All I Can Do, Parton began taking more of an active role in production, and began specifically aiming her music in a more mainstream, pop direction. Her first entirely self-produced effort, 1977′s New Harvest … First Gathering, highlighted Parton’s pop sensibilities and contained covers of the pop and R&B classics “My Girl” and “Higher and Higher”. In 1978 Parton won a Grammy Award for Best Female Country Vocal Performance for her Here You Come Again album. She continued to have hits with “Heartbreaker” (1978), “Baby I’m Burning” and “You’re the Only One” (both 1979), all of which charted in the pop singles Top 40, and all of which also topped the country-singles chart.
Parton’s commercial success continued to grow during 1980, with three number-one hits in a row: the Donna Summer-written “Starting Over Again”, “Old Flames Can’t Hold a Candle to You”, and “9 to 5,” which topped the country and pop charts in early 1981 and was the theme song to the feature film Nine to Five (1980) in which Parton starred alongside Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin. Parton’s singles continued to appear consistently in the country Top 10 between 1981 and 1985. She also explored new business and entertainment ventures such as her Dollywood theme park, that opened in 1986 in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. By the mid-1980s, her record sales were still relatively strong, in 1987 she released the album Trio (1987) to critical acclaim. The album spent five weeks at number one on Billboard’s Country Albumschart. Throughout the 1980′s 90′s and 2000 ownwards Dolly has continue to enjoy ongoing success.
As well as her Successful Business Ventures, such as Dollywood, her many televison and film appearances and her varied charity work, she has also won many awards and honours, including eight Grammy Awards and a total of 45 Grammy Award nominations, At the 2011 Grammies she was given a Lifetime Achievement Award and at the American Music Awards she has won three awards, At the Country Music Association, she has received 10 awards and At the Academy of Country Music, she won seven awards and 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.
She has also been nominated for two Academy Awards and a Tony Award. She was also awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Recording in 1984. Dolly wasalso inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in 1969, and in 1986 was named one of Ms. Magazine’s Women of the Year. 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. 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. 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.
She is also a keen conservationist and In 2003, her efforts to preserve the bald eagle through the American Eagle Foundation’s sanctuary at Dollywood earned her the Partnership Award from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Parton also received the Woodrow Wilson Award for Public Service from the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars of the Smithsonian Institution at a ceremony in Nashville on November 8, 2007. For her work in literacy, Parton has received various other awards including: Association of American Publishers – AAP Honors Award in 2000, Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval in 2001, American Association of School Administrators – Galaxy Award in 2002, National State Teachers of the Year – Chasing Rainbows Award in 2002 and the Parents as Teachers National Center – Child and Family Advocacy Award in 2003.