How Dolly Parton Became Famous

Published on April 24, 2021

Dolly Parton’s Early Life

Dolly Parton was born “Dolly Rebecca Parton” in Sevier County, Tennessee in 1946. She’s an American singer-songwriter, actress, musician, and businesswoman. During the mid-70s, Parton is credited with bridging the gap between pop and country music styles. Parton was one of twelve children who grew up in the Smoky Mountain on a tobacco farm. It was here that she lived in a one-room cabin without indoor plumbing or electricity in Locust Ridge.

In Parton’s early songs she sings about her family’s poverty and from then on, she would grow into one of the most notable icons in pop culture. Dolly Parton’s musical talent was largely shaped by her grandfather who was a preacher and played gospel music. Before Parton could even read or write she was making up songs and now she’s sold more than a hundred million records worldwide and has become one of the most honored female singers in history.

Her Career and Musical Achievements

At just eight years old, Dolly would receive her first guitar and by the age of eleven, she was performing and singing on television programs and the local radio. “Puppy Love” was her first recorded song when she was only 13 for the small label Gold Band Records. In 1967, Parton rose to fame as a teenage singing star and she appeared on Porter Wagoner’s popular TV show after releasing “Dumb Blonde,” her first hit single.

Please Don’t Stop Loving Me,” and “The Last Thing On My Mind” was recorded by Porter and Parton over the next few years. They were hits and as a sought-after artist and being an independent young woman, she performed her last duet with Wagoner in 1974. In the US, by 1976, Parton was the most well-known female country performer. She also had her own show and many Country Music Association awards. Parton would win an Academy nomination for the title track in Colin Higgin’s film Nine To Five (1980).

Parton has amassed a $100 million media empire from her larger-than-life persona and good looks and has been an adept entrepreneur. She formed Dolly Parton Enterprises and has her very own amusement parks, Dollywood and Dollywood’s Splash Country which bring in thousands upon thousands of visitors every month to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Dolly Parton still plays concerts, acts, and writes and records music.

Awards and Accolades

In 1999, Dolly Parton was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. She has also received 9 Country Music Association Awards, 7 Academy of Country Music awards, 3 American Music Awards, and 7 Grammy Awards.

Parton’s Personal Life

Dolly Parton is the most enduring female performers in history and she’s a cultural icon that has also campaigned significantly for LGBT rights. In 1966 she married Carl Thomas Dean and the couple doesn’t have any children. Due to a sheep being cloned from the mammary glands of its mother, the first cloned sheep was dubbed “Dolly the sheep.”