Dolly's Early years:
Dolly Parton was born Dolly Rebecca Parton on January 19, 1946 in Sevierville, Tennessee, the fourth of 12 children. She grew up dirt poor, and performed from an early age on local radio and television shows. When she was a teenager, she met Johnny Cash at the Grand Ole Opry, and he encouraged her to follow her dreams. The day after graduating from high school, she packed up her things and moved to Nashville.
Dolly on the Porter Wagoner Show:
She was signed to Monument Records in 1965, and by 1967, she was asked to join the weekly syndicated television show, the Porter Wagoner Show, replacing Norma Jean. At first audiences didn't take to Parton, but with Wagoner's assistance, she was finally accepted. The two performed together, and Wagoner convinced his label, RCA, to sign Parton. Her first single was a duet with Porter, "The Last Thing on My Mind," and it reached the Top 10 early in 1968. Thus began a six-year streak of hits together.
Solo Success Slow in Coming:
Her records recorded with Porter did well on the charts, but her solo efforts stalled. By 1970, both Porter and Wagoner were frustrated at her lack of solo success, and Porter had her sing Jimmie Rodgers' "Mule Skinner Blues," and that worked. The song went right up the charts, and she had her first Top 5 song. It wasn't long after that, she had her first No. 1, "Joshua."
The Break with Porter Wagoner:
After releasing her blockbuster single "Jolene" in 1974, she stopped touring with Porter, although she continued to appear on television and sing duets with him until 1976. When she left the show to become a solo act, there were hard feelings, and Parton wrote the song "I Will Always Love You" for Porter about the break.
Dolly's Platinum albums and Motion Pictures:
Dolly had success on both the pop and country charts in the late 1970's into the mid 1980's. She had her own variety show on TV called Dolly! in 1976, but the show only lasted one season. She earned her first million-selling album, with Here You Come Again in 1977. In 1980, she starred in the first of many motion pictures, 9 to 5 alongside Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda.
By 1987, Dolly teamed up with Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt to release the Trio album. The album was critically acclaimed, and produced four Top 10 hits. In 1993, she teamed up with Loretta Lynn and Tammy Wynette for a similar project entitled Honky Tonk Angels. Dolly, Emmlylou and Linda later released Trio II in 1999.
Bluegrass and on through Today:
Starting in 1999, Dolly started recording Bluegrass albums, starting with The Grass is Blue, then Little Sparrow in 2001, and Halos & Horns in 2002.
In 2008, Dolly released Backwoods Barbie on her own record label. She continues touring, and will be traveling across the country and to Europe, and Australia to promote her album in 2008 and 2009.