Music Monday #34: Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton in the 60ies.
Dolly Parton in the 60ies. Yes, she used to be cute.

When I woke up this morning and – still lying half-dead in my bed – switched on the radio, they talked about how it’s Dolly Parton’s 65th birthday today. Happy birthday, Dolly Parton!

Of course with news like these, when they start talking about songs she recorded in the past and her success and they use the past tense, it’s kind of creepy because you’re like, “Okay, why are they talking about Dolly Parton? Did something happen to her? Oh, the suspense!” And then you’re relieved when they say it’s her birthday.

But anyway, the point I want to make is that Dolly Parton, who by the way grew up very poor as the fourth child of twelve, has had an amazing career and wrote some amazing songs. She’s also a very successful business woman. In case you’re unaware, Dolly Parton wrote “I Will Always Love You”, which later was a big success for Whitney Houston, too. But more interesting still is that Elvis Presley wanted to record it. Dolly was thrilled of course, until she found out that by recording it, he also wanted to get half the publishing rights to it. So she stood up to the ‘King’ and said no. And now she’s super rich.

And while she may be slightly scary these days with all that make-up and long fingernails and all sorts of other enhancements, I think her manner is quite endearing, as is her Southern twang.

You can watch her perform ‘Jolene’ in 1974 [alternative link] or watch her perform ‘He’s Alive’ in 1989 [alternative link]. That one actually gives me goosebumps, even though I’m an atheist. Or watch her perform ‘I Will Always Love You’ [alternative link]. Or listen to her song Travelin’ Thru, which she wrote for the movie Transamerica and for which she received an Oscar nomination [alternative link].

Or if you can’t stand Dolly Parton for some odd reason, at least listen to the White Stripes’ version of ‘Jolene’ [alternative link].

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