Home » fun stuff » The Ladies of Rushmore – Heeeere’s Dolly!

The Ladies of Rushmore – Heeeere’s Dolly!

I was raised on country music.  Not that I’d admit it. Then.  Neither would my sisters.  We’d occasionally get caught by friends when we sang along to songs that we weren’t supposed to know.  It may have garnered us more than one disbelieving or bewildered look, followed by a “how come you know this stuff?”  We might have blushed and stuttered some inane reason as to the why we knew ALL the words…  Truth is, I always loved it and am now not shy to admit it, either! Now.

I always knew when my mother was ironing (NOT a regular occurrence, I assure you) because, when I got off the bus on the other side of the field next to our house – back before four houses were added to the lot – I could hear the music blaring through the open windows. Conway Twitty, Merle Haggard, never Johnny Cash coz she just didn’t dig him for reasons unfathomable, Loretta Lynn and, of course, Dolly Parton.  No way in hell you can list the best of the best of country without including Dolly!

Then again, it is unfair to box her into only one genre, singing for one generation. Who else, except maybe Cher, can claim to be an intergenerational celebrity, loved by both the religious right and the gay community; by octogenarians and twenty-somethings?

When you look beyond all the fake, all the make-up, the wigs, the sparkles, you find a proficient businesswoman, accomplished songwriter, brilliant performer and generous philanthropist.  You can’t get more authentic inside all of the outlandish packaging.  Packaging about which she maintains to have never pretended to be anything but honest about.  Her professional career was built on it and she will continue to maintain it until her last breath.  Asked by Barbara Walters why she dressed as she did and wore the wigs when she is naturally beautiful, got this response:

“No, It’s certainly a choice.  I don’t like to be like everyone else.  I’ve often made the statement that I would never stoop so low as to be fashionable. That’s the easiest thing in the world to do.  I just decided that I would just do somethin’ that would at least get the attention. Once they got past the shock of the ridiculous way I looked and all that, then they would see there was parts of me to be appreciated. I’m very real inside. And that’s where it counts… Showbusiness is a money-making joke and I’ve just always liked telling jokes.”

You tell ’em, Dolly!  And really, such an interesting interview, it’s worth the listen, if’n you’re so inclined.

Her first real hit, ironically not written by her, though it could have been, says it, she may look it, but she ain’t no dumb blonde…

Dolly has been writing songs since before she could even write (age 5 and her mother wrote them for her).  She was performing at ten on TV and bought her family a set with her earnings so they could actually see her.  And, she made her debut at the Grand Ole Opry, introduced by Johnny Cash, by age 13, earning three encores.  As if writing over 3,000 songs – each of them a little story – and being nominated and earning all sorts of awards (Country, Pop, British, Canadian, Grammy, Emmy, Oscar Tony…), she holds two Guinness World Records!  She has had a top twenty country hit in six consecutive decades and has had 107 hits to make the chart. Seriously.

Porter Wagoner really put her on the map, though.  She replaced the “girl singer” Norma Jean in the late sixties and was practically booed off the stage.  I wonder how she managed not to gag every time she was introduced as the “pretty little gal”?  She won them all over, of course, and by 1974 was ready to chart her own course.  She wrote “I Will Always Love You” as a parting gift.

If you don’t like the road you’re walking, start paving another one.”

Speaking of that song, she would dearly have loved to have Elvis Presley sing it.  However, Presley’s peeps wanted to own her song and she plumb turned them down, stating it’s her song and no matter how much I would have loved to hear it from his beautiful voice, she would not give it up. Talk about knowing her business!  That song would make her mucho moolah thanks to Whitney Houston’s goose bump-inducing version, which she adored.

Dolly managed to cross over from country to pop and back to country, finally dipping her toe into bluegrass, which, let’s face it, is where it all began.  But singin’ ain’t all this pretty little lady can do as her roles in movies can attest. Did you know Jane Fonda insisted Dolly be brought in for Nine to Five?  Can anyone picture someone else playing Doralee? Or Truvy in Steel Magnolias for that matter? I sure can’t.  Little tidbit:  while in between scenes, Dolly came up with the theme for Nine to Five by “playing” her acrylic fingernails!  I kid you not. Move over washboard, there’s a new instrument in town. I wonder if they include them as one of the ten instruments she plays?  Usually, she uses her banjo when writing songs but hey, if nothing else is available…

Find out who you are and do it on purpose.”

She never hid her desire to become a superstar and is the epitome of generosity when it comes to her fans. She will never gripe about any demands made on her time because she knows this is part and parcel of the deal.  She is ferocious in keeping herself and her views private and will never speak ill of anyone.  No matter how many times she has been asked her opinion on politics, we have been left in the dark. I admire a star who keeps herself far away from any potential scandal.

She is gracious and while never officially stating being a feminist is always there to support her fellow women performers.  Her theme park is fine and dandy but I’d rather focus on her causes: Imagination Library, which gives books to children from birth till they start school, Buddy Program to help students resist dropping out of high school; fundraising to help with fighting fires, fighting for animal rights, donating $1,000,000 towards the Coronavirus vaccine research and more.

Ohmygosh! I have overstayed my welcome!  I’ll spare you more (even though I keep thinking of more things to say!) Dolly Parton’s place on Mount Rushmore, as far as I’m concerned, is not to be denied.

Please make sure you go over to see Marc’s choice for the Male side on Sorryless.

 

 

 

 

102 thoughts on “The Ladies of Rushmore – Heeeere’s Dolly!

  1. Yes! Yes! Yes! I love Dolly Parton. She’s one super talented, really smart dumb blonde. A Recent “Costco Connection” did a nice interview with Dolly. Prince is a good choice on the Sorryless side, also.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Q

    I had no idea Dolly was THIS prolific, but you done showed me she really is. And yanno, I didn’t have the same problem when it came to country music when I was a kid, because I really wasn’t interested in listening to it. Except for the very few, and of course Dolly was a part of that very few. Because she just had a way with the words, yanno? But I guess you’re right . . she did transcend genres after all.

    And all those records. I mean, she even has records pertaining to those records. And to have burst onto the scene so young in a male dominated genre . . shows you how immensely talented and determined and persistent she was and has always been.

    The answer is absolutely not, I couldn’t imagine someone else nailing the role in 9 to 5 the way Dolly was able to nail it. Not even close.

    Can you imagine telling the King, nope? She could. And did. Whoa.

    As far as her philanthropy, I knew she was sweet as pie but she is really so much more than that, isn’t she?

    What a great way how do and one of the most famous ‘do’s of all time.

    Beautifully done.

    B

    Liked by 1 person

    • B,

      I knew she was, just didn’t know how much! I could have gone on and on, I swear. That’s the thing with Dolly. Non country fans still find a connection with her.

      And I didn’t name ’em all! She refuses to call herself a feminist but man oh man… she sure did carve her space, didn’t she?

      I love that Jane saw that and pushed for it.

      I know, right? Sorry Elvis. Not gonna happen.

      She really is much more. And she’s the real deal… under all that stuff!

      So very glad you enjoyed.

      Q

      Liked by 1 person

      • Everyone finds a connection with her, you’re right. And I think it’s because she has always been so open and forthright. One of the few artists that I can remember where there was rarely if ever, any acrimony involved in her dealings with the media.

        I think she probably isn’t into labels. Not when she can just make a positive difference.

        Me too. I can’t imagine someone else in the role.

        I guess you could say Dolly sent Elvis to Heartbreak Hotel . . .

        Beauty.

        Muchly.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I too, confess of having thought her the Queen of Kitsch until, very late (don’t forget I’m really far away from your side of the pond), I saw 9 to 5…. a great eye 👁 opener. And lately, I heard all about her kindness , her civil courage and generosity. You wrote a beautiful, touching piece and I am glad to have learned some more.

    Liked by 1 person

    • And that’s okay because SHE is okay with that. She says she knows people laugh at her but says the jokes on them because she’s good with it. Plus, she is secure in who she is at her core. Funny, I saw 9 to 5 just last week, too. She has given so much.
      I am so glad you enjoyed my post!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. A very interesting pattern emerging here, Dale – and Dolly Parton rightly included. I love country music but she is so much more than that. I remember her saying children love her because of her appearance, but we all love her because she’s a unique, gifted and generous woman.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Glad you think so 🙂
      Dolly definitely belongs here and yes, she is way more than country. Hell she has had songs that were number one in three categories! She is unique, indeed. I love her.

      Like

    • Thank you, Ina. And she is not just a country singer. She does have that multi purpose kind of voice and singing that transcends genres, doesn’t she? I’m so glad you enjoyed,

      Like

  5. Dear Dale,

    This just makes me smile and smile some more. For me it would be a toss up between Dolly and Loretta Lynn. (yeah, there are some country singers I love and admire 😉 ) Boy, did Elvis’s promoters miss the boat on “I’ll Always Love You.” I do have the utmost respect for Dolly and how much did I love her in “9 to 5?”
    At any rate, you’ll get no arguments from me when it comes to Dolly’s place on Mt. Rushmore. Stellar post.

    Shalom and lotsa countrified hugs,

    Rochelle

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Rochelle,

      I am so glad I made you smile and then some! I almost included Loretta Lynn (oops… that’s officially telling you she’s not next 😉 ) Everyone would have made a mint had he sung it. Yay Dolly for standing her ground and knowing her worth­, Because, that is the case with her. She’s totally good with all the dumb blonde jokes, the laughing at her getups because she is completely at peace with who she is on the inside. Insecurity is not part of her vocabulary.
      It was on last week and I watched it! (again) So good… She was fab in Steel Magnolias, too. Oh, and if you are a fan, you have to watch the movie “Dumplin'” on Netflix.
      Very glad I get no argument from you 😉

      Shalom and lotsa I will always love you love,

      Dale

      Liked by 1 person

      • I don’t remember her in Steel Magnolias so I’ll have to go back and revisit it. I’ll also look for Dumplin. We did watch the documentary about her. She’s an exemplary human being. We need more Dollies in this world.

        Liked by 1 person

        • She was the owner of the hair salon. So good!
          The documentary was great as was here mini-series called Heart strings – five stories created based on five of her songs. Has a certain Hallmark quality to it but hey… it’s Dolly!
          We definitely need more Dollies in this world!
          Dumplin’ is with Jennifer Aniston and – did you see “I Am Woman”? The story of Helen Reddy? Well, the one who plays her friend the reporter IS Dumplin’…

          Like

  6. Dale, I love Dolly. Second year of college I read her autobiography, My Life and Other Unfinished Business. I would read it on the metro back and forth from the south shore to downtown. I don’t remember what exactly made me read it. But I remember falling in love with here more and more as I read. You know me, love makeup, love getting dolled up. But there’s a human side to her, she is such a caring living nurturing being. And there have been times in my life I said, “what would Dolly do?”

    Shr a Queen to me. Classy sexy woman

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh YES! Dolly definitely deserves to be with the Ladies of Rushmore. I have loved and admired her for more years than I can count. She is an amazingly talented lady! Can’t wait to see who the final lady is! Thanks for this, Dale!

    Like

  8. I can’t say I’m a big country music fan–though I like some of it, more the folky side than the pop side–and definitely not the flag waving (and Confederate flag waving) kind.
    But Dolly Parton is a whole different story. She is so talented, and she has done so much to help others, and though you’d have to pay me to go to Dollywood, I love how she has worked for literacy and the money she donated to so many wonderful causes. I’ve heard her interviewed on NPR.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I used to strongly dislike country music. In fact, when my oldest son was a teenager, he turned to country music as his form of rebellion, knowing his parents didn’t like it at all. But I’ve always liked Dolly Parton, and she might be one reason I’ve been willing to give country music a chance over the past few years. Excellent choice for The Ladies of Rushmore. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s the thing with Dolly. Much as she is country at heart, she is accessible country… plus she fits into contemporary, too. Plus, she’s Dolly! And no one can really resist her because she is such a talented powerhouse with a heart of gold that just shines through.
      Glad you agree! 🙂

      Like

  10. Nice post, reminded me of hearing Dolly’s sweet vibrato on my little AM radio when I was growing up. A prolific songwriter who has crossed genres. For me, her best poetry and melodies can be found in the acoustic performances of earlier songs, like “The Bridge” and “Coat of Many Colors.”

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Pingback: The Rushmore Thing – A Surprise Result | A Dalectable Life

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