Even though Dolly Parton is 77, the beloved singer has no plans to slow down. Her amazing career is still very much active to this day, and outside of the spotlight, she lives a quiet and calm life with her husband Carl.
Now, Dolly Parton has shared a new never-seen-before picture of the two — and one specific detail in it has fans losing it.
Dolly Parton has been around music all her life, and nothing seems to stop her from continuing to do what she loves the most.
Dolly Parton – early life
She was born on January 19, 1946, in Locust Ridge, Tennessee, near the Great Smoky Mountains. She grew up somewhat poor: as one of 12 children money was quite an issue.
However, music became something her family gathered around. Her mother sang and played guitar, and when Parton performed in church at a young age, she started to learn more about music.
“Music was such a large part of our whole family,” Parton recalled. “All of my mama’s people were musical. They all played some sort of musical instrument. Of course, I took my music really seriously, and I was always plucking along on somebody’s instrument — whatever they would leave lying around or whenever my family would come. But I always loved the guitar.”
Dolly Parton got her own guitar from her uncle. Before long, she had started to write her own songs.
By age 10, she had performed on several local television and radio stations in Knoxville, Tennessee, and at age 13, she made her debut on the national country radio station, Grand Ole Opry. At the time, she was making about $20 a week.
Family and music walked hand in hand with the Partons, and it was her uncles that helped her take the next step.
“I had two uncles who played — Uncle Bill, who helped me get into the business, and Uncle Lewis, who was also a great guitar player,” she said. “He had this little Martin guitar that I loved, so when he saw how serious I was about my music, he gave me his little Martin guitar. It was my treasure.”
Moved to Nashville
Parton went to high school and graduated, becoming the first one in her family to do so. But in 1964, at the age of 18, she decided to focus fully on her music career. Dolly Parton left home and headed to the Mecca of the country music scene, Nashville.
“I had a dream,” she said. “And I had a talent, I thought. And I really believed it was going to happen.”
In Nashville, Dolly quickly became a star. She worked with Porter Wagoner on The Porter Wagoner Show, and the duo became very popular. Parton and Wagoner released several country hits together, and she soon got a contract with RCA Records. In 1971, Parton landed her first No. 1 country hit, Joshua, and several more hits followed. One of them was, of course, “Jolene.”
The song only has 200 words in it. However, it became one of the biggest hits of the 20th century. Dolly Parton reached No. 1 on the charts and the song was nominated for two Grammy Awards for Best Female Country Vocal Performance (both studio and live version).
Not only that but “Jolene” was ranked No. 217 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of “the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time,” released in 2004.
With songs like “I Will Always Love You” – which was a tribute to Wagoner and their professional relationship – “The Seeker,” “Love Is Like a Butterfly,” and “All I Can Do,” Dolly Parton stacked up awards upon awards and became a real superstar worldwide.
Dolly Parton – songs, awards
She won her first Grammy in 1977 with “Here You Come Again,” and more hits followed.
In the 1980s, Dolly Parton broadened her audience by heading into the film business. She starred alongside Jane Fonda in the 1980 hit comedy 9 to 5, for which she also contributed with the soundtrack. More film appearances followed, and in 1986, she even opened her own amusement park, Dollywood, in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.
Dolly claims to have written more than 3,000 songs in her career. Meanwhile, she’s sold more than 100 million albums, topped the country chart 25 times, and won a staggering eight Grammy Awards. And she’s showing no signs of slowing down.
“Almost every day I come up with a few song titles or a sweet melody,” Parton told BBC in 2016.
“I’m 16 in some ways. I’m still a hopeless romantic. But I’m 35 in my spirit and in my mind. When I was 35, it was a pinnacle, a great time in my life – success and happiness and all that. And so I just decided ‘I’m gonna claim that number and always be that in my state of mind.’”
While Dolly Parton has conquered the world with her legendary music and songwriting, as well as her wonderful live performances, she found the love of her life more than 55 years ago.
Dolly Parton – husband Carl Dean
In 1964, Dolly met Carl Dean outside the Wishy Washy Laundromat in Nashville, Tennessee. At the time, Dolly was 18 and Carl was 21. Straight away, Carl realized there was something very special about the young lady.
“My first thought was, ‘I’m gonna marry that girl,’” Dean said in a statement of the moment they met, as quoted by Entertainment Tonight.
“My second thought was, ‘Lord she’s good lookin.’’’ And that was the day my life began. I wouldn’t trade the last 50 years for nothing on this earth.”
Dean was sitting in his pickup truck as he saw Dolly and “hollered” at her, as she recalled in an interview with the NY Times in 1976.
However, she declined a date with him. Instead, she invited him over when she was babysitting her nephew just days after. It was the start of a love story that never ended.
“He came up every day that week and we sat out on the porch. I wouldn’t even take him in the house,” she said.
“Then my aunt got a day off, and she could keep the kid and that was my first chance to go anywhere with Carl and he drove me straight to his folks’ house and introduced me to his mother and daddy. ‘Cause he said he knew right the minute he saw me that that’s the one he wanted.”
Left Tennessee to get married
In May 1966, Dolly Parton and Carl Dean married in a private ceremony in Ringgold, Georgia.
Her record label actually wanted them to wait to get married since she had a career to think about. But Dean and Dolly didn’t want to wait, and as a result, they decided to tie the knot in Georgia so that the local press in Tennessee wouldn’t write about it.