But 60 years ago, she was an just an aspiring singer performing in a parking lot. And for the first time, we’re getting a glimpse of what that looked like.
Archivist Bradley Reeves recently appeared on WBIR in Knoxville to debut some newly-uncovered footage of a 14-year old Dolly Parton.
The incredible video, captured in 1961 by Haroldine Worthington and filmed on a silent 8-mm home movie camera, shows the future country music legend strumming a guitar in a gas station parking lot in Fountain City, Tennessee, at an event held by TV and radio personality (and former Knoxville mayor) Cas Walker.
Walker, whose Farm and Home Hour variety show ran on radio and television from 1928 to 1983, helped launch the career of the future megastar when she first performed on his show at the age of 10.
The footage is accompanied by a studio recording of Dolly singing “Making Believe,” a chart-topping hit for Kitty Wells in 1955 that would later go on to be recorded by other country music legends such as Loretta Lynn and Conway Twitty, Johnny Cash, Emmylou Harris and Merle Haggard.
Dolly’s version was included on Hits Made Famous by Country Queens, her 1963 compilation album with Faye Tucker.
It’s pretty amazing that this footage has survived all these years, but it’s even more amazing to be able to see a young Dolly Parton, three years before she moved to Nashville and six years before she landed a spot on Porter Wagoner’s television show, just playing country music in a gas station parking lot.
If those people only knew what a legend that little high school girl with the big hair and angelic voice would go on to become…
Dolly Parton’s Iconic “9 To 5” Gets Side Hustle Twist For New Squarespace Super Bowl Ad
For the Super Bowl this year, Dolly Parton’s iconic 1980 hit “9 To 5” is got a side hustle remake. Partnering with Squarespace and La La Land director Damien Chazelle, the new “5 To 9” version is for anybody working after hours to achieve their dreams.
And according to a new interview with the AP Press, ideas for “9 To 5” remakes have come up pretty often:
“A lot of people through the years have wanted to change the lyrics to fit certain things they’re doing. I really thought that was a wonderful thing, especially for Squarespace.
They’re so into people, new entrepreneurs working after hours to start their own businesses. ‘5 to 9’ seemed to be a perfect thing when they pitched it.”
And for Dolly, working around the clock is something she is all too familiar with:
“Well I work 365 (days a year). I’m always working 5 to 9, 9 to 5. I work all hours of the night and day. Whatever you need to do, you gotta get it done, however many hours it takes.”