On this date in 1980, Dolly Parton gave working girls everywhere an anthem.
She released her concept album, 9 to 5 and Odd Jobs, which was all about working women and their struggles in corporate America, largely inspired by the title track she wrote for the iconic film, 9 to 5.
Of course, Dolly starred in the movie alongside Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin.
The record went #1 on the U.S. Billboard Top Country albums chart, but there’s actually a great story about how Dolly initially wrote the title track, 9 to 5, which is one of my all-time favorite’s.
She actually used her acrylic nails to strum along, as she toyed with lyrics and tried to make the iconic tune absolutely perfect.
She told American Songwriter that she couldn’t have a guitar on set while they were filming because they needed it to be as quiet as possible, and she was still trying to work on writing the theme song (one of her conditions for doing the movie in the first place), so she did what she had to do:
“I did it on my fingernails! It sounded like typewriter, and I didn’t have my guitar, cuz I didn’t wanna get too scattered cuz we were trying to stay in the mood and they were doin’ lights and all of that.
So, I would just look around and I would just look around and I would just get ideas watching whatever was going on on the set.
It was about women in the workplace, so I would just kinda do my ‘I tumble out of bed and I stumble to the kitchen, working 9 to 5’, and I would just kinda play my fingers.”
At the end of the day, she would go back to her hotel and write everything down on paper that she’d come up with strummin’ her nails on set.
The best part of all, though, is that she got credit for playing her fingernails in the liner notes on the record:
“It says ‘nails by Dolly’ on the album.”
Classic… as if you needed another reason to love her.
Turn these up for Queen Dolly today:
“9 to 5”
“Poor Folks Town”