Dolly Parton Joking With Johnny Cash About Her Appearance At The 1978 CMA Awards Is Pure Country Comedy Gold

Johnny Cash Dolly Parton
The Winning Hand

Man, it would have been awesome if Dolly Parton and Johnny Cash had worked together more often throughout their careers.

While Dolly has long been the heartthrob for country music fans across the globe, she made waves a while back during an interview with The Big Issue where she shared that her first crush was none other than the Man In Black.

“I was about 13 when I first met Johnny Cash and that’s when Johnny was all strung out on drugs and everything, but he was so magnetic, so sexy. He was my first male grown-up crush, he just really moved me.

That’s when I realized what hormones do and what sex appeal really means. He just kind of stirred me somehow. And so I guess that’s when I realized I was becoming a little woman.

Oh, we laughed about it through the years. I told him, you know you were my very first crush, my first sexy grown-up crush. He always got a kick out of that.”

And aside from Dolly being much too young, Johnny was also in the middle of his first marriage to Vivian Liberto, and shortly after, fell into the storied love affair with June Carter, so nothing ever came of whatever spark may have existed between the two down the road.

But that doesn’t mean they didn’t have a few moments together, one of my favorites being at the 1978 CMA Awards, which Johnny hosted.

Dolly was nominated for a few awards that year, including the revered Entertainer of the Year spot (which she ended up winning), but before the trophy was handed to her (during a major wardrobe malfunction), she got up on stage with Johnny and they put on a little skit to the endless amusement of the crowd.

The topic at hand? Naturally… Dolly’s looks.

If anyone has been more open about their appearance and how it’s perceived by the public than Dolly, I’d like to see because like in all other aspects of her life, Dolly has always shot straight.

Who can forget her owning Barbara Walters during an interview just the year prior and her number one pet peeve being “nobody notices I’ve got a nice ass too”?

Well, this time she didn’t talk quite as directly, but instead asked Johnny how she should react to a number of reviews fans around the country wrote about her. To say he looked a bit uncomfortable up there would be an understatement.

Dolly started by saying

“Somebody wrote in a paper in Denver, said “Dolly Parton’s show was just like one of her dresses, she put everything she had into it.”

Johnny responds by saying in an awe shucks kind of way:

“Ahh, well, well, you know that just means that you’re a thoroughly professional performer, and uh… you know, don’t worry about that.”

Dolly continues…

“Ahh, well that’s real nice. Well, what about the guy in Chicago that wrote “Dolly Parton’s hair is where Farrah Fawcett might go if she wanted to hide.” Now is that nice?”

Johnny does his best to answer

“Yeah, well, actually that just shows that your fellow performers really like you and know that they can trust you.”

Not sure if that answer makes a lot of sense but hey, if Dolly was asking me these things I’d be sweating through my tux, especially with my wife sitting somewhere in the audience.

Dolly finishes with one more question.

“Oh, well that’s real nice. Well that still don’t explain about the guy in El Paso that wrote “Dolly Parton came from the hills of Tennessee and brought ’em with her.”

At that the crowd erupts and poor Johnny looks like he wants to just melt into the stage and disappear.

Anytime two legends of the genre are able to share a stage is a magical time, but it makes it even more so when one of them is able to get a real kick out of the ordeal and give us with a clip that forever belongs in country music lore.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock