Dolly Parton was born on 19 January 1946 in Locust Ridge in the Great Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee.
Her family lived in a small cabin with one bedroom, no electricity and no indoor plumbing.
Dolly Parton’s father, known as Lee, worked as a sharecropper and later tended his own small tobacco farm and acreage. He also worked construction jobs to supplement his income.
The farm and surrounding woods provided the inspiration for the song ‘My Tennessee Mountain Home’, released in 1973. In the late 1980s, Parton repurchased the property and rehabilitated it.
Dolly was the fourth eldest of twelve children.
She says that she learned ‘early on’ that singing would get her noticed in a family where individual children competed for attention.
Avie Lee, her mother, was the daughter of a Pentecostal preacher, and Parton and her siblings all attended church regularly. Parton has long credited her father for her business savvy, and her mother’s family for her musical abilities.
Dolly’s first song
Dolly was six years old when she wrote her first song – Little Tiny Tasseltop – about her corn-cob doll.
She was given her first guitar at the age of eight.
Dolly says that she used to place a tin can on a stick, pretend it was a microphone and sing to the chickens.
Aged 10, Dolly Parton started performing professionally, appearing on local television and radio shows in Knoxville. She made her Grand Ole Opry debut three years later.
In a career now spanning six decades, Dolly has had 25 songs reach No. 1 on the Billboard country music charts, 44 Top 10 country albums and 110 career-charted singles. She has won ten Grammy Awards and 49 nominations, including the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Her hits include:
Two Doors Down
My Tennessee Mountain Home
I Will Always Love You
Coat of Many Colours
Love is Like a Butterfly