Dolly Parton Opens Up About Her Modest Roots and Industrious Parents in Latest Documentary

credit: mirror

London (Parliament Politic Magazine) – Dolly Parton talked candidly about her upbringing in the “dirt poor” and her parents’ “hard-working” jobs. In her new documentary, Dolly Parton: In Her Own Words, she shares candid insights on her struggles growing up. Despite having “hard-working” parents, the singer has characterized her background as “dirt poor.” Parton has made millions of dollars singing about working from nine to five, but according to the Mirror, it would have only taken her dad, who farms tobacco, half a day’s labor. The 77-year-old country music icon claimed that her father, Robert Lee, who had to wake up at 4 a.m. to work at the family’s Tennessee home, is the source of her strong work ethic. 

She explained, “I enjoy working; that’s just like my dad. If I have a purpose for performing the labor, it’s never too lengthy or hard.” Parton has sold over 100 million albums and has had over 3,000 songs published, 110 charting singles, and 25 No. 1 hits. She doesn’t appear to be retiring or slowing down. Rockstar, her 49th solo album, opened at No. 3 on the Billboard list, making it her highest-charting LP ever. Robert Lee and his wife Avie had 12 children together, Parton being one of them. 

Despite the family being “dirt poor,” she recalled with fondness getting up early to spend time with her father. The legendary musician remarked, “I used to let Mama sleep in and get up with Daddy to pack his lunch. Daddy and I would talk, and I felt that those were precious hours. The Princess of Wales invited Dolly to have tea with her when she was traveling overseas. Dolly loved the British capital but came dangerously close to not getting to know the people who lived at Buckingham Palace. While most people would be thrilled to meet Kate, Dolly declined the invitation for a funny reason. ” My father was an industrious laborer who worked long hours from sunrise to sunset. 

Daddy had to rise at four o’clock. Parton claimed that although her father instilled a strong work ethic, her mother gave her the gift of creativity. She remarked, “She could cook anything and make it taste good, sew anything and make it look pretty nice, and tell you anything and make it sound good. As we are all musical and everyone plays and sings, I would say that Mama’s folks are mostly responsible for my creativity and spirituality. Dolly Parton: In Her Own Words, a new Channel 5 series, features Parton talking candidly about her life. 

Dolly was the first member of her family to graduate from high school, and at 13, she recorded her debut song, Puppy Love. Parton aspired to be a celebrity, travel, be wealthy, and have “fancy clothes and all the stuff a kid wants, especially when you’ve never had any,” so the day after she graduated, she boarded a bus for Nashville. “I thought I could pull it off,” she remarked. “I thought my talent could take me there.” Parton met Carl Thomas Dean in the Wishy Washy Laundromat a few days after arriving in Nashville in 1964. 

Even though Dean shunned the limelight that his bride so desperately desired, the pair married two years later and have remained together ever since. Surprisingly, Parton has never had a UK No. 1 song, but her 2014 Glastonbury performance demonstrated her popularity in the country. 

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But when Parton reflects on her career, she believes that her Imagination Library, a global nonprofit that provides children with free books, is her greatest accomplishment. Parton also has a record label and a Dollywood theme park. Her father was illiterate, “as smart as he was, and he was always embarrassed about that,” and the foundation honors him. “So I came up with that little idea, Imagination Library,” Parton continued. Daddy lived long enough to see it flourish. The youngsters calling me The Book Lady made Daddy laugh hard, and I could see he was proud of me. “This time, Lordy, I even got invited to have tea with Kate, but I couldn’t even go,” she said. 

“I thought it was lovely and nice of her to invite me, and one of these days, I’m going to get to do that; that would be great.” She made light of the situation very Dolly by joking about why she had declined the royal invitation. She chuckled: “But she wasn’t going to promote my rock album, so I had to say no.”

Beth Malcolm

Beth Malcolm is Scottish based Journalist at Heriot-Watt University studying French and British Sign Language. She is originally from the north west of England but is living in Edinburgh to complete her studies.