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Dolly Parton Biography

Home > Music > P > Parton, Dolly > Biography

Birth Name: Dolly Rebecca Parton
Born: 1946/01/19
Birth Place: U.S.
Years Active: 1959–present
Genres: Country, Country Pop, Bluegrass

Dolly Rebecca Parton (born January 19, 1946) is an American singer-songwriter, author, multi-instrumentalist, actress and philanthropist, best-known for her work in country music.

In the four-and-a-half decades since her national-chart début, she remains one of the most-successful female artists in the history of the country genre which garnered her the title of 'The Queen of Country Music.” She is known for her distinctive soprano, sometimes bawdy humor, flamboyant dress sense and voluptuous figure.

To date, Parton has released 58 studio albums, 24 compilation albums, and 4 live albums and has issued 106 singles. After releasing two unsuccessful singles as a teenager, Parton signed a recording contract with Monument Records in 1964, and moved to Nashville, Tennessee shortly afterward, releasing a series of singles on the label, the highest charting being her 1965 single "Happy Happy Birthday Baby".

In 1967, Monument released Parton's debut solo album, “Hello, I'm Dolly,” which spawned the hits, "Dumb Blonde" and "Something Fishy," which reached #24 and #17 respectively.

Shortly after official debut, Parton was asked to replace country vocalist, Norma Jean as the co-host of the syndicated country music television show “The Porter Wagoner Show,” alongside country star, Porter Wagoner. Together the pair recorded 12 albums together under RCA Records, and had a series of Top 10 hits on the country charts during the late 60s and early 70s, including "The Last Thing on My Mind," "Tomorrow is Forever," and "Daddy Was an Old Time Preacher Man."

On his television series, Parton gained a national audience that consisted of millions, and her own singles began to progressively become larger hits on the country chart, and by the early 1970s, her solo hits began regularly appearing in the top ten, along with her duets with Wagner.

Her first chart-topper, 1970's "Joshua", followed by 1971's "Coat of Many Colors," 1972's "Touch Your Woman," and "Traveling Man" and "Jolene," both from 1973, all reached the top-ten on the U.S. country singles charts, with "Jolene" becoming her second #1 single in February 1974.

In mid-1974, Parton parted ways with Wagoner and his show in order to expand her career as a solo artist, writing and recording the #1 hit, "I Will Always Love You" as a tribute to Wagoner.

Following her departure from Wagoner's show, Parton branched out into Pop music with the 1977 single, "Here You Come Again," which hit #1 on the country chart and #3 on the Billboard Hot 100, helping to produce a string of crossover hits in the late 70s and early 80s, including "Two Doors Down," "Heartbreaker," "You're the Only One," "9 to 5" and "But You Know I Love You." In addition, album sales also increased with many being certified "Gold" or "Platinum" by the RIAA.

After a slight commercial decline late 1980s, Parton signed with Columbia Records moved into traditional country music with the album, “White Limozeen,” which spawned the #1 singles, "Why'd You Come In Here Lookin' Like That" and "Yellow Roses," and was certified Platinum in sales. Two more traditional-oriented albums were released in the early 90s that also were successful, “Eagle When She Flies” (1991) and “Slow Dancing with the Moon” (1993).

In 1999 she signed a contract with Sugar Hill Records and recorded a series of Bluegrass albums, beginning with “The Grass Is Blue” in 1999, followed by “Little Sparrow” (2001) and “Halos & Horns” (2002).

In 2007 she formed her own record label, Dolly Records and issued her first mainstream country album in over ten years in 2008 entitled, “Backwoods Barbie,” which has produced five singles including the minor country hit, "Better Get to Livin'," which peaked at #48 on the Billboard country chart.

To date, Parton holds the record for the most #1 hits by a female country artist (25 in total) and the most Top 10 country albums on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart (41 altogether).

She also previously held the record for the most Top 10 hits by a female country artist until Reba McEntire surpassed her in 2009 with her 56th Top 10 hit, "Cowgirls Don't Cry" with Brooks & Dunn.