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Live from Abu Dhabi Connect the World takes you on a journey across continents, investigating the stories that are changing our world.

Connector of the Day: Dolly Parton

November 9th, 2009
03:11 AM ET

Dolly Parton introduced herself to the country music charts in 1967, at the age of 21, with her debut album "Hello, I'm Dolly."

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/11/08/art.dolly.gi.jpg caption="Dolly Parton is as famous for her image as her many hits."]

A successful partnership with Porter Wagoner, the host of the television show of the same name, put her on the national stage.

Forty albums have followed, including a succession of No. 1 hits, awards and high-profile performances on television and film.

She's almost as famous for her image as her vast array of hits. Striking sculptured hair, bright lashings of eye shadow caked on a face that she has admitted in the past owes a lot to modern surgery, and always very high heels.

In 1986, Parton's megastar status was confirmed with the opening of her own theme park "Dollywood." In 2001, a water park, "Dollywood's Splash Country," opened next door.

If you've got any comments on the country singer with four decades of performing behind her - and still going strong - have your say here.

soundoff (37 Responses)
  1. Anthony Karanja

    Hi Dolly? We love your music and we love you a lot in Africa Esp in Kenya. Not one day goes by without me and many others listening to your music. Are you ever going to perform in this part of the world?

    November 9, 2009 at 9:13 am | Reply
  2. Vera

    Hi Dolly, first of all hows ya doin?!?! When you first started singing, who was your idol? And why you choose sining and not acting or dancing or any other stuff.... Keep it up cos even through im young i like your songs.

    Best regards from

    November 9, 2009 at 9:21 am | Reply
  3. Katherine

    Bonjour Dolly,
    When you write a song, what comes first? The melody or the words? ...and could you explain how inspiration for songs come to you?
    Many thanks and much love to you from Paris,

    November 9, 2009 at 9:40 am | Reply
  4. Scott

    Any truth to a remake of the 9 to 5 movie? If yes, would you be a part of that? Maybe you could play a bad guy this time...like the boss's secretary. I'd like to see you in another roll.

    November 9, 2009 at 9:48 am | Reply
  5. Harmen

    Hi Dolly

    Of course you are most known in Europe for songs like 'I will always love you' and 'You are' (which is one of my favourite songs of all time btw). Do you dare to guess at how many weddings your songs were played as the opening dance during all those years?

    November 9, 2009 at 9:57 am | Reply
  6. youwai yap

    I know Ms Dolly Parton of her Quote, "If you want the rainbow, you must put up with the rain", and not her blond hair or vital statistics. Somehow the form overshadowed her substance in the earlier years as the tabloid tales chose to focus on one area over the other.

    According to kiology, I share the same numbers as Ms Parton. I felt that people misunderstood me often as my image was not in congruence with my substance. What is Ms Parton's advice to reconcile the form and substance?

    Thank you.

    November 9, 2009 at 10:08 am | Reply
  7. Mohammad Shahid

    Dear Dolly,

    I like your movies "9 to 5" very much. It is one of my favorite comedy film. Sometime ago a woman annoyed her neighbors by playing its song alound and eventually she was stopped by the police to do so. I wonder whether or not you sent her any message regarding this incident?

    With love and respect,


    November 9, 2009 at 10:12 am | Reply
  8. Jim in Vietnam

    Hi Dolly-

    Why don't you come over here to SE Asia and do a few shows? I've been working here in Vietnam for ten years and I know the locals here would love you as much as we Americans do.

    Best wishes,

    November 9, 2009 at 10:21 am | Reply
  9. Chuck Foreman

    MS Parton,

    It's always a pleasure to hear you sing. I recall the first time. I was 13
    in Hanover General Hospital in Hanover PA. (circa 1970) I spent three months on my back and watched a lot of TV. On Saturday Afternons the Porter Wagoner Show was either live or played. I loved the way you supported his songs and I think you sang solo more than once.
    I watched for you, not that he was bad but without you it wasn't that interesting. You were shy but sure of voice. I rememeber years later hearing that voice and recognizing it on the radio. I love your commitment and professionalism. Your dignity and love of others is commendable. Thanks for being you!

    November 9, 2009 at 10:25 am | Reply
  10. Alan Adcock

    I grew up with your music my parents played to us in North Carolina and have taken it and you with me to all the places I've lived in Asia for over 15 years. I am so so proud to share your music and your inspiring life with friends from everywhere. Whenever I play "Mountain Angel", people just sit quietly after hearing it for the first time letting the words play again in their heads. The response is always the same, "play that again please". How did you come to write that?

    November 9, 2009 at 10:48 am | Reply
  11. Vickie

    Hi Dolly, I am from Tennessee and have grown up with your music. How do you see Country music's big change into the mainstream popular music scene. I miss the grass roots of country music, does it still exist? Love you, Vickie

    November 9, 2009 at 10:57 am | Reply
  12. Jeff Williams

    Hi Dolly,

    My wife is from Boone, NC. For tha past couple years a roumer has been around that you plan to become a part owner of the Tweetsie railroad amusement park there in Boone. I was just wondering if that is true so I can tell my in-laws and the people I know in Boone.


    November 9, 2009 at 10:59 am | Reply
  13. Barry

    Hi Dolly! First off...I love you, love your music, and greatly love your attitude on life. Every time I see an interview with you on TV, I make sure my Tivo is set to record.

    You were on Oprah a few years ago, just after "Coat of Many Colors" was released with all the different artists signing your songs. You sang a duet with Melissa Ethridge of "I will always love you" and I was absolutely floored. Since then I have moved to the other side of the world and don't have my Tivo of that performance. Is there a recording of you and Melissa sining that beautiful song. If not, do you have any plans to work with Melissa in the future. Your voices blended so nicely.

    Thanks for all your songs, your years of work, and once again for always bringing a smile to my face.

    Love Ya Dolly!

    November 9, 2009 at 11:04 am | Reply
  14. Hugo

    Dolly, thanks for being you! Behind the whole fabulous look (the wig the boobs, the bucket loads of make up) is the most genuine, brillaint artist alive!!! Love you to bits!!

    November 9, 2009 at 11:25 am | Reply
  15. enock kigen

    i grew up listening to your songs in kenya and you wont believe how much people there love you. i used to think you and kenny rogers are brothers and sisters till i grew up of course. please will you ever be going to kenya? someday?

    November 9, 2009 at 11:27 am | Reply
  16. Venkateswaran K

    Hi Dolly,

    I'm your fan from India. How about a song or two with Don Williams and Kenny Rogers in a future album?

    That would be most welcome...

    We love you here!

    Best regards,

    November 9, 2009 at 11:36 am | Reply
    • Arif

      What i do not realize is if truth be told how you're not relaly much more well-appreciated than you might be right now. You're very intelligent. You know thus considerably relating to this topic, made me personally consider it from numerous various angles. Its like women and men aren't fascinated except it is something to do with Woman gaga! Your own stuffs outstanding. All the time take care of it up!

      April 30, 2013 at 5:15 am | Reply
  17. Ann Garner

    Hi Dolly,

    Just returned from a stay at Hidden Mountain Resort in Sevierville.....loved it there in your home town. Wonderful to see the statue of you at the courthouse and feel how the people there love you. The Smoky Mountains are a "refuge" for me and I can see where you got your inspiration for many of your songs. I am a small town country girl (60) also from Echols County, Ga (smallest county in Ga. with lots of pine trees and farming) Keep up the good work and don't ever stop singing!! You are the greatest!!

    November 9, 2009 at 12:04 pm | Reply
  18. Madcap

    Love ya Dolly! Ever dated a man 24 years your junior? If not, want to? LOL!

    Seriously though, you are brilliant and one of the most underrated people to ever to walk the planet.

    November 9, 2009 at 12:21 pm | Reply
  19. musa bafai

    Hi Dolly
    Love your kind of music. Am from Nigeria and we love Country Music. Have you ever thought of performing on the best countinent of the world, Africa and in particular the greatest African country, Nigeria?

    November 9, 2009 at 12:28 pm | Reply
  20. Renn Loren

    Hi Dolly,

    After all these years I am still in awe of your talent AND vitality.

    How much would you credit perseverance, persistence, and dogged determination to the level and logivity of your success?

    Thanks for the music and inspiration.

    Renn Loren

    November 9, 2009 at 12:32 pm | Reply
  21. Brandi

    How long does it take you to get ready in the morning if you're just planning a casual day for shopping or being with your friends and family vs. getting ready for a show?(ie. hair, make-up, nails, wardrobe, etc)

    November 9, 2009 at 12:43 pm | Reply
  22. Coenie

    Love you Dolly.Please do a show here in RSA.

    November 9, 2009 at 12:45 pm | Reply
  23. Marilyn Sklar

    I grew up in the 1960s and 70s and watched how feminism impacted American society on television, in movies, the workplace, and so on. I have always found you to be a feminist in your own right. Would you describe yourself as a feminist? If so, why?

    November 9, 2009 at 1:00 pm | Reply
  24. Bob

    Dolly, why didn't you have children?

    November 9, 2009 at 1:11 pm | Reply
  25. markhill

    i see pics of you with look alikes like Char Masuda from LA , does it bother you to have girls and guys making money off of yur looks and fame???

    November 9, 2009 at 1:12 pm | Reply
  26. Bob


    Why didn't you have children?

    November 9, 2009 at 1:12 pm | Reply
  27. kevin

    Ms. Parton,

    Thank you for your time and for your music and for sharing your heart.

    You have always been a champion for the poor, people with disabilities, your gay and lesbian fans, and have presented yourself as a true Christian for your generous and non-judgemental approach to the world.

    I am curious, has your support for the Gay and Lesbian Community come with any negative consequences from the Country and Western community?

    Thank you,


    November 9, 2009 at 1:33 pm | Reply
  28. andrew rollason

    Dolly, what direction do you think you will go in for your next album and do you have any plans to tour next year?

    November 9, 2009 at 11:55 pm | Reply
  29. Duane Gordon

    Hi, Dolly. It's Duane from Dollymania.net! You're Imagination Library program is now sending out more than 6 million books a year across the U.S., Canada, and U.K. What is the most moving story you've heard from a family that has received books from the program?

    November 10, 2009 at 2:16 am | Reply
  30. Diana

    Hey Dolly!

    What are your next projects?

    Of all your songs you've written, witch one is the best in your point of view?

    What did you do during the European tour when you wasn't on stage?

    Diana Falheim

    November 10, 2009 at 10:57 am | Reply
  31. george odhiambo

    Dolly, Karibu (welcome) to Kenya. Pick your music a decade ago and remains on driving to and from work.

    Do you have any interest or a course you pursue in Africa?

    November 10, 2009 at 11:04 am | Reply
  32. sheldon

    You produced an album with Loretta Lynn and Tammy Wynette back in 1993 – At the time it was said that over 20 songs were recorded, but only 10 or so made the CD...will the other songs ever see the light of day?

    November 10, 2009 at 11:19 am | Reply
  33. kemi

    i have been in love with her songs since i was a child. i hope she is going strong and wish her well

    November 10, 2009 at 5:49 pm | Reply
  34. Joanna

    First of all, thanks for visiting Sweden last year 🙂 I'm 16 and you're an idol, role model and inspiration to me, my question is, I know you love performing , (of course) , couldn't you and Cher team up and do a show together in Vegas? 🙂

    November 10, 2009 at 11:00 pm | Reply
  35. Rebecca

    Dear Dolly,
    my daughter and I are songwriters, and my daughter is just learning the guitar at 14. you have been a great inspiration to us in your songwriting and singing talent, and for your part in keeping Bluegrass cool. It would be great, too if you did an album of folk-Bluegrass music with Bela Fleck...just a suggestion!
    Question: how different is your stage persona from your private-self (and I mean your birthday-suit-let-your-hair-down-self), or are you one and the same all of the time?
    Love ya,
    Rebecca & Savannah

    November 11, 2009 at 3:37 pm | Reply
  36. Jamie

    I have always loved Dolly's music. She stayed in a little cabin in Arkansas with my great-grandparents when she was doing some research on the area. I got to see the pictures and hear the story's about this little bitty, larger than life woman. I was hooked from then on and have always been a fan. I wish her all the best.

    November 13, 2009 at 5:47 am | Reply

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