Simply Woman & Home
I was inspired by Mama’s voice: Dolly Parton
Her musical memories
Dolly Parton, the fourth child of 12, grew up in a large Tennessee family where everyone sang, played instruments and enjoyed music. They’d sing together on the porch, at church, or for local special events.
Dolly was hugely influenced by her mother, Avie Lee Owens Parton. She not only encouraged Dolly to pursue songwriting, but also influenced her daughter’s style with her own beautifully expressive singing.
Avie Lee saved dozens of songs Dolly wrote as a child, and she proudly urged her daughter to share her music with visitors and family alike. When she was eight, her Uncle Bill Owens replaced her home-made instruments by giving little Dolly her first guitar.
Today, Dolly is the most revered country artist in the world. She’s loved in the UK and gave a barnstorming performance on the Pyramid stage at Glastonbury in 2014. She’s sold over 100 million records, and donated 130 million books to children around the world as part of her Imagination Library programme.
Dolly’s also held on to the publishing rights for her songs – even turning down Elvis Presley’s wish to record
I Will Always Love You because he expected half the rights. Later, Whitney Houston’s version was a worldwide hit and made Dolly millions.
Other classic songs, including Jolene and 9 to 5, also reflect the power of Dolly’s gift for packing emotion into her storytelling.
As she puts it herself, ‘Those little songs, they just stick, and thank God they’re still around…’