Our love for the Queen of Nashville knows no bounds – and now she has written a novel.

Most 76-year-olds like to think about the garden, the golf course and how best they can amuse the grandchildren when they next come to stay. But Dolly Parton is not overly concerned with these small pleasures. The American country megastar turned 76 this year and has marked it by… publishing her first thriller.

Yes, you read that correctly. Dolly Parton has worked with James Patterson to create a novel about a young country singer who travels to Nashville to seek her fortune and escape her past. Based on Parton’s own experiences, the thriller is called Run, Rose, Run and is out this month.

Patterson said of the collaboration, which was first mooted in 2020: ‘She didn’t mess around, and neither do I. We both get down to business and chop wood.’

That is one way of describing her extraordinary work ethic. Dolly burst into our consciousness when she released her debut album in 1967. She has since sold over 100 million records worldwide.

In the 1980s she turned her hand to film acting, providing unforgettable performances in films like 9 to 5 and Steel Magnolias. Then, in 1986, she opened her theme park, Dollywood.

Through her Dollywood Foundation, she supports countless charitable causes, including ones for literacy, unemployment, HIV/AIDS, cancer research, the bald eagle and, most recently, the Covid vaccine.

Dolly Parton’s bon mots are legendary. She gave us: ‘Don’t get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life’; ‘It costs a lot of money to look this cheap’; and ‘If you want the rainbow, you’ve got to put up with the rain’.

The tireless performer is one of the most honoured in the history of country music. Here, we look back on the best moments of her rhinestone-studded career.

Main image:Dennis Carney, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

First TV Appearance, 1967

TV presenter Porter Wagoner introduced Parton to the nation’s sitting rooms in 1967. He hit the nail on the head when he said: ‘Here’s a little gal that I know you’re going to learn to really love.’ She knocks it out of the park with her distinctive Southern twang as she sings Dumb Blonde, a big hit from that first album. Watch it here.

Battling With Barbara Walters, 1977

Barbara Walters’s haughty line of questioning is staggering but Dolly’s defence is arresting. Her explanation of why she has cultivated the look she has is completely fascinating, too. Many believe the joke is on her, she says, but she knows for sure that it is on them. Watch it here.

Interview With Wogan, 1983

Watch this clip for an excellent rendition of 9 to 5, staggering 80s hair and jaw-droppingly flirty chat from national treasure Terry Wogan, who’d be cancelled if he said anything close today. No matter – Dolly is ballsy and articulate as heck and can handle whatever is thrown her way. Watch it here.

Dolly On Letterman, 1990

It’s Christmas 1990 and Dolly has a new record out. Entitled Home for Christmas, it is her 30th solo studio album. Knowing her as we do, it seems perfectly obvious that she will turn up for a TV appearance to promote it wearing a reindeer outfit, including antlers and tail. Playful, childlike and soothing, she encapsulates Christmas in this interview with the king of late-night TV, David Letterman. Watch it here.

Duet With Her Goddaughter, Miley Cyrus, 2010

Though Parton has no children of her own, she had 11 brothers and sisters, which makes for a lot of nieces and nephews, whom she adores. She also has a beloved goddaughter, Miley Cyrus, whose father Billy Ray Cyrus she worked with for years. The warmth they share is palpable in this clip of their Jolene duet. Watch it here.

Performing At Glastonbury, 2014

Bedecked in a white jumpsuit with silver sequins and clutching a matching guitar, Dolly stepped out onto the Pyramid Stage at Worthy Farm in 2014 and the crowd went bananas.

The Guardian said at the time: ‘It felt as if every single one of the event’s 200,000 attendees had squeezed in to see the queen of country, and she rewarded them with a performance that surely calls for a redefinition of the word ‘crowd-pleaser’.

‘She strutted across every inch of the stage, cheering, hollering and clapping, leading the enraptured audience of more than a few impersonators through a solid hour of clap-alongs and sing-alongs.’ Atta girl. Watch it here.

Dolly Gets The Covid Vaccine

Dolly donated a million dollars to vaccine research. Here, she gets the jab she helped fund. Even better, she changes the lyrics to Jolene in a bid to encourage everybody to do the same. The woman is a legend. Watch it here.

By Becky Ladenburg
March 2022

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Becky Ladenburg

Features Editor

As the GWG's features editor, Becky has her discerning finger on the cultural pulse. She's also our go-to expert on the property market.