Before Dolly Parton became the famous singer, songwriter, and humanitarian we know her as today, she was simply a little girl with a big voice. Dazzlin’ Dolly, a nonfiction picture book debuting this September, written by Suzanne Slade and illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham, follows her rise to fame, from her beginnings in East Tennessee to performing to thousands at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. We’re celebrating all things Dolly with a few fun facts about her life ahead of the book’s release. Find out more when Dazzlin’ Dolly drops this fall!
Dolly Parton’s parents’ paid her doctor with a sack of cornmeal.
When Dolly Parton was born on January 19, 1946, her parents didn’t have two nickels to pay the doctor who delivered her. So instead, they paid with a sack of cornmeal.
Her first guitar wasn’t a guitar at all.
Unable to afford a guitar, she strung up a broken mandolin and played for anyone she could corral—ducks, pigs, and her squallin’ brothers and sisters.
She got her first paid gig at the age of 10.
Dolly’s Uncle Bill drove her to a Knoxville radio station in 1956, where, after a performance on The Cas Walker Show made the audience fall in love with Dolly’s incredible voice, the producer invited her to perform on his live television program. Soon, she had a regular gig, paying $5 a show!
Dolly married a man named Carl Dean two years after graduating high school, and they are still together!
She met Carl Dean while waiting outside a Laundromat in Nashville for her clothes to dry. The two rarely appear in public together because Carl doesn’t like the spotlight. The couple has no children, yet their lives are full with many nieces, nephews, extended family members, and friends.
Dolly has composed more than three thousand songs.
Twenty-five of those songs became number one hits and she’s sold more than one hundred million records around the world. Her best seller is “I Will Always Love You.”
Look for Dazzlin’ Dolly: The Songwriting, Hit-Singing, Guitar-Picking Dolly Parton September 20!