1983 was a year that brought Dolly more crossover chart success thanks to her duet Islands in the Stream with Kenny Rogers. Her 25th solo album released in the same year, Burlap and Satin, in comparison did not contain any real classic or memorable hit songs. The title is an acknowledgement that there will always be two contrasting aspects to her music – and how best to balance pop and country is something she is obviously still struggling to reconcile at this point. This album reached number 5 in the country charts, a disappointment for her, although it did result in a Grammy nomination. Continue reading “Dolly Parton’s Discography: Burlap and Satin (1983)”
1981 was a significant year for Dolly – it was the first gap in her album release schedule since her debut in 1967. During some of those years she had released up to three albums a year, and such insane productivity had led her to country music superstardom, moderate pop success, opportunities in Hollywood but ultimately brought her to her knees. It is during this time in the early eighties she endured a crisis, with serious personal and health concerns that led her to contemplate suicide. Furthermore the difficulties of filming her movie ‘The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas’ would prove that becoming a Hollywood star was not the stuff her dreams had been made of. Continue reading “Dolly Parton’s Discography: Heartbreak Express (1982)”
Despite never working a 9 To 5 job in her entire life, Dolly Parton understood the plight of working women and channeled that despair, hope and frustration into an anthem that still resonates today, long after the film of the same name has faded in the cultural consciousness. Her previous album, Dolly, Dolly, Dolly had been entirely written by others, so it was ironic (although not a surprise to anyone who understands her songwriting talent) that she would find the crossover hit she was looking for in her own pen after all. Continue reading “Dolly Parton’s Discography: 9 to 5 and Odd Jobs”
Dolly Parton seems to have an inspiring aphorism for every day of the week. Her savvy team post her most famous sound bites frequently on social media and there are even books you can buy just filled with wise quotations from the Queen herself.
Most of those quotes are so well known now they have almost become cliche – like ‘if you want the rainbow you have to put up with the rain’ and ‘if you don’t like the road you’re walking on, start paving a new one’. When I was reading the interview by her biographer Alanna Nash in the book ‘Behind Closed Doors: Talking with the Legends of Country Music’, I was stunned by the fact that Dolly offers these pearls of wisdom and insight so often that many of them have been forgotten. As I read I began writing some of my favourites down in a little pink notebook to consult anytime I felt down or stressed.
So I thought I would share my ten favourites that you might not have heard before (or are worth hearing again). As usual Dolly offers inspiration, advice and a model of how to thrive: Continue reading “Ten Inspiring Dolly Parton Quotes To Get You Through”
And so we’ve reached the eighties – the decade most traditional music fans like myself dread. During the seventies Dolly moved progressively towards pop and finished that decade by recording the most mainstream music of her career. At the beginning of 1980 Dolly Parton was 34 years old and still committed to becoming a worldwide superstar. Her decision to release another pop album dismayed the critics and many of her country music fans alike. And with good reason – Dolly, Dolly, Dolly doesn’t hold up that well to retrospective scrutiny, even if looking at the bigger picture we can conclude that Dolly’s plan for success worked. Continue reading “Dolly Parton’s Discography: Dolly, Dolly, Dolly (1980)”
Released in 1979 Great Balls of Fire is right in the middle of Dolly’s mainstream pop phase. She aims for the charts but ironically it is one of the few albums from this era without any real classic career-defining songs. It’s a continuation of her previous run of big budget albums but with ever diminishing returns you feel she’s stretching this seventies pop style to its limits. Continue reading “Dolly Parton’s Discography – Great Balls of Fire (1979)”
After the platinum crossover smash success of ‘Here You Come Again’, Dolly decided to stick closely to that pop formula for her follow up album ‘Heartbreaker’, released July 1978. She was now being managed by Sandy Gallin, introduced to her by Mac Davis, and he again teamed her up with pop producers Charles Koppleman and Gary Klein. Dolly also received a production credit, showing how she was taking back control of her own career in the wake of her split with Porter. Another fact worth noting is that 1978 was the first year since 1967 where Dolly only released one album. The insane songwriting productivity and release schedule of the Porter Wagoner years was well and truly over. In the end Dolly didn’t need more than one album since Heartbreaker dominated the country charts, staying at number one for nine consecutive weeks. Continue reading “Dolly Parton’s Discography – Heartbreaker (1978)”
In the middle of the eternal debate about what defines the country music genre it’s interesting to consider some of these late seventies Dolly Parton albums. She aimed for the pop market but hoped to keep her country fanbase happy too. By 1977 Dolly was on her twentieth solo album in ten years. She’d written every style of country song you could think of. Pop music was limitless in a way that country music could never be – sonically and commercially. Dolly wanted the same success as Elvis or Elton John – not just an occasional cross over from the country charts. Jolene proved she could take country with her over to the mainstream and on Here You Come Again she again attempted to find a place in both worlds. Continue reading “Dolly Parton’s Discography – Here You Come Again (1977)”
The title and the relaxed styling of Dolly’s hair and clothes on the cover of this album tells us immediately that something is different. Dolly may have written her goodbye song in 1974 but it wasn’t until this 1977 album New Harvest…First Gathering that she was finally free from Porter Wagoner’s involvement in her music and career. She produced the album herself and embraced the opportunity to push herself in a brand new musical direction. This album then also became her escape from the confines of country music itself. Dolly’s ambitions were to find a way into the mainstream, into the movies, into the ears of all music listeners. There was simply no way Porter, or country music itself, could contain her. And hey, when a horse wants to run there ain’t no point in closing the gates. Continue reading “Dolly Parton’s Discography – ‘New Harvest…First Gathering’ Review”