After years of flailing and failing to crossover to pop, 1989 was the year Dolly decided to make her return to country music proper, with triumphant results. White Limozeen, produced by Ricky Skaggs, proved that Dolly’s strength as an artist is in how she adds a little pop to country – not the other way around. On the cover Dolly is all glitz, glamour and rhinestones still but the spelling of this album title is a deliberate nod to her simpler roots. Her fans responded with enthusiasm – the album generating two number one singles and resurrecting her critical and commercial career. Continue reading “Dolly Parton’s Discography – White Limozeen (1989)”
As I’ve been reviewing Dolly Parton’s discography the book ‘Not Dumb, Not Blonde: Dolly in Conversation’ which contains interviews spanning across her whole career, has become a valuable resource and reference point in helping me understand both her astonishing career and the psychology of what made her a legend.
Across these series of conversations one unlikely theme recurs often: depression. People may have the misconception that everything is butterflies, rainbows and rhinestones in Dolly’s world but that is simply not the case. In fact her insights and advice on dealing with dark moods and motivating yourself after failures are as inspiring as her songs. Continue reading “Dolly Parton on Depression”
Rainbow was the first of Dolly’s albums for her new record label Columbia, after her nearly two decade long relationship with RCA ended. When signing with CBS she reportedly envisioned rotating the style of her albums, with one pure pop followed by one pure country. The problem with that plan was exposed almost immediately. Rainbow was Dolly’s lowest charting album for nearly fifteen years and the Trio album with Emmylou and Linda (also released this year) was her most successful in a decade. The public had spoken: they wanted Dolly back singing country music. At age 41 her pop dream was dead. Continue reading “Dolly Parton’s Discography – Rainbow (1987)”
“I’m commericalminded. If I can’t get my own hit, I’m not too proud to hang on somebody else’s coattails,’ said Dolly in a revealing interview she conducted in the mid-90s. Therefore working with platinum king Kenny Rogers, who she called ‘a magical man’ was a no-brainer. Together they would have a pop smash with Islands in the Stream, a successful Christmas album released in 1984, and a country chart topper with the title track of this 1985 album. Continue reading “Dolly Parton’s Discography – Real Love (1985)”
The appeal of Dolly Parton’s image has always been in how the ‘false’ make-up, wigs, gaudy outfits and cosmetic enhancements contrast with her country roots and the vulnerable truths in her music. ‘The Great Pretender’ is what she set out to be as a poor kid playing dress up, writing songs and hoping to become a star. By 1984 she’d successfully created her legendary persona and was a household name. Her musical output in the eighties was wildly inconsistent at best, with dwindling returns from the heady heights of 9 to 5. This album would prove to be a low of her recording career, filled with forgettable cover versions of songs from the fifties and sixties that offered little of what had got her here in the first place. Continue reading “Dolly Parton’s Discography – The Great Pretender (1984)”
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”