Dolly Parton is the best we have. This honestly isn’t an argument; it is a simple fact. We all love her. Whether you are a country music fan or, for some dumb reason, you’re not, you probably still love her. There is no shortage of reasons for loving Miss Dolly. Her music is great, she has 25 Billboard-topping number #1s, and everyone loves every version of Jolene. While those things are cool and impressive, they’re not the sole reasons why people love Dolly. Unlike most artists, I think she is genuinely loved for who she is.
As I said, I am not going to try and argue why I think Dolly Parton is peak human goodness. Instead, I am simply going to tell you a few facts about her. In the spirit of the Colloquial’s previous scientific musical equations, there is no one better for the job than Dolly herself.
Dolly Parton was once po’ folk
Her family was poor – like, folk legend storybook poor. According to Country Living, Dolly was one of 12 children born to her parents, Robert and Avie Lee Parton. She was born in Sevierville, TN (get up, Sevierville) in 1946. Her folks didn’t have enough cash to pay the doctor who delivered her so they paid him with a sack of oats. That is some proper, old-timey, country junk there.
Dolly has only ever been Dolly
Dolly talks about being bullied as a kid. She once sang on a local TV station and her peers (the grubby-ass children she lived around) locked her in a closet due to their mortal jealousy. It wasn’t all bad though, she met her best friend in third grade, Judy Ogle. They remained best friends until Judy died in 2017. Rumors arose that Dolly and Judy were actually dating in secret at one point, but she denied the alleged relationship. Dolly isn’t a bigot though, so she didn’t feel the need to act like the rumor was insulting. She only ever denied it and kept it moving.
Dolly Parton has great taste
The queen of country music says her first crush was none other than Johnny Cash, because of course he was. She recalls seeing him at the Grand Ole Opry: “I was sitting in the audience and that’s when I first knew about sex appeal,” Parton told Nightline. “He had this tick when he moved his shoulder… and it was still sexy. It still got to me.” Although she was digging the man in black, she has famously been married to the same dude since 1966. That Dolly is an oak.
You can’t play miss Parton
One of her most famous songs, “I Will Always Love You”, was made a super hit by Whitney Houston in 1992, but there was another suitor gunning for that song, The King. That’s right, Elvis MF’in Presley had asked if he could cover it, but had the audacity to demand Dolly give up fifty percent of the publishing rights. She said that just didn’t sit right with her and felt a voice deep down that told her not to do it. Mamma ain’t raise no fool. Had she agreed to Elvis’s demand, Whitney’s version would never have happened.
She doesn’t fit into anyone’s mold
2020 has been a flaming pile of trash. Y’all don’t need me to tell you. As the pandemic rages and police brutality continues to plague our country, I got really nervous as various famous people started to share their political opinions. When I saw the headline “ Dolly Parton speaks on Black Lives Matter” my heart sank. I couldn’t bear it if she was opposed or even just tacitly neutral. Ah, but me of little faith – Dolly came out like the champ she is and laid down the law for all the racist haters. In an interview with Billboard she cemented herself as solid gold, “I understand people having to make themselves known and felt and seen,” she told the magazine. “And of course Black lives matter. Do we think our little white asses are the only ones that matter? No!”
There is a special quality that is hard to nail down about her
She is famously bold, courageous, and brimming with sassy one-liners, but that isn’t what makes her personality truly special. She has a motherly wise sage-ness about her that is really hard to put your finger on.
She recently did the Colbert show to promote her new book, “Songteller”. Colbert asked her where her love of songwriting came from and she responded by singing an old folk song her mother used to sing to her. About halfway through the song Colbert openly weeps. As he’s whipping his eyes, he can’t really explain why he started crying. She just affects people. She is powerful. Long live Parton, y’all.