Country Music Game-Changer: Dolly Parton

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Eight Second Angel boots is proud to honor the roots of country music and the hard-working, independent women who played a part in making country music what it is today. 

What could possibly be added to the Dolly Parton conversation? Her legacy is iconic. She’s branded herself far beyond the scope of music, into fashion, TV, theatre and film. Parton has conquered every medium and the first solo female with such a universal one-name recognition. Of course, her catalog, with such signatures as “Coat of Many Colors,” “9 to 5,” “Jolene,” “Kentucky Gambler,” “I Will Always Love You,” “But You Know I Love You,” and “Tennessee Homesick Blues,” is one of the best-selling and most prolific of any female in history.

Parton’s work with Porter Wagoner also set a fire underneath the music scene, with such duets as “The Right Combination,” “Daddy Was an Old Time Preacher Man,” “Just Someone I Used to Know” and “The Pain of Loving You” (among many more). Their delicious harmonies and blistering chemistry was charming and engaging, to say the least, and exemplified the power of country and what it could do to move audiences around the world. Her business savvy, too, was something that set Dolly apart from anyone before or after her. She knew exactly where she wanted to take her career and (with a glowing smile on her face), she didn’t let anyone or anything stop her from reaching each dizzying height. Her can-do spirit was noticeable early on, and she’s gone on to star in such classic films as “Steel Magnolias,” “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas,” “Rhinestone” and of course, her signature “9 to 5.”

Parton exploded on screen in whatever role she stepped into; there was an innocence with which she stole each scene, cutting to the heart of the human experience. She also ventured into the theme park business, founding her own Dollywood in 1986. The roots of her park actually began with The Robbins Brothers in the early ’60s and their small-scale attraction that featured a steam engine called Klondike Katie, a general store, a blacksmith shop and a saloon. Throughout the next 20 years, it would expand as the Rebel Railroad, later renamed as the Goldrush Junction. In 1977, Jack and Pete Herschend of the Branson-based Herschend Enterprises purchased the attraction and again renamed it Silver Dollar City. Dolly would later become involved, adding her own flair to the attraction. To this day, she remains partners with the company and enjoys thousands upon thousands of visitors each and every year.

Before Parton, it was unheard of (in her time) for a woman to be as powerful or defy what the men were doing. She took the groundwork Kitty Wells and Loretta Lynn had built and framed a house of strong musical wood and glorious business fixtures, forever cementing that women could do what the men were doing (only much better). Parton’s music videos were far more rhinestone-studded, too, allowing the viewer to truly experience her songs in a fresh new way. Her live shows were equally as magnificent and showcased her masterful performance skills. There’s really nothing Dolly couldn’t do. She took over the world and has never looked back since.

That’s what makes a true game-changer.

Image Source: PR Photos