Dolly Parton Talks to Rocking God’s House
Her New Career Milestone — 100 Million Albums Sold!
I was proud to finally get my opportunity to speak with the Icon of Country Music, Dolly Parton. She is truly the reason that country music appeals to people of all backgrounds all over our nation and beyond. She is the most celebrated female entertainer in country music history, recently receiving an accolade from RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) for career sales of more than 100 million albums worldwide. That means that roughly one in 70 people on the planet have in some fashion contributed to Dolly Parton’s success over her storied career. That’s an insane ratio considering we have 7 billion people on Earth right now. Not bad for someone from a family of 12 from Sevier County, Tennessee, who considered her family “dirt poor,” and the day Dolly the fourth child was born, her parents paid the doctor with a bag of oatmeal.
While overseas attending the historic Glastonbury Music Festival, Dolly was presented with the special plaque by CTK Management and CEO of Dolly Records President Danny Nozell and Glastonbury owner Michael Eavis, who helped Dolly commemorate the evening and the sales of all the albums worldwide.
I alongside approximately 70 other journalists stood by the phone for a 5 p.m. Stockholm, Sweden — 10 a.m. Nashville time — phone interview for the opportunity to speak with the Legend herself. She was in the midst of completing her European tour, and we discussed her new album Blue Smoke and what the future holds for Dolly. Blue Smoke, released in May, is her highest charting album ever, hitting #6 in the UK. Blue Smoke: The Best of , a double-CD follow-up release that includes Blue Smoke and a collection of greatest hits, features “Home,” “Blue Smoke,” a new duet with longtime friend Kenny Rogers, and even a duet with Bon Jovi.
How did it feel to receive such an incredible honor?
I’ve been so busy making records for the past several decades; I didn’t realize I had racked up so many sales. What a great honor to know that I have so many fans that have supported me through the years. Thanks to the RIAA for the acknowledgment and the plaque. I feel very honored and proud.
How did the song “Lay Your Hands On Me” come to be on the album?
I really liked that song. When I heard that song years ago, it sounded like a gospel song to me. I grew up in the church where people would lay hands on people to pray for the sick or to make them feel better. So, I asked Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora if they would consider turning it into a gospel song. It turned out to be one of my favorite songs on the album.
We heard you shipped your buses to the UK for this tour. What made you decide to do this?
I love living on the bus instead of moving in and out of hotels. We have been on tour so many times over the years. I find I like living on the bus as opposed to going in and out of hotels. I have two buses that are fully stocked with my things in case we have to fly to another country. The bus kinda gives me that feeling of home, and I don’t have to scatter my stuff everywhere as I travel. I’m just a gypsy and this is my caravan. [laughing]
Do you have an update on “Doggy Parton?” [Note: After the Glastonbury event, the workers began cleaning up the acres of land when out pops a white fluffy dog that was left behind. The abandoned dog became known as “Doggy Parton.” Dolly planned to adopt the dog if the proper owners were not found.]
We just found out the owners and the dog were reunited. They had reported her missing. I’m a little disappointed because I was going to name her Glassy in honor of the Glastonbury festival . We could say Glassy comes home. Actually her full name was going to be Glassy Doggy Parton because there can be only one Dolly! I’m very glad to be instrumental in the process of helping find her owners. I feel kinda sad because I was looking forward to taking her home with me. But I’m glad there was a happy ending. I was not going to drop the ball or the dog!
How are the fans of Europe different from American fans?
European fans go out of their way to show you how much they appreciate you and love you. In America, they know they will get to see you again soon. Overseas, they know that it may be awhile before they get to see you again. The excitement is so hard to describe. I try to give them everything I possibly can since I don’t know when I will get to come back to see them. Don’t get me wrong, I love all of my fans, both American and European.
How do you maintain such a high level of energy over a 40-year career?
I think it is important to stay busy. Keep a good attitude above everything else. It also helps to have good doctors and good makeup too. I have a good attitude and I love my work. I don’t think the years matter so much if you keep yourself busy.
Do you have any future plans for touring?
I’m taking off for awhile after this world tour. I’m working on my life story as a musical and even as a movie. I don’t have plans for another world tour right now. I would be interested in doing a movie if the right script came along.