Dolly Parton, 74, is a national treasure with more inductions into Halls of Fame than almost any other artist in the world. She has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and a string of albums dating back to 1967.
A movie star and a songstress known for many hits such as “9 to 5,” Parton has released more than 60 studio albums in her career, the most recent of which was “A Holly Dolly Christmas,” which dropped in October 2020. Her style of music might not suit all tastes but her longevity is a testament to both her resilience and widespread appeal, Gala Bingo suggests.
Country music might be a niche in some areas of the world but Parton managed to make it as mainstream as possible and appeal to audiences much wider than its natural fan base in the United States. Recently, she admitted that she often draws inspiration from the strangest of places, in particular, graveyards.
Parton admitted in her recent book “Songteller: My Life in Lyrics” that there are many examples of her finding stories and songs amongst the graves of the deceased. Porter Wagoner‘s 1971 hit “Out of the Silence (Came a Song)“ was inspired by Graveyard Hill, a cemetery near her home in Cumberland City, Tennessee, USA.
Often, Parton’s mind imagines the lives those buried might have lived, which leads her to create songs and lyrics. One such song is “Jeannie’s Afraid of the Dark,” which included the lyric, “But on Jeannie’s grave, we placed an eternal flame that glows and never loses its spark.”
“In fact, my niece and I had a picnic in a graveyard three days ago,” Parton told Taste of Country recently. “I just love walking through them and looking at (the headstones). I just love to imagine what people’s lives were like. They are so well kept, and they are peaceful. It’s not the dead I’m afraid of. It’s the living!”
In 2020, Parton experienced something of a renaissance, having not released an album for three years previous. Early in the year, she shared a meme on her Facebook account that did not just go viral but drove millions of people around the world to emulate.
Among the stars who copied Parton’s post were Mark Ruffalo, 53, Conan O’Brien, 57, and Naomi Campbell, 50. It paved the way for a generation of young people to discover Parton’s music and personality.
Following that up with a book and then the Christmas album meant that Parton’s star rose once again in a troubled year around the globe. Her book is not so much a biography as a trip through her song lyrics, with introductions outlining her thoughts on the song and anecdotes which help bring them to life for fans both new and old.
It is peppered with photos throughout Parton’s career too and has helped make her once again accessible to mainstream music lovers. All those elements combined to her announcing a 75th birthday stadium tour this year if circumstances allow.
There are also plans for a Broadway show too. This means 2021 could once again be a big year for the Queen of Country and she may well have to spend a bit more time on Graveyard Hill looking for inspiration for new material!