photo of Dolly in 1955/ Photo of Dolly Parton in 2019
Country singer Dolly Parton poses for a portrait in circa 1955 in Tennessee. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)/Dolly Parton attends the 53nd annual CMA Awards at Bridgestone Arena on November 13, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Taylor Hill/Getty Images)

Dolly Parton Through the Years, From the 1950s to Today


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Dolly Parton has had quite a successful career throughout her life. The singer, songwriter, actress, author, businesswoman and all around legedary icon is an eight-time Grammy winner and has received at least one nomination from the Emmy Awards, Tony Awards, Academy Awards, Grammy Awards and Golden Globe Awards. With over 3,000 composed songs, she has touched the heart of many with memorable songs, such as "Coat of Many Colors," "I Will Always Love You," and "Jolene."

So, let's take a look back and see all that the icon has achieved in her 76 years of living.

1950s

Country singer Dolly Parton poses for a portrait in circa 1955 in Tennessee.

Country singer Dolly Parton poses for a portrait in circa 1955 in Tennessee. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Dolly Parton was born on January 19, 1946, in Tennessee and is the fourth of twelve children. As a child, the singer began performing on local radio and TV programs, appearing on The Cas Walker Show on WBIR-TV and WIVK Radio by the age of 10 in Knoxville, Tennessee. At the mere age of 13, she recorded her first single through Goldband Records and appeared at the Grand Ole Opry where she met Johnny Cash. Throughout her years, Parton has credited her musical abilities to her mother who always kept her children entertained with folk music.

1960s

Country singer Dolly Parton poses for a portrait in 1965 in Nashville, Tennessee.

NASHVILLE - 1965: Country singer Dolly Parton poses for a portrait in 1965 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Parton officially signed with Monument Records in 1965 at the young age of 19. Back in the day, the singer was referred to as a "bubblegum pop" singer, but little did they know she would grow up to be one of the greatest country singers of all time. Although she released multiple singles, the only single that charted at that time was "Happy, Happy Birthday Baby." 

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Country singers Dolly Parton and Porter Wagoner perform onstage in circa 1967 in Nashville, TN. Mr. Wagoner is wearing a Nudie suit desgned by Nudie Cohn of Nudie's Rodeo Tailors.

CIRCA 1967: Country singers Dolly Parton and Porter Wagoner perform onstage in circa 1967 in Nashville, TN. Mr. Wagoner is wearing a Nudie suit designed by Nudie Cohn of Nudie's Rodeo Tailors. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

In 1967, Parton entered the TV world after country music entertainer and musician Porter Wagoner offered her a regular spot on his TV program The Porter Wagoner Show and a spot on his roadshow. The two performed several duets together throughout Parton's time on the show.

Country singer Porter Wagoner flanked by Dolly Parton and two other men presents a man with an "Honorary Wagonmaster" plaque in circa 1968.

CIRCA 1968: Country singer Porter Wagoner flanked by Dolly Parton and two other men presents a man with an "Honorary Wagonmaster" plaque in circa 1968. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

In 1967, Parton released "Dumb Blonde," which was her first country single off her album Hello, I'm Dolly. The song hit No. 24 on the charts. She quickly signed with Wagoner's label, RCA. Fast forward to next year, the singer released the top 10 hit "The Last Thing On My Mind" with Wagoner, and both were named Vocal Group of the Year by the CMA. That same year, she released her first solo single for RCA Victor.

Closing out the '60s, the singer released the 1969 sing "The Good Old Days (When Times Were Bad), and was proudly inducted into the Grand Ole Opry!

1970s

 

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Country singer Dolly Parton poses for a portrait, circa 1970.

Country singer Dolly Parton poses for a portrait, circa 1970. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

In 1971, Parton received her first No. 1 single, "Joshua," which was the start of her many hits. She quickly went on to release "Coat of Many Colors." Fast forward to 1973, she made history with the release of "Jolene," which is one of her biggest hits to date.

"Jolene" has become a signature song for the singer, covered by several other artists, including her goddaughter Miley Cirus, Olivia Newton-John, Pentatonix and more.

 

Dolly Parton 1977

Dolly Parton 1977 (Photo by Chris Walter/WireImage)

By 1974, Parton decided to switch things up and leave Wagoner's group. She performed her last show in April 1974, but Wagoner would continue to produce her albums. By 1976 she would have her own TV variety show, Dolly! which had high ratings, airing for one season.

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 Photo of Dolly PARTON

Photo by Andrew Putler/Redferns

 

1977 was a big year for Parton, as "Here You Come Again" hit the big chars, becoming Partons first song to officially sell a million! The song topped the country singles chart for five weeks and won a Grammy Award for Best Female Country Vocal Performance. It quickly became Parton's first significant pop crossover hit.

Country singer Dolly Parton poses for a portrait session dressed as a playboy bunny, 1978 in Los Angeles, California.

Country singer Dolly Parton poses for a portrait session dressed as a playboy bunny, 1978 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry Langdon/Getty Images)

In 1978, Parton shocked the world after proudly posing for Playboy, and may we say, she rocked it. She recently made headlines for it again, talking about the iconic moment on Scott Mills & Chris Stark Show on BBC Radio 5 in October 2020.

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"I just might do it," Parton said of her Playboy shoot. "If I can do it in good taste and they want it, we'll do it along with a really good interview inside. So, yeah, it's possible. Yep, we've talked about it."

The singer and actress actually dressed up in Playboy bunny outfit again in order to honor her husband, Carl Thomas Dean, for his 79th birthday.

1980s

Dolly Parton, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin at the film premiere of "9 to 5," New York, December 5th 1980.

Dolly Parton, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin at the film premiere of "9 to 5," New York, December 5th 1980. (Photo by Tom Wargacki/WireImage)

1980 was a big year for Parton; her acting career took a huge leap with 9 to 5, featuring the iconic Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda. Parton even recorded the theme song for the film, which reached  No. 1 on the country, pop and adult contemporary charts. "9 to 5" received a nomination for an Academy Award for Best Orignal Song.

 

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Dolly Parton performs on stage at The Dominion Theatre on March 29th, 1983 in London, United Kingdom

Dolly Parton performs on stage at The Dominion Theatre on March 29th, 1983 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Pete Still/Redferns)

9 to 5 was just the beginning for Parton, as she starred on the big screen for the second time in The Best Little Whore House in Texas in 1982. She also went on to record a new version of "I Will Always Love You" for the film in 1982.

Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton circa 1985 in New York City.

Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton circa 1985 in New York City. (Photo by PL Gould/IMAGES/Getty Images)

In 1983, she released the fan favorite duet, "Island in the Streams" with Kenny Rogers, which came out in the summer, staying at No. 1 for a total of two weeks. The song was the first single from Rogers' album, Eyes That See in the Dark. It was originally written for Marvin Gaye and was later given to Rogers. It has since been double-certified Platinum and gold-certified by the Recording Industry Association of America.

In 1984, Parton received her first of two Hollywood Walk of Fame stars alongside Rhinestone co-star Sylvester Stallone, marking a milestone for the singer.

American singer and songwriter Dolly Parton poses for a portrait at Dollywood on October 24, 1988 in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

American singer and songwriter Dolly Parton poses for a portrait at Dollywood on October 24, 1988 in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. (Photo by Ron Davis/Getty Images)

One of the most memorable milestones the singer has accomplished was in 1986 after opening and co-owning The Dollywood Company, which operates the theme park Dollywood located in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. She was also inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame and was named as one of Ms. Magazine's Women of the Year.

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American country music singer and actress Dolly Parton poses with a People's Choice Award, March 13, 1988. She wears a white sequinned dress with transparent shoulders and long earrings. (Photo by Fotos International/Robert Scott/Getty Images)

Parton made her return to country music in 1987, releasing her album Trio with Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt. The album was a hit, winning two Grammy Awards.

Read More: 'Trio':Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt's Testament to Friendship and Artistry

American singer and songwriter Dolly Parton poses for a portrait with American film actress Daryl Hannah during the "Steel Magnolia's" New York premiere on November 10, 1989 in New York, New York.

American singer and songwriter Dolly Parton poses for a portrait with American film actress Daryl Hannah during the "Steel Magnolia's" New York premiere on November 10, 1989 in New York, New York. (Photo by Ron Davis/Getty Images)

1989 was a staple year for Parton after releasing her 29th studio album, White Limozeen, released on her new record label, Columbia Nashville. The album produced two No. 1 singles, "Yellow Roses" and "Why'd You Come in Here Lookin' Like That." The album spent a total of 100 weeks, peaking. at No. 3 on the U.S. country albums chart.

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The singer also went on to star in the popular American comedy-drama, Steel Magnolias, starring alongside Sally Field, Daryl Hannah, Shirley MacLaine, Julia Roberts and Olympia Dukakis.

1990s

1990'S: American singer and songwriter Dolly Parton poses for a portrait for her birthday circa 1990's. (Photo by Ron Davis/Getty Images)

 

In the 90s, Parton went on to continue her classic album streak, releasing her 31st solo studio album, Eagle When She Flies on March 7, 1991. The album was Parton's first solo album to peak at No. 1 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart since 9 to 5 and Odd Jobs.

American singer-songwriter Dolly Parton poses for a studio portrait circa 1992 in Lake Tahoe, California.

American singer-songwriter Dolly Parton poses for a studio portrait circa 1992 in Lake Tahoe, California. (Photo by Ron Davis/Getty Images)

In 1993, she went on to release Slow Dancing With the Moon, her 32nd studio album, which featured several guest artists including Tanya Tucker, Billie Dean, Marty Stuart, Billy Ray Cyrus and more. It was certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America.

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Dolly Parton Signs Her New Book "Dolly: My Life And Other Unfinished Business

Photo by Jim Smeal/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

On October 1, 1994, Parton released her first book, Dolly: My Life and Other Unfinished Business through HarperCollins imprint. The book recounts how she grew up in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennesee as well as her music, marriage, religion, her opinions on plastic surgery and her own persona.

 Dolly Parton stands with the award she won during the Country Music Awards 02 October at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville TN. Parton won for Vocal Event of the Year with "I Will Always Love You" with special guest Vince Gill.

Dolly Parton stands with the award she won during the Country Music Awards 02 October at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville TN. Parton won for Vocal Event of the Year with "I Will Always Love You" with special guest Vince Gill. AFP PHOTO Doug COLLIER (Photo credit should read DOUG COLLIER/AFP via Getty Images)

In 1995, the singer and Vince Gill collaborated for a special recording of "I Will Always Love You," which earned the pair a CMA Award for Vocal Event of the Year. The duet included on her album Something Special. The song debuted on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart at number 53.

2000s

Dolly Parton smiles in her limousine after checksing out of a midtown hotel December 7, 2000 in New York City.

Dolly Parton smiles in her limousine after checksing out of a midtown hotel December 7, 2000 in New York City. (Photo by Arnaldo Magnani/Liaison)

In 1999 Dolly just kept succeeding; she was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. (In 2011, she was inducted into the Songwriter Hall of Fame.)

In 2002, she decided to end her 10-year rest and officially get back on the road for her Halos and Horns tour to support her album.

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Dolly Parton and Porter Wagoner during 2003 BMI Country Music Awards at BMI Nashville in Nashville, Tennessee, United States.

Dolly Parton and Porter Wagoner during 2003 BMI Country Music Awards at BMI Nashville in Nashville, Tennessee, United States. (Photo by Frank Mullen/WireImage)

On Nov. 4, 2003, Parton was honored as a BMI Icon for her "unique and indelible influence on generations of music makers" during the 51st annual BMI  Country Awards. The organization honored the singer for helping revolutionize country music for women through performing, songwriter, entrepreneurial ventures, and film and TV projects. At that time, the singer had more than 100 charting songs, including 24 No.1 hits.

Dolly Parton during Dolly Parton in Concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - August 18, 2005 at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, New York, United States.

Dolly Parton during Dolly Parton in Concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - August 18, 2005 at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by E. Dougherty/WireImage for Sugarhill Records)

Parton was back on the charts in 2005 after releasing "When I Get Where I'm Going" with Brad Paisley. It. was the second single from Paisley's album, Time Well Wasted, and was Parton's 25th Billboard No. 1. That same year she was also the recipient of the National Medal of Arts.

And let's not forget about her iconic performance with Elton John during the 29th CMA Awards.

Dolly Parton poses at the Dorchester Hotel in December 2007 in London

Dolly Parton poses at the Dorchester Hotel in December 2007 in London (Photo by Eva Edsjo/Redferns)

In 2006, Parton went on to release another book, Dolly's Dixie Fixin's: Love, Laughter, and Lots of Good Food, which was a southern-style cookbook.

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The following year she released "Better Get to Livin'" under her own record label, making it the first single from her label.

To close the year out with a bang, "I Will Always Love You," originally recorded in 1974, was inducted by the Grammy Hall of Fame.. In 2008, following the success of 9 to 5, she wrote the score for the musical, based on the film, and the musical opened on Broadway in April of that year.

Country music singer Dolly Parton addresses an audience on February 10, 2009 at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. Parton was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame last week.

Country music singer Dolly Parton addresses an audience on February 10, 2009 at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. Parton was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame last week. AFP PHOTO/Karen BLEIER (Photo credit should read KAREN BLEIER/AFP via Getty Images)

In 2009, Parton was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame due to her gospel records and Christian-themed songs. The following year, the theme park industry recognized Parton when she earned the Liseberg Applause Award for Dollywood.

Today

Singer-songwriter and producer Dolly Parton, winner of the Tex Ritter Award for 'Dolly Parton's Coat of Many Colors,' poses in the press room during the 51st Academy of Country Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 3, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Singer-songwriter and producer Dolly Parton, winner of the Tex Ritter Award for 'Dolly Parton's Coat of Many Colors,' poses in the press room during the 51st Academy of Country Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 3, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)

In 2015, Parton executive produced Coat of Many Colors, which was a TV Drama film based on the true story of her upbringing. The film detailed Parton's childhood, showcasing the struggles her family went through in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee.

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In April 2016, the film was honored during the Academy of Country Music Awards with the Tex Ritter Award. Alyvia Alyn Lind, who portrayed a young Parton, was nominated for Best Actress in a Movie/Miniseries at the 6th Critics' Choice Television Awards.

Dolly Parton accepts the Hitmaker Award during the Billboard Women In Music 2020 event on December 10, 2020. (Photo by 2020 Billboard Women In Music

Dolly Parton accepts the Hitmaker Award during the Billboard Women In Music 2020 event on December 10, 2020. (Photo by 2020 Billboard Women In Music/Getty Images for Billboard)

2020 was quite a busy year for Parton, as she produced and starred in the Netflix musical film Dolly Parton's Chrismas on the Square, in which she won a Primetime Emmy Award for Oustanding Television Movie. Later that year she received the hitmaker award from her very own goddaughter Miley Cyrus at the Billboard Women in Music awards for paving the way for women in the industry.

During her speech, Parton thanked several hitmakers, saying "I'd like to acknowledge a few -- some of them older, kind of back in my day. Cindy Walker, who wrote some of the greatest songs ever and of course Loretta Lynn, wonderful wonderful songwriter. And this day in time, of course, Taylor Swift, she's just right up there, probably number one. And of course, Brandi Carlile, there's just so many" Parton stated. "I think it's so important that we acknowledge the women that write and sing in country music. And I think it's also very important that they take control of their own business."

Dolly Parton performs at the 2021 Kiss Breast Cancer Goodbye Concert at CMA Theater at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum on October 24, 2021 in Nashville, Tennessee.

Dolly Parton performs at the 2021 Kiss Breast Cancer Goodbye Concert at CMA Theater at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum on October 24, 2021 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images)

In December 2021, Parton was presented with three new awards by the Guinness World Records in Nashville, Tennessee. She received the record for the most decades on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart by a female artist (seven in total) and most No. 1 hits (25) on the Billboard US Hot Country Songs chart for a female artist. She also went on to break her own record for the most hits on the chart, releasing 109 songs that have made it on the Billboard chart.

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