Image credit: T.o.D. at 45cat.com
Dolly Parton made her Grand Ole Opry debut 63 years ago today, on July 25, 1959.
Dolly began performing as a child, singing on local radio and television programs in the East Tennessee area. By ten, she was appearing on The Cas Walker Show on both WIVK Radio and WBIR-TV in Knoxville, Tennessee. Dolly made her first professional recording at age 13 when she recorded "Puppy Love" for Goldband Records. Released in April 1959, the single did not chart.
Dolly and her uncle Bill Owens had made musical connections while performing on The Cas Walker Show, and on the night of July 25, 1959, they managed to get Jimmy C. Newman to agree to give Dolly one of his spots on the Saturday night Grand Ole Opry. She was introduced by Johnny Cash who said, "We’ve got a little girl here from up in East Tennessee. Her daddy’s listening to the radio at home and she’s gonna be in real trouble if she doesn’t sing tonight, so let’s bring her out here." She then performed a cover of George Jones' "You Gotta Be My Baby" and received three encores. Dolly would not appear on the Opry stage again until October 7, 1967, and she became a member on January 4, 1969.
Listen below to Dolly's 1970 performance of "You Gotta Be My Baby" at her alma mater, Sevier County High School. She would later record a studio version of the song for the 1994 compilation Red Hot + Country.
Dolly goes reggae on a new version of "Two Doors Down" released on Friday, July 22, as a part of Positive Vibrations new album Country Goes Reggae. The song was previously released as a single from the album on July 8. The album also features appearances from Toby Keith, Jimmie Allen, Lainey Wilson, Alabama, and many others. Check out the complete track listing and take a listen to Dolly's new reggae version of "Two Doors Down" below.
The music video for "Someday It'll All Make Sense", Bill Anderson's new duet with Dolly, was released on Friday, July 22. The beautiful black and white video was directed by Trey Fanjoy who has previously collaborated with Dolly on music videos for "Jolene" (with Mindy Smith), "Welcome Home", "Heartbreaker's Alibi" (with Rhonda Vincent), "Backwoods Barbie", "Together You and I", and "You Can't Make Old Friends" (with Kenny Rogers). The song is the single from Bill Anderson's new compilation album, As Far as I Can See: The Best of Bill Anderson, which was released last month.