You Say It's Your Birthday: Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton is celebrating her 52nd birthday today. While Parton may be

best-known for her bubbly personality, appearances in such films as "9 to

5" and her Dollywood theme park, she also has written and performed such

pop-country classics as "Here You Come Again," "Coat of Many Colors,"

"Jolene" and "I Will Always Love You," a song that Whitney Houston covered

with much success. Raised in extreme poverty with 11 brothers and sisters

in Locust Ridge, Tenn., Parton first started singing in a church choir.

She sang for the public when she was 10, appearing on the Cass Walker TV

show with her grade school class. By the time she was 13, she had a

long-running gig on Walker's radio show, had appeared a few times at the

Grand Ole Opry and was doing some recording for an indie label. Upon

graduating from high school in 1964, she moved to Nashville, Tenn., in an

effort to start her music career. By 1967, she scored a minor hit with

"Dumb Blonde" and appeared frequently on a televised variety show as "Miss

Dolly."

In 1969, she and signing partner Porter Wagoner were signed to RCA, and

they scored hits with such songs as "Just Someone I Used To Know" and

"Daddy Was an Old Time Preacher Man." Parton began scoring solo hits in

1970, first with "Joshua" and again a year later with "Coat of Many

Colors." By the late '70s, rock-oriented singers such as Linda Ronstadt

were scoring big hits by covering Parton's songs, so Parton decided to get

some of that success for herself by recording more pop-oriented tunes. Her

determination was met with great success and helped to usher country music

into the mainstream. In the '80s, Parton continued to tour and record for

a devoted audience, topping the charts with such songs as "Islands in the

Stream" (with Kenny Rodgers) and helping to expand her fan base by

appearing in such films as "The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas," "9 to 5"

and "Steel Magnolias." Parton opened her Dollywood theme park in 1986 and

earned her biggest success when she teamed up in 1987 with Emmylou Harris

and Linda Ronstadt to sing country standards on a multi-award winning album

called Trio. A winner of multiple Grammy awards and County Music

Association awards, Parton continues to tour and record.

Other birthdays: Phil Everly (Everly Brothers), 59; Rod Evans (Deep

Purple), 53; Robert Palmer (Power Station and solo career), 49; Dewey

Bunnell (America), 46; Mickey Virtue (UB40), 41; and Caron Wheeler (Soul II

Soul), 35.