10 of Dolly Parton’s Most Iconic Moments!

Dolly Parton will be hosting the 57th Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas–in the icon’s honor here’s a look back on some of her best moments.

The country music legend is set to host the event on March 7 at 8.pm. ET at the Allegiant Stadium, which can be streamed through Prime Video. In honor of Dolly being announced as host, we’re taking a look at some of her iconic moments in music, philanthropy, and more.

She first performed at the Grand Ole Opry When She was 13

The Grand Ole Opry is easily the most prestigious country venue in Nashville–and Dolly graced the stage when she was only 13. Naturally, years later, she earned herself a spot in the Country Music Hall of Fame.


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When She Released Dumb Blonde in 1967

The song became her first top 40 hit on the charts and famously attacks negative female stereotypes. Dolly has long been known for the feminist undertones in her work against the typically traditional grain of country music.

In 2020, Dolly’s donations to research helped make Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine possible.

At the start of the COVID–19 pandemic, Parton donated a million dollars to research on the virus. Much of her donation went into creating the vaccine. She told BBC’s The One Show “I just felt so proud to have been part of that little seed money that will hopefully grow into something great and help to heal this world.”


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When she revealed she donates the royalties from Whitney Houston’s iconic cover of “I Will Always Love You”

The track first appeared on Dolly’s 1974 album Jolene, but it was Whitney Houston’s 1992 cover that took the song to new heights. Because Dolly wrote and recorded the original, she still receives royalty payments for it–which she invested in office spaces in a predominantly Black community in Nashville, TN, in Whitney’s honor.

When she recorded a new duet of 9-5 with Kelly Clarkson

In anticipation of an upcoming documentary about the gender wage gap called Still Working 9 to 5 directed and produced by Gary Lane, the pair recorded a duet of the working woman’s anthem. The revamped version will be included in the film chronicling decades of women’s unionization efforts since the 1980 film also called 9 to 5.


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When she guest starred on Hannah Montana

Dolly Parton is Miley Cyrus’ real-life godmother! She played Miley’s aunt from Nashville on the show, who frequently imbues young Miley with wisdom and life advice. For many Gen Z Dolly fans, the “Aunt Dolly” episodes of the show are sweet childhood memories of the country star.


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When She Opened an Amusement Park

Dolly started the Dollywood Company, which opened its first amusement park in 1986 in Pigeon Forge, TN, close to where she grew up. Dollywood is easily the most iconic location, though other resorts owned by the company are located in Missouri and South Carolina.


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When She Starred in Joyful Noise alongside Queen Latifah

Dolly was a part of the star-studded cast of Joyful Noise in 2012, which followed a gospel choir from a small Georgia town on their quest to win a national competition. Parton and Latifah play the vocal coaches of the choir with differing ideas that eventually come together in a beautiful show of community.

When She Performed at Glastonbury Festival in 2014

The U.K. festival invited a lot of millennials and Gen Zers from across the pond, but the massive crowd knew every word of her 1974 hit “Jolene.” Her expansive career not only reached past Nashville, but across the world.

And Last But Not Least, Her Iconic Style

Known for her iconic big hair, colorful makeup, and flamboyant fashion, Dolly’s looks are ever evolving. From the Jolene album cover, the 9 to 5 movie premiere, performing with Elton John at the CMAs, and being honored at the Kennedy Center, Dolly is always dressed for the occasion.

Stay tuned for The Academy of Country Music Awards to see Dolly host the historic event!

About the Author

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Madison Goldberg

Madison E. Goldberg is a senior at Emerson College majoring in journalism and minoring in publishing and photography. She’s covered numerous topics in news and entertainment as a multimedia journalist.