For all you want to know about Dolly Parton, just ask her
Stars and Stripes July 12, 1979
TOKYO — Let some newcomer register one or two hits in the Top Ten and watch how casually the term "superstar" will be tossed around by the press, disc jockeys, booking and publicity agents. With so many "superstars" running around, how do you distinguish them from the super superstars?
It's plain that for Dolly Parton, simply calling her a superstar just won't do. How about supernova? Webster says a supernova is a rare phenomenon and that its brightness may be 100 million times that of the sun.
That fits Dolly perfectly.
At 33, she has risen to international stardom from a sharecropper's farm in Locust Ridge, Tenn. Named the Country Music Association's Entertainer of the Year last year, Dolly is now one of the hottest names in the pop field as well. She helped pioneer what has been called the "crossover" movement, in which songs are written and produced to appeal to both pop and country fans.
About a year ago, she sold out in New York City and received a welcome that few entertainers — much less country — receive from hard-to-please New Yorkers. Critics lauded her show, saying it was one of the most dynamic ever seen in the Big Apple. Dolly's visit was an event in a city where mere superstars walk the streets everyday.
She has taken Tokyo in much the same manner. At a press conference Monday in a Tokyo hotel, it was obvious from the moment she swept into the room in a flowing orange gown, smiling and joking, that Dolly was in control. As at most Japanese press conferences, none of the reporters wanted to be the first to ask a question. There's usually an awkward pause, but not with Dolly. If the press had no question, by gum, she did, and the first five or 10 minutes were spent with the press answering Dolly's questions. She wanted to know where people were from, how to say something in Japanese, how her music would be received in Japan, and so on.
Dolly is so much in control, so sure of herself, she seldom hedges on a question. Ask her anything and you'll get an answer, probably more to the point than you expected.
A reporter asked about some dialogue between her and Barbara Walters during a television interview aired in the United States about a year ago. In the interview, the reporter said, Miss Walters asked Dolly if the time spent away from her husband led to any hanky-panky on either's part. Dolly looked her in the eye and, said that both she and her husband had more important things to worry about. Was she insinuating that Miss Walters should also have more important things to worry about, the reporter asked. Dolly grinned and said that was the intention.
When asked why she was crossing over to pop, Dolly said she wanted to share her God-given talents with as many people as possible, that music is changing, and that she wants to introduce country music to people who might not otherwise listen to it. Then she said what everyone was thinking: "And I made up my mind a long time ago that I wanted to make as much money as I could in my life." She said it not boastfully or smart-alecky, just matter-of-factly.
Then there was the inevitable question, "What are your measurements?"
Again Dolly grinned, and she said," I don't really know. I'm not trying to present that. There's plenty, that's all I know."
She said she was still planning to do an album with Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris after an unsuccessful first attempt. She said the three of them went into the studio for a month, but there was "too much pressure from management, and we couldn't put any inspiration into it."
"When we do finally get it done," she added, "I hope it's as special as everyone thinks it will be:"
About her celebrated Playboy magazine interview, Dolly says she was skeptical about doing it at first, for fear of turning off some her country fans.