Here's Really How Dolly Parton Got Her Big Break

For over six decades, Dolly Parton has been one of the most successful artists of the country genre. Starting her career at just 10 years old, according to Grand Ole Opry, the megastar has gone on to find fame in pretty much every area of entertainment, even down to the theme park industry with her Tennessee resort, Dollywood. But how did The Queen of Nashville initially find success? 

Her major break came in 1966, when a demo of her track "Put It Off Until Tomorrow" was heard by country singer Bill Phillips, per Library of Congress. The singer had written and copyrighted the song the previous year, and with the help of Phillips, the demo was recorded as an official single, and would later become one of the biggest country hits of that year. The success of the song "brought Parton to the attention of DJs all over the country", and led to her recording more successful country songs like 'Dumb Blonde' in 1967.

Dolly recalls receiving the "best break" in her life

It was "Dumb Blonde" that caught the attention of Porter Wagoner, "who at that time had the number one syndicated country show in the nation," Dolly Parton told Vanity Fair (via YouTube). At the time, Wagoner had just lost Norma Jean as a singer, and was looking for a replacement – which is where Parton came in. She joined and became a major part of The Porter Wagoner Show, where she would debut some of her most well-known singles such as "Jolene" (via The Boot). 

"So that was the best break of my life, ever," Parton explained during a press conference celebrating her 50th anniversary as a member of the Grand Ole Opry. She went on to describe how she and Porter were together all the time, and had a sibling-like relationship. "But we were very prosperous together, very productive, and we sang great together," the singer explained. "So I thank him every day."