She's written some of the greatest songs in popular music history - Jolene, I Will Always Love You, My Tennessee Mountain Home. She grew up with her 11 brothers and sisters in a two-room shack and conquered the world. She's sold 100m records and counting. Her best songs are like perfect short stories from the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. She writes about love, family, God and self-assertion. Her voice has a crystalline purity. She can make pink rhinestone stetsons seem cool. At the age of 62, she compares herself to a Barbie doll, regularly reconstitutes herself with plastic surgery, and tells the world about it while managing to maintain her privacy and dignity. She says the only bit of her that is real is her heart ("It costs a lot of money to look this cheap"). Her Imagination Library has distributed 11m books to children aged five and under, and now Rotherham is benefiting from her literacy scheme. She's an entrepreneur, an actor, a film producer, a living country legend. She's wise ("The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain"). She's tough ("I'm old enough and cranky enough now that if someone tried to tell me what to do, I'd tell them where to put it"). And the lady's got so many jokes she makes Mae West seem positively po-faced ("I was the first woman to burn my bra - it took the fire department four days to put it out"). Now she is back in Britain, singing, playing any number of instruments and reminding us of all that's good in life. We will always love you, Dolly.
Editorial: In praise of... Dolly Parton
Editorial: We will always love you, Dolly