Exclusive: Dolly Parton talks Elvis, 9 to 5, MeToo and what she'd tell Jolene today

16 February 2019, 14:20 | Updated: 26 February 2020, 19:35

By Tom Eames

Smooth were in the presence of a true icon this morning (February 16).

Dolly Parton is currently in the UK for the launch of her new 9 to 5 musical on London's West End, and Smooth's very own Dolly superfan Myleene Klass caught up with her idol.

Talking about the musical, Dolly said that she was particularly excited as the plot of the show is perfect timing for 2019.

"This show is 40 years old, when Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda and I did the original movie," Dolly old Myleene. "Then I wrote a musical that was on Broadway for a while.

"So, now with the MeToo movement, they thought it would be a wonderful time to revamp the whole show, and so here we are. We've got a wonderful cast, I've written a couple of new pieces for it, and we're excited about it."

Discussing some of her most famous songs, Dolly also spoke about how Elvis Presley almost released 'I Will Always Love You', years before Whitney Houston made it famous.

"Elvis loved the song, and he was planning to do it on one of his last albums, I assume." she said. "He was in Nashville, and they called to say he was recording it.

"I was so excited and the night before, Colonel Tom Parker, his manager, called and said 'you know we don't do anything with Elvis unless we get half the publishing'. And I said 'well, you can't have half the publishing, because I just had a number one hit, and it's my most important copyright to date'. So he said 'well, we can't record it'.

Myleene Klass spoke to Dolly Parton ahead of the 9 to 5 launch in London
Myleene Klass spoke to Dolly Parton ahead of the 9 to 5 launch in London. Picture: Smooth/Global

"I cried all night, because I already told everybody that Elvis was gonna record it. I was going to go down the studio and watch him record it, I'd never met him. They didn't do it, but that's a decision I had to make as a business person.

"It was years later when Whitney did it, I was so glad that I kept 100% of the publishing!"

On her iconic hit 'Jolene' - which included Dolly singing 'Myleene' instead to the presenter's utter joy - Dolly gave some advice for any potential real-life homewreckers.

"There's always gonna be Jolene's out there, and for men there's always gonna be a Joe, who's trying to steal your wife, or a Jolene who's trying to steal your man," she said.

"There's always someone you feel is a bit better than you, that could steal the person you love. We're all like that, no matter how beautiful you may be, or successful. If you love someone, you always fear that you could lose them. I would just say 'you've got to take care of your own things'.

"Actually, we did a movie of 'Jolene', played by Julianne Hough, and it shows why Jolene became how she was, because she had a bad home, her father was no good and her mother had left her, so she's trying to find love in all the wrong places. So there's always a reason, even for a Jolene, to act the way they do.

"Of course you need to mind your own business, try not to step into other people's stuff. You know how it is with love, you gotta love who you love. You can't stop it if you're feeling something."

Dolly Parton will appear at the gala launch of 9 to 5 on Sunday (February 17).