This video of Dolly Parton and Patti LaBelle playing music with their nails is spellbinding

26 May 2021, 16:47

Dolly Parton and Patti LaBelle playing 'Shortin' Bread' on their fingernails
Dolly Parton and Patti LaBelle playing 'Shortin' Bread' on their fingernails. Picture: Dolly Parton/Time Life

By Tom Eames

We've always known how talented Dolly Parton is, but did you know that she could turn her own fingernails into an instrument on her hits?

In a recently unearthed clip from 1987, Dolly Parton demonstrated her talents when showing off her acryllic nails during an interview on her variety show Dolly, with guest star Patti LaBelle.

Wearing matching fabulous dresses, the two legendary singers were discussing the process of writing songs.

“I write a lot of songs when I don’t have my guitar,” Dolly said. “I beat around the dashboard of my car when I’m riding around writing songs but then I have a little rhythm that we can do with these acrylic nails.”

Read more: When Dolly Parton gave a rousing impromptu performance in an Irish pub

The pair then launched into a version of folk song 'Short'nin' Bread' using just their nails as percussion. Watch the moment below:

Dolly Parton and Patti LaBelle play music on their nails

The clip came out as part of a new release of Dolly's archival material. Dolly: The Ultimate Collection is a 19-disc, 35-hour DVD collection containing performances and TV appearances, and even a Christmas concert.

And this wasn't the only time Dolly put her nails to good use. They actually played a big part in her hit song '9 to 5'.

In an interview on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, she revealed that part of the chorus was actually played on her nails.

Read more: The history of Dolly Parton and Carl Dean’s 54-year marriage, and their secret to long-lasting love

“When I actually wrote this song, I used my acrylic nails on the set when I was writing it. I did because they make noise and it sounded like a typewriter to me,” she said.

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“I played it on the actual record, it says 'Nails by Dolly' on the album!”

Last year, Dolly Parton spoke of the time that she was once due to record 'I Will Always Love You' with Elvis Presley before the pair had an unexpected clash over the song's publishing rights.