Watch Dolly Parton gorgeously harmonise with her sisters in early TV performance

9 December 2022, 16:55

Dolly Parton's has many siblings, and some of them are musical too.
Dolly Parton's has many siblings, and some of them are musical too. Picture: Getty

By Thomas Curtis-Horsfall

Dolly Parton is a true legend that's had a long and illustrious life in music.

Dolly Parton has had a career longer than many of us were born, which is a testament to her unique songwriting talent, drive and ambition, as well as her loveable personality.

She became one of the biggest crossover country music artists during the 1970s with the tear-jerking hit 'Jolene'.

But she'd been carving her path in music for years prior to her mainstream success, moving to Nashville in 1964 after graduating high school.

After releasing her debut single 'Dumb Blonde', her talent was spotted by country music entertainer and television host Porter Wagoner.

He saw a lot of promise in Dolly, and wanted her to replace Norma Jean as the regular musical guest on his weekly show, The Porter Wagoner Show.

Though the show's audience rejected Dolly at first (she recounts being taunted by "Norma Jean" chants throughout her early performances), she finally convinced the world she deserved the chance.

And a few years after winning everyone over, she brought her two musical sisters, Stella and Cassie, on to the programme for an incredibly special performance.

Dolly Parton, Stella Parton & Cassie Parton singing “Break My Mind” - 1970

Though Dolly was still relatively unheard of at this time, she used the opportunity to bring her sisters into the limelight too.

Still to this day, it's not hugely known that her siblings were also musical, and they definitely weren't aware that they could harmonise effortlessly.

As we know with groups like the Bee Gees, siblings have a unique ability to harmonise - it's not taught, it's in their blood.

All matching in scarlet dresses with Dolly taking the lead on guitar, the sisters break into a gorgeous version of Linda Ronstadt's 'Break My Mind'.

Host Porter Wagoner must've thought he'd struck gold not just once, but thrice.

Dolly, Cassie and Stella harmonize effortlessly.
Dolly, Cassie and Stella harmonize effortlessly. Picture: Getty
Dolly and her siblings with their parents.
Dolly and her siblings with their parents. Picture: Dolly Parton/Instagram

Even the audience can't contain their amazement, as they keep gleefully clapping throughout whenever the Parton sisters pull off a seemingly difficult high note with little effort.

Dolly was one of twelve children, and she remembers being "dirt poor" as a child with her mother entertaining her brood by singing ancient ballads.

And Dolly's mother, Avie Lee, introducing her children to music at an early age clearly paid off.

Dolly has gone on to perform with her numerous sisters over the years, but this particular performance is so special because it's based on pure talent rather than the glitzy showmanship she's now known for.

It's a stripped-back performance from the three sisters which allows their incredible vocals to shine through.

Porter Wagoner helped Dolly get her big break. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
Porter Wagoner helped Dolly get her big break. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images). Picture: Getty

Throughout the years Dolly appeared on The Porter Wagoner Show, she and Porter recorded many successful albums together.

After bringing her on board to his show, Wagoner convinced his record label to sign Dolly as he knew she had enormous talent.

The pair covered Tom Paxton's 'The Last Thing on My Mind' in late 1967 which reached the country Top 10 the following January and launched a six-year streak of virtually uninterrupted Top 10 singles for the pair.

But Dolly's solo material was still largely ignored, much to the dismay to both Dolly and Wagoner.

He truly believed in Dolly's ability though and continued to push her, perhaps to lengths she may not have gone without his guidance or encouragement.

As we know now, the result was 1973 single 'Jolene' which saw Dolly become a huge success, and the pair remained friends for their entire lives.

Though Dolly may have moved on to bigger and better things, her performances on The Porter Wagoner Show shaped her career and helped to transform her from a rough talent to a global superstar.