“My voice is pitched real high and people thought it sounded childish,” Parton explained in her first major interview with the Music City News in 1967. “They thought it sounded young — too young — so they thought I might have a better chance in rock ‘n’ roll since you really didn’t have to sing any certain way to be rock ‘n’ roll,” she quipped, laughing.
Luckily, Dolly herself was never confused about why she came to Nashville the day after she graduated high school from her tiny hometown in Eastern Tennessee. “I really came to do country because I always sung country,” the 21-year-old said in that same first interview, with characteristic gumption. “That’s what I was and what I wanted to be.”
The icon’s album-length introduction to the world makes it obvious that Dolly always knew who she was — her sound, her strengths and her ambitions — from the top of her teased and hairsprayed hair down to the tips of her toes. She just had to wait a few years (or decades, really) for the industry and the world to catch up.