Dolly's humble beginnings shape her life and career

Dolly's humble beginnings shape her life and career

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Dolly began performing on Knoxville radio and television shows when she was 10. Dolly began performing on Knoxville radio and television shows when she was 10.

SEVIERVILLE (WATE) - Dolly Parton's parents struggled to make ends meet while living in Locust Ridge, a rural area in the mountains of Sevier County.

Dolly was born on January 19, 1946,  the fourth of 12 children.

The song she wrote years later that helped propel her to stardom, "Coat of Many Colors," describes her family's poor existence in those early days.

Dolly was given her first guitar when she was eight years old. She began performing on Knoxville radio and television shows when she was 10.

She recorded her first song, "Puppy Love," when she was 13.

"I always wanted to be a star. It just seemed natural to me," Dolly says in her website bio. "Making music is all I've ever known."

In a "60 Minutes" interview in April 2009, Dolly told Morley Safer that she settled on her image, with colored hair, fake nails, high heels and short skirts, when she was a child.

"The woman that I was most impressed with when I was a little girl was the town tramp. But I didn't know what that meant," Dolly said.

Dolly left for Nashville the day after her graduation from high school in Sevier County in 1964.

On her first afternoon in Nashville she met Carl Dean at the Wishy Washy Laundromat. He became her husband two years later in May 1966.

Though Dolly and Dean helped to raise several of her younger siblings, the couple has no children of their own.

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