Dolly Parton’s Iconic Manicures Has A Purpose

Dolly Parton’s Iconic Manicures Has A Purpose | I Love Classic Rock Videos

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Queen of Country Dolly Parton has steadily risen to become one of the world’s most cherished and commercially successful stars in her more than six-decade-long career in the entertainment industry.

Her enduring popularity and the admiration she commands in the music realm are evident in her latest album, Rockstar, released in 2023, a remarkable 64 years after her debut single, “Puppy Love”, hit the scene in 1959.

The album not only achieved impressive chart positions and received accolades from critics but also featured collaborations with prominent figures in pop music. From seasoned rock icons like Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr of The Beatles to contemporary voices like Miley Cyrus and Lizzo, the album showcased Parton’s versatility and widespread influence.

Despite crafting an estimated 3,000 songs and producing numerous studio albums, Parton’s Billboard success has been sporadic, yet the few songs that did climb the pop charts remain shining gems in her extensive discography. Such as the iconic 1980 hit “9 to 5”, a tribute to working women which, interestingly, Dolly composed using her acrylic fingernails.

Dolly created her most iconic song during filming’s downtime

Dolly Parton’s chart-topping sensation, “9 to 5”, is the pinnacle of her extensive career, yet its inception was rooted in unassuming circumstances. As Parton often recounts, the background of the song occurred on the film set of the eponymous comedy movie, where the country icon shared the screen with her longtime friends Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin.

Contrary to the glamorous image many harbor about the film industry, actors often experience prolonged periods of waiting between takes as crews arrange shots and other actors fulfill their scenes.

Parton reveals that her involvement in “9 to 5” was contingent on her ability to compose the theme song. Seizing the opportunity, she capitalized on the downtime during the film’s production to craft the iconic track.

The setting of the movie set, though not inherently glamorous for those behind the scenes, served as the creative backdrop for Parton’s prolific songwriting.

The unlikeliest use of Dolly’s acrylic fingernails

The country icon, renowned for her unique appearance, notably featuring long acrylic fingernails, has not only embraced a distinctive style but has also turned an apparent hindrance into a creative asset.

While she has openly acknowledged the challenges posed by the nails during her guitar playing, it’s intriguing to discover that they played a central role in the composition of her most iconic song.

Parton shared that during breaks between takes, she ingeniously crafted the melody of her famous song. Utilizing her acrylic nails, she employed them as makeshift percussion instruments by running the nails of both hands against each other.

This technique produced a rhythmic sound akin to a washboard, contributing to the distinctive and memorable quality of the composition. Parton’s ability to turn an apparent obstacle into a unique musical element adds an intriguing layer to the story behind the creation of her celebrated work.

Dolly’s talent is beyond guitars and acrylic nails

Although the distinctive sound of Parton’s fingernail scraping didn’t make its way into the final studio recording of “9 to 5”, its influence was not lost. Instead, it served as the inspiration for the typewriter sound effect woven into the verses, establishing a motif that captures the essence of working life.

Parton, delighted with her innovative on-the-go instrumentation, even gave credit to her nails in the liner notes of “9 to 5”, proudly listing herself as the songwriter, vocalist, guitarist, and nail player.

Yet, Parton’s musical prowess extends beyond her unconventional use of acrylic nails. Renowned as a veteran songwriter, she is reputed to possess a versatile skill set encompassing approximately 20 instruments.

Dolly, with her myriad musical signatures, has never been one to keep her groundbreaking use of acrylic nails to herself. In a notable 1987 TV appearance alongside iconic vocalist Patti LaBelle, Parton introduced LaBelle to her nail-playing technique. The duo then showcased their combined talent in a performance that featured the distinctive contribution of acrylic nails, which you can watch the performance below.