Country Throwback: Dolly Parton Sings With Parents, Siblings on Her TV Show

by Josh Lanier

Dolly Parton comes from a musical family. Her uncle helped get her into the business as a teenager, and her parents instilled her with a love of singing and encouraged her talent.

Dolly: The Ultimate Collection includes a clip from an episode of her variety show featuring her family. The show had celebrities and singers of the day, but it was important for Parton that her family be a part of the show as well.

“They’re the stars to me,” she said.

The clip features Parton singing with her parents and seven of her siblings. Something she said happened often when she was growing up.

“I grew up in a very musical family, all my mother’s people were very musical, so I was always around people playing instruments and singing, and my mom singing the old songs,” Parton told People about her mother Avie Lee. “So that was just part of my being and I just knew I loved it. I just continued doing that, it was just a natural thing.”

Parton’s five sisters and six brothers grew in Sevier County, Tennessee near the Smokey Mountains. Her dad, Robert, died in 2000, and her mom passed away in 2003. Her brother Floyd died in 2018. In the Time Life clip, current-day Parton sings one of her mother’s favorite songs “In the Sweet By and By.”

“Mom and dad are not here anymore and some other family members, but I always think of that song we used to sing,” she said.

In the sweet by and by. We shall meet on that beautiful shore,” she sings before stopping. “And I’m sure we will.”

Parton picked the clips from her show that made it into the Time Life collection. It features a number of famous cameos including Miley Cyrus, Kenny Rogers, and Mrs. Piggie, who sang a duet together.

Johnny Cash Shouts Out Dolly Parton’s Dad

Dolly Parton celebrated her 51st anniversary Monday of being inducted into the Grand Ole Opry. She first appeared on the Opry stage 10 years before that. Her uncle, Bill Owens, was a guest on the show.

Johnny Cash introduced her, shouting out her dad.

“We’ve got a little girl here from up in East Tennesse,” he said, per The Boot. “Her daddy’s listening to the radio at home, and she’s gonna be in real trouble if she doesn’t sing tonight, so let’s bring her out here.”

Parton performed “You Gotta Be My Baby” by George Jones. “As I heard the band play my introduction, I lifted my head and looked up toward the lights,” Parton said. “I smiled at the people in the balcony and then let ‘er rip.”