Country Throwback: Dolly Parton Stuns Singing First #1 Song ‘Joshua’ on TV in 1971

by Emily Morgan

Even though Dolly Parton is known as a global icon today, there actually was a point in her life when she wasn’t worldwide famous. Believe it or not. After discovering her passion for songwriting as a little girl in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains, she received notoriety in the country music world for her work with the late singer Porter Wagoner.

However, thanks to one song, Parton finally broke out as a solo performer, and her destiny was forever changed.

One of her earliest singles, “Joshua,” will forever be remembered as the song that shot Dolly Parton into stardom. The song was a follow-up single to her first Top 10 solo release titled “Mule Skinner Blues.”

Released in November 1970, “Joshua” acted as the lead single and title track to Dolly Parton’s album of the same name.

The song hit the charts at No. 12 on the country chart and kept climbing until it reached the No. 1 spot on February 6, 1971.

The song is about a withdrawn man Parton knew when she was a child. She sings about a curious young girl who visits a “rundown shack” where a local hermit lived. After hearing tales about the man, she decided to see for herself if they were true.

After meeting the man, they develop a friendly relationship. As the song describes, they talked for hours and hours and “couldn’t help but fall in love.”

In 1971, Parton dazzled audiences everywhere when she performed the track. Viewers found it impossible not to fall in love with the big-haired, bubbly, and outgoing Parton.

Dolly Parton’s Other Hit Similar To ‘Joshua’

Following the release, Parton recorded another song eerily reminiscent of “Joshua,” titled “Applejack.”

While Parton never released the song as a single, it connected to Parton more than “Joshua.”

Dolly Parton paid tribute to her dearfriend, Jackson Taylor, through “Applejack.”

Parton grew up with Taylor in east Tennessee, and she often described him as a dirty old man with a long beard. As Parton tells it, she would sneak out of her house to sing with Jackson on his front porch. He would pick the banjo, and she would play her tambourine.

At 75-years-old, Parton hasn’t forgotten her good friend “Applejack,” and still honors him and their friendship every time she plays the song.