Dolly Parton Recalls the Time She Drove a New Car Into the Side of the RCA Building

by Lauren Boisvert
(Photo by Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)

Dolly Parton should be considered a national treasure. Sitting down with the podcast Country Heat, Dolly Parton recently spoke about her dream collaboration; what it was like returning to host the 57th American Country Music Awards; plus, she shared a hilarious story from her early Nashville days.

That story involved a new car, and the side of the RCA Studios building. She recorded early hits like “Jolene” and “I Will Always Love You” at RCA Studio B, where, she said, Elvis and Jim Reeves and other big names recorded. According to Parton, when she started making hits and raking in the money, the first thing she did was buy herself her first new car. But, she noted, she wasn’t really a good driver.

“I was in such a hurry, and I wasn’t that good of a driver,” she admitted, “and so, on the day that we had my session, I just went plowing right into the side of the building. And that building was actually new at the time, and I had bricks falling on my new car, new bricks on my new car.

But, Dolly Parton could not be stopped, not when music was involved. She continued, “I didn’t want to stop though because I didn’t want to be late to my session. So I just got out of my car and went on in and did the session and somebody came in on a break and said ‘somebody has run into the damn building!'”

“I never said a word,” she admitted. “And even now they have a plaque that says Dolly ran into the building.”

Dolly Parton’s Proudest Moment

I’m not sure if the aforementioned moment is among Dolly Parton’s proudest, you’ll have to ask her that. But, she did recently speak about her actual proudest moments on the Kelleigh Bannon Show during an International Women’s Day appearance.

Lauren Alaina posted the interview on Instagram, where she asks Parton about her proudest moment in her music career. She revealed that becoming a member of the Grand Ole Opry was her greatest accomplishment in her career. After she released three albums in 1969 – “Just Because I’m a Woman,” “Just Between You and Me,” and “Just the Two of Us” – she received membership with the Opry.

In speaking about the Opry, Dolly Parton said, “It was always my dream to be on the Opry. They call it the ‘Mother Church’ because the old Ryman was a church. But it’s sacred to me. Wherever it goes – then the church of my heart.”

Additionally, Dolly Parton’s first appearance on the Opry was not when she was inducted. It was actually in the 50s, when she was a teenager. She and her uncle, Bill Owens, took the stage in place of Jimmy C. Newman, and Johnny Cash actually introduced her. “We’ve got a little girl here from up in East Tennessee,” said Cash. “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.” And the rest is history.