Country Throwback: Dolly Parton Sneaks Up on Randy Travis at 1989 Awards Show

by Emily Morgan

In 1989, Dolly Parton couldn’t help herself from pranking one of country music’s biggest legends during one of the genre’s biggest nights.

During that year’s CMA Awards, Parton had fun teasing her longtime pal and colleague, Randy Travis.

As she sat on his lap, the “Jolene” singer told a 29-year-old Travis that if she were “a few years younger,” that they might stand a chance at being together.

Her cheeky teasing prompted a smile and a few slightly embarrassing chuckles from Travis.

The following year, Dolly Parton decided to keep the fun going when Travis went on the CMA stage to present the award for “Female Vocalist of the Year.”

Even though it was a solemn moment, it didn’t keep Parton from keeping the gag going. As the country music crooner took the stage, Parton followed behind him.

After noticing, the crowd applauded as soon as they saw her, but Travis was utterly unaware until he got to the microphone.

Once he spotted Parton, his reaction was hilarious. A cheeky Parton taunted him once more, telling him she didn’t want to interrupt his presentation but that she just wanted to say “hello.”

After the gag, the two stars shared a friendly hug before Parton ran backstage. Afterward, Travis flashed a grin to the crowd and declared, “It’s a tough job.”

Dolly Parton Pays Tribute To Travis At Concert

Since then, Dolly Parton and Randy Travis have developed a lasting friendship despite changes in the country music industry.

Even after his stroke in 2013, Travis made a rare appearance during one of Parton’s concerts in Thackerville, Okla.

During her concert, she took a few moments to honor her longtime friend.

“There are some people you just love and admire for their talents. Tonight, one of those people are here,” she said about Travis.

“Randy Travis, wherever you are, I hope you are enjoying the show.”

After the show, Travis went backstage to say hello to his friend after her special shout-out, and Parton thanked Travis for coming despite his health condition.

“It was so great to have Randy at my show,” Parton wrote on Twitter.

This appearance was one of the rare times Travis stepped out in public following his stroke in July 2013.

Following the stroke, he underwent brain surgery before being released to a physical therapy center.