Dolly Parton Had a Young Crush on Johnny Cash: ‘He Was the Sexiest Thing I’d Ever Seen’
Parton discussed how, at age 13, she thought the "Man in Black" was just about "the sexiest thing [she'd] ever seen."
In October, Parton celebrated 50 years as a member of the Opry. Country music fans will get to share in that particular moment on Tuesday (Nov. 26) when NBC broadcasts Dolly Parton: 50 Years at the Opry, a two-hour television special featuring highlights from the big night. Speaking with Meyers last week, the singer explained precisely how long she's been going to the Opry. She also shared the sweltering memory of the late country star who first caught her eye at the weekly Nashville concert. Watch the interview above.
"Well, actually, I became a member 50 years ago," Parton recalls. "That was my dream to be a member. But I've been actually doing the Opry … 60 years because I was on when I was 13. It was amazing because my uncle Bill Owens used to take me back and forth to Nashville. That was when Johnny Cash was first on the scene."
She continues of Cash, "He was the sexiest thing I'd ever seen. I was 13 years old. And I was looking at him, and I was feeling all these things that you feel! That's the first time I really understood what sex appeal really was. And I just really fell into a burnin' 'Ring of Fire'! But I loved him."
Not that anyone would rebuke the "Jolene" singer and 2019 CMAs co-host for invoking one of Cash's most well-known tunes to describe her affection. To wit, Cash certainly had his fair share of songs about women.
Elsewhere in the chat, Parton reminded fans of her oft-repeated origin story, as far as her signature looks are concerned. When Meyers asked how Parton got her iconic look, the singer told him how she famously modeled herself after the "town tramp," whom she's often said she found beautiful.
"Well, don't I look sort of like a hooker?" the 73-year-old jokes. "I've told this story a lot of times, but it's true. There was a town tramp in our little town — or everybody said she was. I thought she prettiest thing I'd ever seen. She had this big yellow hair, lipstick, high-heeled shoes, red nails."
Parton adds, "And when I was little — we were just country kids — every time we would go into town, I'd see her, and I'd just be fascinated. And everybody said, 'Oh, she ain't nothing but trash! And I thought, 'Well, that's what I'm going to be when I grow up, trash!' That's how I patterned my look."
Parton's been making the talk show rounds of late, in anticipation of her Grand Ole Opry salute. The previous night, she gave Jimmy Fallon an impromptu palm reading on The Tonight Show. Not to mention Parton's reaction to two Grammy noms going into 2020 thanks to her Contemporary Christian Music forays and her writing collab with Linda Perry ("Girl in the Movies") for the Dumplin' soundtrack.
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