I love Dolly Parton about as much as it’s possible to love someone I don’t know even a little bit. Therefore, I’ve been enjoying the fact that she’s been in the news lately. Last month, globalgrrl updated us on Dolly’s new album, label, tour and Broadway developments. This Wednesday, Dolly (she’d be OK with the informality, don’t you think?) is going to debut her new single on Dancing With the Stars. And she was just in the news announcing that the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame will soon have a home on Nashville’s Music Row.
Click here to watch news coverage and clips of the press conference.
While I’m happy about last week’s Hall of Fame news, what I’m fixated on is a statement she made in the context of saying she would never retire: “I hope to fall dead on stage right in the middle of a song — and hopefully one I wrote.”
Upon reading that, my first thought was how horrifying it would be to watch her fall dead on stage in the middle of a song. But then I thought about an old friend of mine and how he once said that, when he died, he wanted his friends and family to throw cheese doodles at his body at the wake. Without getting into the back story (which I could not begin to explain), it became a thing that I knew I’d have to do if he died before me.
Therefore, knowing Dolly’s wish, and knowing that despite the attention that she gets — and encourages — for her, um, physical attributes, she sees herself primarily as a songwriter, if I saw Dolly drop dead mid-song on stage, I’m sure I’d still be horrified, but I’d appreciate the fact that she went doing what made her happiest.
Since then, of course, I’ve somewhat morbidly been contemplating what song could be her last. (It’s not that morbid, though, because I’m not really taking the whole “fall dead” thing literally. )
I have a soft spot for some of her classics, such as “Jolene,” “Two Doors Down” and “Here You Come Again.” “I Will Always Love You” is one of my favorite movie-musical moments (How can anyone not love The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas?):
And “9 to 5,” of course, is one of the best songs ever. Here’s my favorite, somewhat surreal, video of it:
But ultimately, I think the last song I heard her sing would have to incorporate a little bluegrass and/or gospel because that seems so essentially her. It might be a little cliché to end with “Hello God,” but she does a hell of a job with it live.
If you could only see Dolly perform one last song, what would it be?