July 25

Dolly Parton and a Song Born Out of Productivity, “9 to 5”

Dolly Parton and a Song Born Out of Productivity, "9 to 5" 1

The Missing Piece of the Puzzle

At the end of 1980, Dolly Parton became an actress, starring in the movie “9 to 5.” She portrayed the character named Doralee Rhodes, a secretary of a lecherous boss. Parton’s co-workers and co-actress were Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda. Jane was the one who hand-picked Dolly to be in the movie.

Incidentally, Jane Fonda and Dolly Parton happened to share a trip to New York. It was the first time they’ve met and had a conversation for a while. During their conversation Jane Fonda said to herself, “That’s her – that’s Doralee!” Evidently, Dolly made a big impression on Jane, so much that Jane felt she sounded like the missing fit for the Cinderella shoe. Thereafter, Jane Fonda went to see one of Dolly Parton’s concerts, she was knocked over by her charm, warmth, and charisma. So, Dolly Parton was hired for the movie “9 to 5” as “Doralee.” Buoyed by the snappy song title, Dolly wrote a song to overcome boredom on the set.

A Hit Born Out of Being Productive

A lot of actors will say that the hardest things about making movies are the long waits between shots. Not only that, it was the hours of sitting in make-up and costumes. Those things were driving Dolly Parton crazy because it was the first time in her life that she was forced to sit around and just do nothing. So, she decided to make the dead time profitable by writing songs. Her song, “9 to 5,” was based on her role in the film. The song was a product of these writing sessions and the producers immediately snapped it up for the movie’s theme song.

The Success of the Song and the Movie

The movie premiered at Opryland’s Roy Acuff in Nashville on December 5, 1980.  After two weeks, it was opened at more than 700 theaters around the country. Dolly Parton’s song reached the summit of Billboard’s country singles chart with ease. The song also earned chart-topping status on the Billboard Hot 100 pop listings which made Dolly Parton the first female country artist since Jeannie C. Riley to score a no. 1 pop single. Dolly Parton received a Grammy Award for “9 to 5.” The song also became her second million-selling single.

Parton claimed a Grammy award for “9 to 5,” which also became her second million-selling single. Her sister, Rachel Dennison, took the role of “Doralee” when the movie became a TV series in 1982.


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