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April 26

Meet Dolly Parton’s Younger Brother, Randy Parton

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Well, this is no longer a surprise! Dolly Parton’s brother – Randy Parton – pursued music too. 

Born on December 15, 1953, in Sevierville, Tennessee, Randy or Randel Huston Parton is the eighth among the twelve children. Dolly would often refer to him as their Christmas baby. Sadly, Randy had died on January 21, 2021, at age 67, after battling cancer.

Dolly Parton shared the news on her official Facebook page, saying that though they are grieving, they are comforted by the fact that Randy is now “in a better place than we are at this time.” 

Just like most of Dolly Parton’s siblings, Randy showed his passion for music at an early age and went on to have a career as a country artist. 

Though he did not have hit songs like Dolly and sister Stella Parton, Randy had a few minor radio successes during the 1970s and early 1980s. His recording career included a few songs that made it to the Top 40 airplay hits. He was also best known as the original singer of the 1982 song “Roll On (Eighteen-Wheeler)” – which became a No. 1 hit for the country-rock band Alabama two years later.

However, Dolly said that out of Randy’s many chart records, their duet of “Old Flames Can’t Hold A Candle To You” will always be a highlight in her own career.

He Has Been A Big Part of Dolly Parton’s Career

Randy was also instrumental in Dolly’s career. In 1984, he sang a song for the Rhinestone soundtrack, which the country queen starred in. He was also a part of Dolly’s band for many years, where he played guitar and bass.

Randy even had his own show at Dollywood since 1986. He was best remembered for his remarkable live performances, such as the yearly favorite, “My People, My Music.” The administrators at Dollywood described Randy as a creative leader who left a lasting legacy with his talent.

Just a few months before he died, Randy had appeared on Dolly’s record-breaking No. 1 holiday album A Holly Dolly Christmas in 2020, singing “You Are My Christmas” with the country superstar and his daughter Heidi. It was Randy’s last musical recording.

Dolly has also revealed that she wrote “You Are My Christmas” while thinking about her younger brother. The singer recalled how she would cry over those walking, talking dolls she would see in the catalogs when she was just a kid. So, when Randy was born around Christmas, her mother said the family now had their own walking, talking doll.

He Was Once Involved in a Fiasco With A Theater Bearing His Name

Randy was also known for the fiasco that happened between him and the Roanoke Rapids Theatre in North Carolina. In July 2007, Randy signed an agreement with more than $1.5 million annual fee to manage and perform in a 35,000 square-foot theater – called Randy Parton Theatre – located at the Interstate 95 in Roanoke Rapids.

But the relationship between Randy and the city turned sour when he failed to draw the anticipated crowds. He was even accused of showing up drunk for a performance. 

Though Randy denied all the charges, saying that all his actions were within the contract, the entire experience was a big disappointment for those who were hoping for a renaissance in what was once a bustling town near the Virginia border. Eventually, Randy’s contract with the city was terminated, and the theater was given a new name of Roanoke Rapids Theater.

Well, Randy Parton may no longer be with us, but he will always be remembered.


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Dolly Parton, Randy Parton


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