Over Dolly Parton
Dolly Parton is almost more famous for her impossibly curvaceous figure and huge hair than for her music -- which is somewhat of a shame. She is, after all, a distinctive and important part of country music, representing a link from the music of her Appalachian birth place to country's crossover to pop. Parton is a multifaceted artist whose first success came as a songwriter in the mid-1960s, with hit songs recorded by Bill Phillips. After she became Porter Wagoner's singing partner, her career took off and she became a solo artist by 1971. She consistently charted throughout the '70s and crossed over to the Pop charts with " Here You Come Again" in 1977. Along the way Parton became a genuine pop culture icon. Despite the glitzy, glamorous aura that surrounds her, on her recordings Parton always manages to include some element that seems like pure country. As Nashville in the '90s has continued to show its disdain for veteran performers -- and for that matter any artist who doesn't seem genetically engineered -- Parton seems to be backing away from her own image. Her latest releases have been straight bluegrass and countrified folk-pop albums that she's recorded with members of Nashville's elite community of virtuoso bluegrass pickers.