(LENOX, Mass.) – Country music icon Dolly Parton has been added to this summer’s Popular Artists Series at Tanglewood, opening the 2016 season on Friday, June 17, at 7pm, in the Koussevitzky Music Shed, and joining previously announced performers including Earth, Wind & Fire (6/18), Beach Boys co-founder Brian Wilson (6/19), Jackson Browne (6/21), Bob Dylan with special guest Mavis Staples (7/2), the B-52s (9/2), and, of course, James Taylor (7/3 & 4), in what may well be the all-time biggest or most impressive pop artist lineup in Tanglewood’s history.
Parton’s performance at Tanglewood is part of a 60-city summer tour — her first major North American tour in more than 25 years. Parton is expected to perform many of her well-known hit songs while weaving in a few new songs from her double-disc album, “Pure & Simple with Dolly’s Biggest Hits.” Among the new album’s songs are “Mama,” inspired by Parton’s mother Avie Lee Parton, as well as the title song “Pure and Simple.”
Parton recently told an interviewer that her show will be largely acoustic, allowing her voice to take center stage. “I’ll do a lot of talking. What else would I do, right?” she joked.
“There’s only four of us on stage,” Parton told Rolling Stone Country earlier this month. “We play different instruments, and we all sing and do all those songs that people know, but they’re just not as big and we don’t have a lot of effects on stage.
Among Parton’s greatest musical accomplishments are penning the song, “I Will Always Love You,” which in addition to being her own #1 country hit in 1974, became Whitney Houston’s signature ballad, recorded for the 1992 film “The Bodyguard,” and spending 14 weeks at the top of Billboard’s pop singles chart to become one of the best-selling singles of all time.
Boasting a voice instantly recognizable for its distinctive high-pitched, pinched vibrato, Parton’s greatest crossover pop-country successes were the eponymous theme song to the movie “9 to 5” (1980, and in which she co-starred) and a cover of the Bee Gees’ “Islands in the Stream,” in a duet version with Kenny Rogers (1983). Her 1987 “Trio” album, recorded with Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt, was also a huge hit.
The late-1990s and early oughts saw Parton returning to her hard-country roots with a series of bluegrass-based albums, including a string-band version of Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven.”
An internationally renowned superstar, the iconic and irrepressible Dolly Parton has made a tremendous mark in country and pop music, film, TV, and other entertainment platforms. She even has her own theme park called Dollywood.
All-inclusive sales of singles, albums, hits collections, paid digital downloads and compilation usage have topped a staggering 100 million records worldwide. Achieving 25 RIAA certified gold, platinum and multi-platinum awards, Parton has had 25 songs reach No. 1 on the Billboard Country charts, a record for a female artist. Parton has garnered seven Grammy Awards, ten Country Music Association Awards, five Academy of Country Music Awards, three American Music Awards, and is one of only five female artists to win the Country Music Association’s Entertainer of the Year Award.
Making her film debut in the 1980 hit comedy “9 to 5,” Parton earned rave reviews for her performance and an Oscar nomination for writing the title tune, along with her second and third Grammy Awards. Roles in “Steel Magnolias,” “Best Little Whorehouse in Texas,” “Rhinestone,” and “Straight Talk” followed.
Parton saw a cherished dream become a reality in 1986 with the opening of her own theme park, Dollywood, in Pigeon Forge, Tenn.
In 1988, Parton began the Dollywood Foundation, which funds Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library across America and in Canada by giving every preschool child a book each month from the time he or she is born until the child reaches kindergarten. Currently 60 million books are mailed to children in the US, Canada and throughout the UK.
In 1999, Dolly was inducted as a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame. She has her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and, in 2004, the U.S. Library of Congress presented her with their Living Legend Award for her contribution to the cultural heritage of the United States.
In December 2015, more than 13 million tuned into “Dolly Parton’s Coat of Many Colors” and was the most-watched film on broadcast networks since May 2012.
The 70-year-old Parton and husband Carl Dean will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary in May by renewing their vows.
Tanglewood’s Popular Artists line-up also features Earth, Wind & Fire (6/18), Beach Boys co-founder Brian Wilson (6/19), Jackson Browne (6/21), A Prairie Home Companion with host Garrison Keillor (6/27), the Jerry Garcia Symphonic Celebration featuring renowned guitarist Warren Haynes (7/1), Bob Dylan with special guest Mavis Staples (7/2), James Taylor (7/3 & 4), rock band Train (8/23), a live broadcast of NPR’s “Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me!” (9/1), and The B-52s (9/2).