Dolly Parton is celebrating 50 years as a member of the Grand Ole Opry!
On Tuesday night (November 26), an NBC special aired showing the country icon's anniversary bash that took place on October 12. Throughout the show Parton reminisced on life when she was younger in East Tennessee's Great Smoky Mountains as well as her history-making career.
"It was my dream to be on the Grand Ole Opry as a child," Parton told The Tennessean in a recent interview, crediting her father's love singers, Roy Acuff and Kitty Wells, as her introduction to the Opry. "As a kid, I could picture them in my head, and I would just picture where they were and I could hear people applauding. And I was picturing myself on the Grand Ole Opry, singing for my daddy. And I did and I still am."
She adds, "It's been a great honor to be part of the Grand Ole Opry all these years. That was always my dream. And then to have a whole celebration, to have it televised ... it's really a wonderful thing."
Special guests and friends who joined in the big celebration for Parton included Emmylou Harris, Toby Keith, Hank Williams Jr., Dierks Bentley, Margo Price, Lady Antebellum, and Chris Janson. Lady Antebellum kicked off the two-hour special with a performance of "Islands In The Streams," followed by Price's take on "The Seeker," Janson's rendition of "Muleskinner Blues," and Harris's performance of her 1977 hit, "To Daddy."
Of course, the night wouldn't be complete without the star of the show taking the stage herself. Parton joked backstage that she chose to sing the classics "that people would kill me if I didn't sing." Those songs included "Jolene," "9 to 5," "Coat of Many Colors," and "Here You Come Again." Additionally, she performed her earlier hits, 'Joshua" and "My Tennessee Mountain Home" along with Porter Wagoner's "Carroll County Accident."
“I have so many people to thank and some of those people are the fans who have stood by me all these years," Parton said ahead of her closing song. "I moved here in 1964 and became a member of the Opry a few years later. Of course, it has been a wonderful life for me, and this song sums up how I feel about you. Thank you so much and I will always love you."
Parton then delivered a powerful performance of “I Will Always Love You," which received a standing ovation as the evening came to a close. Parton's moving performances of "Jolene" and "Coat Of Many Colors" from her 50th Anniversary Grand Ole Opry show can be seen below. Huge congrats to the Queen of country music!
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