KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — It was 1975. The hair was big, her dreams even bigger.
Twelve albums and “Porter Wagoner” were in Dolly’s rearview mirror. “Jolene,” “I Will Always Love You,” “Coat of Many Colors” had pulled Dolly to the top of the country charts.
Dolly was living in that light of a clear blue morning when WATE 6 interviewed her in Knoxville. The successful solo career she had long dreamed about had come to fruition. Dolly had returned home a star.
“I had always planned on this, I had always dreamed. And I’m a positive thinker and a big dreamer. I still dream a lot, but I believe in putting legs on your dreams. And I always had a dream of being successful in the music business. It’s all I had ever known. And I always wrote songs. In fact, I used to sit in class and write songs and look out the window toward Nashville. But it feels good to be back.”
A big dreamer indeed. In the 45 years since this interview first aired, Dolly has launched projects to promote literacy around the world, improved the graduation rate in Sevier County and led fundraising efforts to help her hometown recover after the devastating wildfires in 2016. She also recently helped fund research for a successful COVID-19 vaccine.
And even across 45 years, she has remained true to herself and her roots.
“I’m always proud to say where I’m from, and that’s Sevier County, and that I started to work in Knoxville, Tennessee on the Cas Walker show many years ago. and I’m proud of that.”
The video was found in the WATE 6 film archive at the East Tennessee Historical Society and was transferred to digital by the folks at the Tennessee Archive of Moving Image and Sound.