Dolly Tackles Kanye, Elvis and Gay Marriage in Candid Chat
She's a megastar, having scaled dizzying heights as a singer, songwriter, actress and entrepreneur. But Dolly Parton's greatest talent has always been to charm -- both onstage before thousands and one-on-one in an interview. And she didn't disappoint when she appeared via satellite this week on 'The Joy Behar Show.' Dolly not only charmed, she shined her Dolly-views on everything, from her foiled business deal with Elvis, to how she feels about her strong gay following.
On Taylor Swift's CMA Entertainer of the Year Award: "I was so very proud of Taylor. She's very young, and she's very talented. She deserved every bit of it. She has had an unbelievable year. She's just killed them. So I wasn't a bit surprised that she won ... and all the other things she's won. We all love her, and we feel she's really representing herself, as well as Nashville and country music, very well. So we were excited for her."
On Kanye West hijacking Taylor's MTV VMA speech: "I think that's always silly when people show their butts like that. He was probably embarrassed about it later. But I think she handled it really well ... and I think everybody wanted to just smack a knot on his head."
On Elvis Presley wanting to record her hit, 'I Will Always Love You': "I loved Elvis, and he loved my song ... and he had intended to sing it. He had been working it up, and I had been invited to the session. It was only the day before that Colonel Tom Parker -- who is a brilliant man, and I don't blame him for doing it -- called and said, 'Elvis and I don't record songs that we don't have the publishing on.' And I thought, well that's already been a hit by me. It's one of my most important copyrights. So I didn't let them have it, and it broke my heart. Because I still think about what it would have been like to hear Elvis sing the song. There's no work tapes anywhere that I'm aware of. But it was one of my first big business decisions. And it was only after that, Whitney Houston recorded it, and did so well ... and I was really happy that I made that decision."
On growing up one of 12 children: "I learned early on that there was not a lot of attention in a family of that many kids ... unless you were in trouble or you were sick. So I learned by playing my guitar and writing songs, it was fascinating to my mother and my relatives, although we were all very musical. All my mother's people played and sang. But I realized early on, I was getting a lot of attention. So I thought that was something I wanted to do. Because I needed a lot of attention. And I still do! So it served me well in my lifetime!"
On her preacher-grandfather telling her she was "going to hell in a hand basket": "Oh, that's just an old expression! It just means you're going to hell, and you're going to get there quicker ... like Satan's going to carry you there in a basket! My grandfather was a holy-roller preacher, and it was a very strict religion. It was not in the rules to be wearing makeup and tight clothes. But my grandfather was very, very proud of me. He lived to see me become a big star, and see that people really did care about me and that I wasn't as bad as I looked. I looked like Jezebel, but he got over that after I wrote a song about him called, 'Daddy Was an Old Time Preacher Man.' He was really proud of that. That kind of smoothed it over for me!"
On her first big splurge: "I bought a Cadillac. I think every country music star back when I started out ... I thought, if I don't have a Cadillac, I definitely was not a star. So that was the first thing I bought for myself. And when my little 'Coat of Many Colors' song became a hit, I bought my mother a mink coat, back when it was still okay to wear it. And my mother didn't know what to do with it -- I think she probably resold it and used the money on something else!"
On her strong gay following: "I think it's because they know I'm different too, and it took me a long time to be accepted. They relate to that. And plus, a lot of my gay guy friends love to dress up ... They're very sensitive and creative. I think they relate to that side of me, as well. I think they appreciate that I just love everybody for who they are. We're not supposed to try to change people. We should allow people to be who they are, and love them as they are ... I think God made us who we are and how we are."
On gay marriage: "I always say, sure -- why can't they get married? They should suffer like the rest of us do!"