Dolly Parton to CBC Radio: I'll never retire!

Dolly Parton will never retire, and she told CBC Radio as much when she spoke with Vicki Gabereau 30 years ago today. Here, the country queen explains why she'll always be a creative spirit. It's a CBC Radio interview from the vaults, illustrated with Parton-loving GIFs.

30 years to the day, the country queen is true to her vow. Relive a classic conversation with GIFs

Dolly Parton appears at a 1987 press conference. On this day in 1986, the country-music queen talked about everything from music to moonshine with CBC Radio's Vicki Gabereau. (Getty Images)

In the words of Dolly Parton, "if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain," so if you're one of the fans dying for Parton to reveal the 2016 Canadian tour dates she promised last month, hold on awhile longer, because we've pulled something out of the archives just for you.

It was 30 years ago today that CBC Radio's Vicki Gabereau got Parton on the phone for a half-hour conversation about everything from her take on homemade hooch ("I think I'd prefer Drano over moonshine") to the musician's then-newly launched Dollywood amusement park.

Parton was already a music legend in 1986, and it had been a good 20 years since she first appeared on The Porter Wagoner Show. Still, she'd never been as much of a superstar, with crossover movies (and pop hits) like 9 to 5 a few years behind her, and TV duets with Miss Piggy and Hulk Hogan still ahead on the horizon — scenes from her short-lived 1987 ABC variety show that, we pray, will secure her Internet fame for generations to come.

Gabereau asks Parton about her plans for the future, wondering what she has planned for retirement. "No way! I don't ever want to retire," says Parton, who's stayed true to her word. There are two things she'll never give up, she says. Her career is No. 1, and a shoe collection rivalled only by Barbie's would be the second. "The skis that I have have five-inch heels on them," she jokes. "I'm going to try to stay in my shoes forever."

Find more Dolly-isms like that one below, because we've transcribed our favourite segment from Parton's CBC Radio chat. Here, she tells Gabereau the story of how she started in the music business, and why she couldn't stop being an artist if she tried.

"I started rushing off to Nashville when I was about 10, 11 or 12. ... We used to spend a lot of time just walking the streets of Nashville, and I'd just go down try to get someone to listen to my songs, try to get a record contract." 

"I figured I had been as poor as anybody could be, so I had everything to gain and nothing to lose and I was used to hard times so I just had this real good attitude about it." 

"It was just something I wanted, it was something I was willing to work for, and I headed out. I was just so dumb I didn't know I couldn't have it."

"I think there are some dyed-in-the-wool country music fans that don't appreciate that I have tried to do other kinds of music and I don't want to offend anybody, but when I was just recording country music I wasn't making any money."

"Me and Tammy and Loretta were the three hottest women for several years there and even the biggest records that I was having — 'Jolene,' 'I Will Always Love You' — people thought I was making millions of dollars and both of those records only sold like 100,000 copies? Well, that ain't enough to buy toothpaste."

"I just felt like I had enough talent to do a lot of things and if I was going to spend my life in the business, I was going to have to be business-minded about it. ... I just decided it was up to me to accomplish things, or to fail, and I was not afraid of failure, and I was not afraid of success."

"I realized the one thing in this world that I never want to do is retire. I want to just work until I fall over and it don't feel like work to me. It's just fun."

"I want to always be busy because it's — whoo! With as big an imagination as I have and as creative as I am, boy you can fall into some dark places when that mind is left idle and you're not busy."

"I feel like I'm a goose, as my mama says, and I wake up in a new world every day. I really feel like I've accomplished a lot and I'm real proud that I have accomplished the things that I have but I always have new dreams to dream. I always have new goals."

"So I feel like I'm in the prime of my life… Lord willing, I've got a lot of things to accomplish."

Listen to Vicki Gabereau's full interview with Dolly Parton from April 14, 1986. 

For more throwbacks like this one, visit the CBC Digital Archives.


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