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Happy Birthday, Dolly Parton!

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Dolly_lDolly turns 61 today, which is as good a time as any to ask: Is there anyone on this planet who doesn’t adore her? And if so, what is wrong with you? Here are a few reasons she’s one of our favorite people. Ever.

– The woman has talent that Jessica Simpson should never have been asked to emulate. See: “I Will Always Love You”.
– The woman has a sense of humor about herself (and her boobs) and has used it opposite the likes of Johnny Carson, Jon Stewart, Graham Norton, and Conan O’Brien.
– The woman has recorded the saddest song in history.
– The woman has played with literally everyone from Kenny Rogers to Culture Club. She’s been covered by the White Stripes. And she’s impersonated Elvis (who, by the way, wanted to record “I Will Always Love You” but never did because Dolly wouldn’t sign over the publishing rights to him.)
– The woman has the mind of a teenager (or, okay, a thirtysomething). Her explanation to EW for why she recorded the duet “Twelfth of Never” with Keith Urban:

“I was tryin’ to think of somethin’ more meaningful, you know, more of a looove note, cause he’s so cute and all. I thought, well, find you somethin’ that you can sing about lust on, like, ‘I’ll love you for ever and ever and ever.’ That you can fantasize for a little while in the studio. He was so nice, so sweet, and so talented. In the middle of the song, when I had hit this high note he said, [in Aussie accent] ‘You give me chills, Dolly.’ And I thought, Oh, that is so cool! I want people to think he said that directly, romantically to me, so I move it to the end of the song. But he was actually talkin’ about my singin’, not me.”

– The woman has serenaded me. An excerpt from that phone call to EW in Sept. 2005:

Me: Hi, this is Mandi.
Dolly: Hi, Mandi, this is Dolly. How are you?
Me: I’m good. How are you?
Dolly: Good. You got the name of one of my favorite songs. “Mandy.”
Me: I was named after that song.
Dolly: Oh were you? That is honestly one of my favorite songs in the whole wide world. In fact, when you answered I was going to start singing it, then I thought, Oh hell, she’s probably heard that as much as I’ve heard (sings) “Well Hello, Dolly.” (Laughs) Well, that’s a great song, and that’s a great name.
30 minutes later…
Me: Well, thank you for taking the time to–
Dolly: (Interrupts, singing) “Oh Mandy, well you came and you gave without taking/but I sent you away, oh Mandy.”
Me: (Audible gasp, then sigh)
Dolly: I just love that song. I kept thinking maybe I could sing it “Oh Randy” because I have a brother named Randy, but somebody said, “You know, it’d be a big hit in England because Randy in English means horny.” Did you know that? (Laughs)

addCredit(“Dolly Parton: Michael Buckner/Getty Images”)