Elvis Presley and Dolly Parton were music contemporaries but they never met. Nevertheless, a year after his death in 1977, she shared her belief that they had a lot in common. Dolly said: “I always felt that we were kin. I feel like I know exactly how he was.”
Speaking with Playboy in 1978, Dolly said: “Every time he’d come in town, even if I was home, I just wouldn’t go, somethin’ always kept me from goin’.
“There were other people I liked to hear sing better, but there was nobody that I ever related to more.”
On what specifically made the country singer relate to The King she highlighted his affable character.
She said: “He was very loving, very emotional, very sensitive, very giving, very humble, thankful, grateful.”
Dolly added: “I always felt that he was totally in awe of his own success and he didn’t quite understand why he had been so chosen and why he was such an idol.”
The singer also said how she and Elvis had faith in common, saying: “How he felt about God and religion was always somethin’ I related to a lot.
“Because I know he was brought up with his mother in the Assembly of God. It was a real free-spirited, shoutin’ church.
“I watched and heard how he reacted to Gospel music and how he loved that the best of all and how he almost seemed to feel he had a callin’ to do somethin’ different and maybe more spiritual than what he actually was doin’, but you know, he never got a chance to try.”
Dolly turned her dream into a song called I Dreamed About Elvis Last Night, which she’s only ever performed live at her concerts with an Elvis impersonator.
Writing in The Big Issue’s Letter to My Younger Self last year, the 75-year-old wrote: “Priscilla [Presley] told me later that he sang that song to her when they were coming down the steps of the courthouse after they divorced. That really touched me.”
While adding on her I Dreamed About Elvis Last Night song: “And one day, I’m going to put that track out. So I think that I’d talk to Elvis, and just clear that up with him.”
READ THE FULL 1978 PLAYBOY INTERVIEW WITH DOLLY PARTON HERE