INYIM Media FBF: Dolly Parton's Anthemic Truth-Spilling Tune '9 to 5' Becomes Her First Pop Number 1!

INYIM Media FBF: Dolly Parton's Anthemic Truth-Spilling Tune '9 to 5' Becomes Her First Pop Number 1!

"At 75, Dolly Parton has all but achieved sainthood. Beyond her immeasurable contributions to the American music canon, she has donated well over 100 million books to children worldwide through her Imagination Library program and provided $1 million in seed money that led to Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine. But 40 years ago, the country music icon was having her first taste of crossover success — in both movies and the pop charts.

The project was 9 to 5, a comedy whose premise came from Jane Fonda, who'd worked with a real organization called 9to5 that sought to improve conditions for women office workers. Fonda, Lily Tomlin and Parton — in her first film role — filled out the cast as a trio of secretaries who plotted revenge on their chauvinist boss (Dabney Coleman). Parton was enlisted to write a title song for the project, which she did while on set. As she tells it, the sound of her acrylic nails tapping on a desktop gave the song its typewriter-like percussion line. But it's the explosive chorus — "Working 9 to 5 / What a way to make a living!" — that made the song such an earworm.

The film was released the week before Christmas in 1980, and The Hollywood Reporter raved in its review that it was "as merry as any movie in the marketplace this season" and that Parton "more than holds her own as a well-stacked secretary" in a part that "takes full advantage of Parton's proven persona as a good-hearted, Tennessee-twanged dame."

THR predicted the film would "mop up," and indeed it did, making $103 million domestically, or $327 million in 2021. The cherry on the sundae came two months later, when "9 to 5" reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 — Parton's first time there — on Feb. 21, 1981. (She'd do it again in 1985 with her Kenny Rogers duet "Islands in the Stream.") That same day, she kicked off a $350,000-per-week Las Vegas residency (a record fee at the time) at the Riviera Hotel.

Her early dates were canceled due to laryngitis, but the show eventually went on, replete with a drawbridge castle set created by production designer Bill Morris." -


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