Haroldine Worthington Collection via WBIR Channel 10 / YouTube
Dolly Parton was born with a love for music in her heart. She started singing in church when she was only six years old, and her uncle bought her first guitar for her when she was eight.
Parton began singing on local radio and television programs around her home in East Tennessee. She was ten years old when she started singing on The Cas Walker Show on WIVK Radio and WBIR-TV in Knoxville, Tennessee.
At age 13, Parton recorded her first single, “Puppy Love.” She appeared on at the Grand Ole Opry that same year.
Parton continued to perform throughout her teenage years. She moved to Nashville the day after she graduated high school, and the rest is history.
Today, Parton is known as one of the most iconic country singer-songwriters of all time. Her songs such as “Jolene,” “I Will Always Love You,” and “9 to 5” will stand the test of time as some of the greatest country songs in history.
Because Parton is so beloved today, people love looking back on the earlier years of her singing career before she was famous. That’s why it was so remarkable when archivist Bradley Reeves uncovered some old footage of Parton performing when she was 14 years old.
Reeves shared this footage in 2021 on WBIR in Knoxville, the same TV channel Parton used to sing for when she was young. The clip was filmed in 1961 by Haroldine Worthington on a silent 8-mm home movie camera. Worthington’s footage shows 14-year-old Parton singing and playing guitar for a small crowd gathered in a gas station parking lot somewhere in East Tennessee.
The video does not have sound. You will hear some audio of a young Parton singing “Making Believe,” but it is not from the performance that was filmed.
Head below to watch the old footage of Parton performing as a teen. Just goes to show that she was destined to become a superstar one day!