country music

7 Fun Facts About Dolly Parton, the Queen of Country

She's Miley Cyrus' godmother, she can play her nails as a musical instrument, she started her own mail-delivery library for kids.

This story was updated on Feb. 9, 2022, at 2:25 p.m.

Dolly Parton is trending on Twitter for making the world a better place yet again. This time, she's giving employees of her Dollywood theme parks the opportunity to return to school free of charge.

Earlier this week, Herschend Enterprises, which operates Dollywood, announced it will "cover 100% of tuition, fees, and books for its 11,000 employees who choose to pursue further education." The program, called Grow U, launches on Feb. 24.

To celebrate the Queen of Country, here are seven fun facts you might have missed about Parton.

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She Was Born REALLY Poor

According to Eastern Sevier County, Parton's father Robert Parton paid the doctor who helped deliver her with a sack of oatmeal. Parton grew up in a small, 1-bedroom cabin in Sevierville, Tennessee, which you can still visit today.

She's Got Guinness Records

Parton has more than 30 awards to her name, including two Guinness World Records for Most Decades With a Top 20 Hit on the U.S. Hot Country Songs Chart and Most Hits on U.S. Hot Country Songs Chart By a Female Artist

Her Nails Are a Musical Instrument!

When working on the film "9 to 5" starring Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, Parton was sitting around on set and wouldn't always have time to go grab her guitar when musical inspiration struck, she told BBC host Graham Norton.

Sometimes, she would rub her fake nails against each other to get a beat going.

"It makes a percussive sound" that sounded like a typewriter, Parton said. "So I have a credit on the album that says 'nails by Dolly.'"

Recently, a clip of Parton and fellow legend Patti LaBelle playing their nails and harmonizing made the rounds online.

Parton's 'Imagination Library' has mailed 172 million books to kids

In 1995, Parton founded Dolly Parton's Imagination Library, which mails free books to kids and encourages literacy. At first, the charitable effort was only in her home county, but it has since expanded nationwide and into Canada, Australia, Ireland and the U.K.

"I created the Imagination Library as a tribute to my Daddy," Parton wrote in a letter posted on the Imagination Library's website. "He was the smartest man I have ever known but I know in my heart his inability to read probably kept him from fulfilling all of his dreams."

Nearly 2 million children have been registered for the program and more than 172 million books have been delivered.

She Doesn't Ride the Rides at Dollywood

Parton entered the theme park business by opening Dollywood in 1986. The theme park welcomes more than a million visitors a year. But you won't find her on the rides.

"I don't ride the rides. I never have," the singer told The New York Times. "I have a tendency to get motion sickness."

She Wrote Two of Her Biggest Hits During the Same Session

Parton wrote the 1968 hit "I Will Always Love You" (later immortalized in a cover by Whitney Houston) and "Jolene" in the same sitting. “When we were going through all of my stuff for the archives and getting all the stuff for the old cassettes that I used to use and putting them on hard drives and kinda upgrading everything, the same little cassette and I had three songs, and they were both back-to-back,” Parton told Out. “So I assume that I wrote them at the same time. It could have been a day or two, but on that same cassette, and I usually fill those up pretty quick, so I think I probably wrote those the same night.”

She's Miley Cyrus' Godmother

On Disney's "Hannah Montana" with Miley Cyrus, Parton made frequent guest appearances as the pop singer's "Aunt Dolly." That's because Parton is her godmother in real life, thanks to her longtime friendship with Cyrus's dad, country star Billy Ray Cyrus.

As part of Miley's New Year's Eve Party to ring in 2022, Miley and sister Noah Cyrus performed a duet of Parton's "Jolene."