Although we hardly ever see Dolly Parton without any sparkles or sequins these days, she is the first to admit her life hasn’t always been so glitzy. A newly resurfaced clip of the country queen performing as a teen gives us a glimpse at her less glamorous early days — but still proves she was destined to be a star.
The footage shows Parton at just 14-years-old, singing and strumming a guitar outside a gas station in Knoxville, Tennessee. It might be a far cry from the larger venues she’s headlined throughout her career, but hey, everyone has to get their start somewhere!
Parton also looked absolutely adorable in her simple green dress with a cute white collar. Plus, it’s another rare sighting of her natural (and far less lofty) hair! Take a look:
The clip features other local celebrities from the era, but of course, Parton’s brief appearance at the beginning totally steals the show. We’re sure the audience fell in love with her effortlessly charming personality back then, too. Can you imagine the bragging rights of being able to tell people you were at a small performance like this before Parton made it big?
We also love that despite being taken from a silent home film, archivist Bradley Reeves includes audio of Parton singing “Making Believe,” which was recorded just a couple years after the gas station gig. The song had previously been made famous by Kitty Wells, who Parton calls “the first and only Queen of Country Music, no matter what they call the rest of us.” We don’t want to make a habit of arguing with Parton, but maybe we can all agree she and Wells should at least share that crown.
And even though the clip is brief, we love seeing glimpses like these of Parton’s early life.