Awards & Milestones

First Grand Ole Opry performance

Published July 25, 1959 / Last Updated April 7, 2021

Dolly’s first Grand Ole Opry performance at the age of 13 alongside her Uncle Bill Owens in 1959 receives three encores

After making musical connections while performing on the Cas Walker Show, Dolly and her Uncle Bill Owens managed to get a guest spot on the Grand Ole Opry in 1959. Friends, Carl and Pearl Butler were instrumental in getting Jimmy C. Newman to agree to give up one of his regular Saturday night spots to Dolly. Johnny Cash introduced her saying,

“We’ve got a little girl here from up in East Tennessee. Her daddy’s listening to the radio at home and she’s gonna be in real trouble if she doesn’t sing tonight, so let’s bring her out here.”

Dolly recalls seeing the classic WSM microphone stand and being in awe standing on the Ryman Auditorium stage. Dolly said,

“As I heard the band play my introduction, I lifted my head and looked up toward the lights. I smiled at the people in the balcony and then let ‘er rip.”

Dolly sang George Jones’ song, “You Gotta Be My Baby” and received three encores that night.

Listen to a free song preview below of Dolly singing “You Gotta Be My Baby” via SoundCLoud.

Team Dolly

Team Dolly

Team Dolly is a collaboration of writers, editors, and publishers assembled by Dolly Parton Productions. Each member is dedicated to accurately publishing the latest news and historical archives of the living legend that is Dolly Rebecca Parton. Managing Editor - Jacob Timmons Creative Director - Sarah Chapman

Team DollyFirst Grand Ole Opry performance