We could sit here and rave all day about how iconic Dolly Parton is, but do we even need to? The country twang, the Southern-belle makeup, the sky-high hair — it all speaks for itself. Oh, and the nails; I can't forget about Parton's perpetually manicured hands, rarely seen without a fresh set of long acrylics. As she pointed out in a recent interview on The Graham Norton Show, those nails are actually an integral part of one of her biggest hits.
When writing "9 to 5" on the set of the film of the same name, Parton clacked her acrylics together to create beats and write lyrics between takes. "After we recorded the song, I brought all the girls down that was on the show and I played my nails," she tells Norton. "So on the back of the album I have a credit that says, nails by Dolly.'"
In the same interview, Parton also revealed just how she manages to play her guitar so well with her extreme manicures — you know, because the rest of us mere mortals can barely button up our jeans or open a can of soda with long nails. “I've learned to work with them," Parton revealed, flashing her nails to the camera. "These work great as picks, I've never had a problem with [the right hand] — [the left fingers] are the ones where I have a problem."
Forming chords with those acrylics is possible, but Parton has learned that there's just no way around them when she's really trying to buckle down and finish songs. “I've learned to do open tuning when I'm writing, but if I'm really serious about it, I just have to saw them down."
We can only hope that Parton does more songwriting with those nails, though, especially if songs like "9 to 5" are the result. Oh, and let's not forget the historic duet she sang with Patti LaBelle on her TV show back in 1987, percussed only by their acrylic nails. Maybe one day, as she's teased in other interviews, she'll cut an entire album that's just her singing along to the sounds of her nails. But that's if we get really, really lucky.
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