Dolly Parton kicked off the 2016 Medallion Ceremony at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum Sunday night in Nashville by performing her first hit, “Dumb Blonde” — a song that’s close to a half-century old.
The legend from East Tennessee sang the tune to honor the man who signed her to her first recording contract, Monument Records’ Fred Foster.
“You really gave me a shot and you were a gentleman when Porter Wagoner stole me away,” Dolly recalled. “But you started my life, and you started me with my first record, and you saw things in me that nobody else did… I’m gonna try to sing our song. It’s been 50 years or so, and it’s in a very high key. I may strain my milk, but I’m gonna try, okay?” she joked.
Dolly’s former Monument labelmate Kris Kristofferson stopped by to deliver “Me and Bobby McGee,” complete with a shout-out to Janis Joplin, who made the song a smash. Brandy Clark sang “Blue Bayou,” originally a hit for the Foster-produced Roy Orbison, before Vince Gill inducted Foster into the hall.
“When I first moved to Nashville in 1983, one of the first people I met was Fred Foster,” Vince recalled. “When you’re young and just trying to figure stuff out, there’s nothing better than finding somebody that’s kind to you. Fred was that for me. He was welcoming of me. He liked the way I sang. I think he liked the way I sang because I sang like a girl.” Vince laughed. “He was kinda fond of those kinds of singers.”
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