Old School Americana & Nostalgia


Reba McEntire Reflects on Meeting ‘Angel’ Dolly Parton for the First Time

Reba McEntire Reflects on Meeting ‘Angel’ Dolly Parton for the First Time

Dolly Parton and Reba McEntire are close friends today, but that relationship began after years of Reba being a star-struck fangirl. 

The two country-singing divas have shared several collaborations over the decades. However, their only recorded collab came just last year when the duo remade Reba’s hit single Does He Love You, which she originally sang with Linda Davis. The newest version earned the singers a Grammy nod for Best Country Duo.

The friendship and partnership developed naturally over the years. Both women dominated the country scene in the 80s and 90s, and they share similar accolades today. But Dolly Parton got a much earlier start than Reba McEntire. She began her career in the late 1950s. So when Reba entered the scene, Dolly was already a bonafide star—and she happened to be one of Reba’s biggest inspirations. 

Reba McEntire Vividly Remember the First Time She Was in the ‘Presence’ of Dolly Parton

Reba Mcentire released her first single, I Don’t Want to Be a One Night Stand, in 1976, and it failed to become a hit. She suffered a few setbacks during the first few years of her career, but she got a break when she earned an invitation to The Grand Ole Opry in 1977. It was there that she first laid eyes on the infamous Dolly Parton. 

While talking to Taste of Country’s Evan Paul, she detailed almost meeting the songstress that night. 

“The first time I was ever in her presence was September 17, 1977,” she shared. “It was my first time at the Grand Ole Opry. I was gonna get to do two songs, and they came to me and said, ‘Well, we’re gonna have to take one of your songs,’ and I said, ‘Why?’ They said, ‘Well, Dolly Parton just pulled in the parking lot, and we’re gonna give her one of your songs.”

While some performers would have been furious to have their spotlight taken away, Reba felt honored to give her stage time to Dolly. Not only did she happily oblige to hand over one song, she told the stage managers that Dolly could “have both of them” before promptly asking if she could meet her. 

Reba was not formally introduced to her idol that night, but she did have a memorable close encounter. 

“I didn’t meet her, but she did walk in front of me,” Reba gushed. “And I thought, ‘Oh my God, that’s the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen in my life.’ She kinda floated by. She was just like an angel.”