It was one of the biggest moments of Dolly Parton‘s career — and rrrrip! In 1978, just before she was crowned the CMA Awards’ Entertainer of the Year, Parton’s gown split up the front — a wardrobe malfunction that led to a memorable, so-very-Dolly-like acceptance speech.
As Parton recalls to People, “I remember thinking, ‘This is such a beautiful dress, but the fabric is so delicate! I thought, ‘Man, as tight as I wear my clothes…’ — and I was a little hefty then anyway! — I thought, ‘I hope this all holds together!’
“When they called my name,” Parton continues, “I felt something creeping up my stomach, and I thought, ‘Oh My God — my dress is coming apart!’ And I thought, ‘What am I gonna do?’”
Luckily for Parton, Kenny Rogers‘ then-wife Marianne was seated nearby and had worn a fur stole to the event — so, Parton borrowed it and brought it up onstage with her. She also gamely confessed her mishap to the crowd: “I had this dress made in case I won, and about five minutes ago, I was hoping I wouldn’t win because I busted the front out of it! My daddy says that’s what I got for putting 50 pounds of mud in a five-pound bag!”
“I wanted to look good when I won the award, but I did think, ‘Well, this is very entertaining!’ [and] that that fit in well with the award!” remembers Parton, who calls the moment “a mixed blessing in a way.” Even the unexpected incident couldn’t dampen her excitement at winning the CMAs’ highest honor.
“That was really a great honor, to be Entertainer of the Year,” Parton says. “I mean, it’s great to be Female Vocalist [of the Year] and all that, but when you’re voted Entertainer of the Year, it really means you’ve been out there on the road, and people see you as an entertainer … and it made me feel good knowing that they were being entertained more than just hearing me as a singer … It made me feel like I was up there with the big boys.”
The 2020 CMA Awards are scheduled to take place on Nov. 11 and will air live from Nashville on ABC beginning at 8PM ET. Due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, the show be hosted at Nashville’s Music City Center, not Bridgestone Arena as is customary, and there will be no live audience.
The Boot will be staying up late covering the most buzzed-about winners, fashion and moments at the 2020 CMA Awards. Readers can watch along with us by checking back to TheBoot.com for the latest CMAs headlines, liking The Boot on Facebook and following The Boot on Twitter.
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