‘9 to 5’ Percussion Credit Goes to Dolly Parton’s Fingernails
We all know Dolly Parton is one of the most talented musicians in the music industry. With 25 No. 1 hits on the U.S. Hot Country Songs chart, her talent is evident. She recently added 3 more Guinness World Records to her collection bringing her total up to 10 Guinness World Records!
It has been estimated that Dolly can play 12 different instruments including guitar, piano, banjo, autoharp, and mandolin to name a few. However, one of the instruments she recorded on her well-known song “9 to 5” might surprise you.
When Dolly Parton doesn’t have her guitar, she says she uses her fingernails.
As one of the main characters in the comedic “9 to 5” movie, the singer-songwriter agreed to accept the role under one condition—she wanted to write the theme song. She said, “Well, this is a good opportunity, but I’ll only do it if I can write the theme song.”
Parton stated in an interview with TODAY, “I would just kind of play my little fingers, go back to the hotel at night, write down the words or get my guitar and start singing it.” She even recorded her acrylic nails as percussion on the “9 to 5” record. “I played my nails on the real record just for fun.”
This movie-set melody went on to win several awards including Best Country Song at the 24th Annual Grammy Awards. It also won the 1981 People’s Choice Award for “Favorite Motion Picture Song”, and was nominated for an original song Oscar.
“9 to 5” has been covered by numerous artists including Alison Krauss, Kelly Clarkson, and country a cappella group Home Free. Jennifer Nettles and Carrie Underwood covered it in a lively duet at the Grand Ole Opry.
“9 to 5” wasn’t the only time Dolly used her nails on a song.
In 1987, Dolly Parton taught Patti LaBelle how to play “Short’nin’ Bread” on her nails. In a clip from The Dolly Show posted to YouTube, Dolly is seen showing the “You Are My Friend” singer how to play rhythm on her acrylic nails as the two legends sing “Short’nin’ Bread” in perfect harmony.
Hear Dolly Parton play “9 to 5” on her fingernails below.