Study Guide

9 to 5

9 to 5 Introduction

In a Nutshell

Dolly Parton once said in a 1977 Barbara Walters interview, "I've often made the statement that I'd never stoop so low as to be fashionable. That's the easiest thing in the world to do." (Source

But unfashionable Shmoop—Wookiee onesie pj's, anyone?—and homeless-chic A-listers are far from the unfashionable that Dolly's talking about. (That's the first and last time you'll see Shmoop's sense of style and celeb style talked about in the same sentence.)

The five-foot-tall faux blonde from the hills of Tennessee has always had fun toying with her image: she charmingly evades questions about sex and sexual orientation, openly discusses plastic surgery and breast size, embraces feminist values without ever embracing the word "feminism," and jokes endlessly about her own looks with quips like "It takes a lot of money to look this cheap" (source). 

When she wrote the title song for the 1980 film Nine to Five, Parton was continuing in her self-made tradition of embracing female empowerment while staying true to her country roots (and staying glued to her fake hair). But in those days of economic recession, "9 to 5" became more than a song for the ladies: it's a working people's anthem that has remained relevant for decades to come.

About the Song

ArtistParton, Dolly
Year1980
LabelRCA
Writer(s)Dolly Parton
Producer(s)Mike Post, Gregg Perry
Musician(s)Dolly Parton (vocals)
Learn to playSheet Music
Album9 to 5 and Odd Jobs

Music Video

Influences on Parton, Dolly

Loretta Lynn
Molly O'Day
Porter Wagoner
Bill Monroe
Lefty Frizzell
Hank Williams
June Carter
Kitty Wells

Influenced by Parton, Dolly

Jil Johnson
Alecia Nugent
Reba McEntire
Mindy Smith
Ashley Monroe
Sunny Sweeney
Taylor Swift
LeAnn Rimes
Martina McBride
Shania Twain
Dixie Chicks
Stevie Nicks

9 to 5 Resources

Books

Smart Blonde: Dolly Parton, by Stephen Miller (2008)
While Dolly's own autobiography does not stress her serious business smarts, or make a big deal out of her own success, her biographers are free to look at her from multiple angles. She's certainly more than just a pretty face.

Dolly Parton Greatest Hits Songbook, by Dolly Parton (2008)
Music for guitar, piano, and vocals.

Dolly: My Life and Other Unfinished Business, by Dolly Parton (1994)
Parton's comical and forward autobiography does not uncover the biggest Dolly mystery (What does she look like without the wigs?), but it's a fun read nonetheless.

Albums

9 to 5 and Odd Jobs
After the success of the film, Parton released "9 to 5" on this album, one of the most successful of her career.

Very Best of Dolly Parton
Dolly Parton's discography is extensive, including hundreds of compilations and six official greatest-hits compilations. Since it tags itself as very best, starting here seems as good as anywhere.

Images

Nine to Five Soundtrack Cover
Worth a look just for the office fashion.

Young Dolly
And she claims she wasn't a beautiful young woman.

You Haven't Aged a Day
Dolly's put a lot of effort into maintaining her look.

Jane, Lily and Dolly in Nine to Five
The film's poster.

Nine to Five Stars
Grabbing a drink after work.

Movies & TV

Nine to Five (1980)
Dolly Parton, Lily Tomlin, and Jane Fonda vs. their boss.

The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1982)
After her film debut in Nine to Five, Parton decided to continue in the movie business with this big hit featuring Burt Reynolds.

Straight Talk (1992)
Another one of Dolly's big film successes, again featuring original music by Parton herself.

For the Love of Dolly (2008)
A whole documentary about fanatical Dolly Parton fans.

Websites

Dolly Parton Official Website
Get linked up to Dolly's many business enterprises including Dollywood, Dolly Parton's Imagination Library, and "Splash Mountain," Dolly's Great Smoky Mountain Family Amusement Park.

Dollymania FAQ page
One of Dolly's biggest fan sites, Dollymania, includes an informative FAQ about Dolly's life, awards, and accomplishments.

Video & Audio

BBC Interview with Dolly
This includes some of her much-repeated quotes about her own looks.