The song “9 to 5” was written and originally performed by American country music legend Dolly Parton for the 1980 comedy film of the same name. The song also featured on her 9 to 5 and Odd Jobs album and was released as a single in November 1980. It’s interesting and topical to point out that the song and film owe their title to an organisation founded in 1973 which campaigned to bring about better treatment for women in the workplace.
Fast-forward to 2018 and issues related to gender equality, right across the board, continue to be on the front burner of public debate. In country music radio, mainly in North America, the issue of gender inequality has always been a bone of contention. Women have always been a part of the very foundations of country music but the truth is they have been marginalised in the industry. Significantly in comparison to other genres radio in country music plays a far more significant role in promoting emerging talent. In country music radio is still the key to everything.
No doubt then that this sort of social environment and indeed Parton’s own personal experiences would have influenced the creation of this hit for the star from rural Tennessee. The song highlight’s an empowered working woman and for a time became something of an anthem for office workers in the US. “9 to 5” reached number 1 on the Billboard Country Chart in 1981. The songs enjoyed chart success in Europe and it remains a popular song on the radio and in nightclubs. With “9 to 5” Parton became only the second woman to top both the US country singles chart and the Billboard Hot 100 with the same single. This Billboard chart song is one of the few to feature the clacking of a typewriter. The country star says that when she wrote the song she devised the clacking typewriter rhythm by running her acrylic fingernails back and forth against one another.
Parton is primarily known for her work in country music as a singer and songwriter with over 3,000 compositions to her name but she’s also credited as an actress, author and philanthropist. She’s the most decorated female country performer the world has ever seen with 25 songs reaching number 1 on the Billboard country music charts a record for a female artist tied with Reba McEntire. Her 41 career top-10 country album is a record for any artist. She’s won nine Grammy Awards and in 1999 she was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Listen to the best of this remarkable performer – Dolly Parton – right here at Lovesongs247.