Dolly Parton’s First Number One Hit Described a Character From Her Hometown
It had been a long 11 years for little Dolly Parton from Sevierville, Tennessee who as a 13 year old rode a bus from eastern Tennessee to southern Louisiana where an Uncle had reserved a recording studio. That first recording, "Puppy Love" was not a hit but from that moment on Dolly knew what she wanted. She got it in 1971 just after turning 24 when her tune "Joshua" became her first number one hit.
Joshua was a real person from Sevierville. He looked pretty much as Dolly describes
His beard and his hair was long and black
And he was the biggest man I'd ever seen
Joshua (not his real name) was also a recluse and that's where reality stops.The real man Dolly based her lyrics on was not thought of as the lyrics say
Folks said he was a mean and a vicious man
but rather quiet and sometimes entertained the locals by playing his banjo. Even though the song alludes to a relationship with Joshua nothing developed between the two except in the song.
Take a listen to the first of Dolly's 20 number one hits: