November 1980: Dolly Parton Blows Up with '9 to 5'

Country singer Dolly Parton acts in a scene from the movie "9 to 5" which was released on December 19, 1980. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
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(Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Dolly Parton was a breakout country music star in the 1970s, constantly pushing the bounds on her artistry in efforts to reach a wider audience. The singer made a decided shift towards pop as the decade came to a close, working with the likes of Donna Summer ("Starting Over") as she stepped outside of her country comfort zone.

Parton would hit the jackpot when she starred alongside Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda in the feminist comedy hit, 9 to 5. released on December 19, 1980.

The revenge comedy about three overworked and underpaid women office employees was a massive success, generating more than $100 million at the box office.

Leading up to the movie release, Parton wrote and performed the theme song, which she came up with in part by tapping out the rhythm with her long acrylic fingernails, simulating the sound of a typewriter. Released as a single on November 3, 1980, the song was a massive hit, racing to the #1 spot on the Hot 100 over the week of February 21, 1981.

The song "9 to 5" was nominated for a slew of awards, including the Oscar for Best Original Song. The award would go to Irene Cara's theme for Fame.

The popularity of 9 to 5 endures, as it was turned into a Broadway musical in 2008. The most recent staging of the play was running in London's West End just last year.

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