Dolly Parton’s Famous, Weird Album Credit

An unexpected instrument.

Critical Country


RCA Records, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

When I was writing my rankings of every Kacey Musgraves song, I stumbled across this credit from her album, Same Trailer Different Park:

“Waffle House background noise on “Blowin’ Smoke” recorded by Luke Laird”

I got a kick out of this, and it reminded me of a legendary credit that Dolly Parton recieved on her hit song “9 to 5.”

Dolly is one of the greatest songwriters to ever put pen to paper, and her gift came naturally. She is responsible for hits like, “I Will Always Love You,” “Jolene” (both of which, she wrote on the same day), and of course, “9 to 5.”

When you have such a talent for songwriting, inspiration can come from anywhere, and you can’t lug a guitar around everywhere, so you have to get creative. That’s just what Dolly did when writing “9 to 5.”

When she was selected to be in the movie 9 to 5, she was tasked with writing the theme. There was lots of filming and work to be done, so she stayed busy, and didn’t really get to sit down and write in one session. Every day she’d go in to film, and take lyrical inspiration from how hard everyone was working.

How was she going to come up with a tune though?

Acrylic nails, that’s how.

She would walk around set, all day, just strumming her nails, and singing the words to the song as she was writing it.

Originally the nails were just a way to get the tune down, but Parton says the girls on set loved it so much, that she decided to play them on the final cut of the song, and she gave herself a credit for playing “nails” when the album came out.

When you listen to the song now, I guarantee you’ll hear the scratchy nails, tapping and keeping tune!

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Here’s another awesome video of Dolly “playing nails” with Patti LaBelle:

P.S. Sorry it’s been a while since I’ve posted, writer’s block is not fun, but I should be back now!



Critical Country

I’m Ethan, and this is my (mostly) country music blog: Critical Country | Top Writer in Country Music and Music | Contact me at