Dolly Parton isn't just a massively successful musician and songwriter, she's also a beauty icon for the ages. Parton has rocked her signature blond choppy beehive, red lipstick, and arched brows since she first dazzled country audiences in the 1960s. And one major part of her essence are her acrylic nails, which she wears long, fake, and bright red. As it turns out, those nails aren't just fabulous — they're functional in the best way: She uses them as a literal instrument. I KNOW. SO COOL.
Parton played her own nails like an instrument. Yes, her actual acrylic nails.
Parton appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon to chat about many things (which we'll get to in a minute), chief among them, the story of recording "9 to 5." After singing a few verses of the song with The Roots backing her up, she revealed that she used her nails in part of the song.
The percussive part throughout the song? Yep, that's Parton tapping her nails together.
"When I actually wrote this song, I used my acrylic nails on the set when I was writing it," said Parton, and the audience laughed. "I did! Because they make noise and it sounded like a typewriter to me." She demonstrates her improvised instrument by strumming her nails together like playing a guitar, and yes, it does make a noise!
"I've never heard anyone play their nails before!" exclaimed Fallon, as Parton mentions that the song's credits include "Nails by Dolly" on the record; you can also see Parton's nail credits on the song's Wikipedia page.
Yes, I just tapped my nails together like she does, and I know you are doing it too!
Now that you know what you're looking for, you can hear it clearly in the song.
As "9 to 5" begins, you can hear a crystal-clear clicking in the music as she starts singing. That is Parton, tapping her nails into the microphone at the recording studio to get that specific sound, which does sound a bit like an old-school typewriter. Parton is a genius, to say the very least.
Parton also read Fallon's fortune on his palm, and honestly, I'm so jealous.
Oh, I'm not jealous that Parton touched Fallon, I'm jealous that Fallon touched Dolly! Ever the sweetheart that she is, Parton gave Fallon a palm reading, in which she predicted that he's "going to be very successful as a talk show host." No surprise there. Parton also joked that Fallon has a very long, wait for it, life ahead of him!
Hopefully Parton does too. At 73, she's still as hilarious and warm-hearted as she's always been.