Even Dolly Parton has had a celebrity crush; it was Johnny Cash who revved up her engines many years ago.
In a recent interview with “Nightline,” Parton, a multi-Grammy award-winning country music legend in her own right, talks about growing up in the Smoky Mountains as one of 12 children, launching her singing career as a child and the songs that have inspired her over the years.
Parton, 66, said she got the chance to sing at the famous Grand Ole’ Opry in Nashville, Tenn., when she was a young teenager. That’s when she said she first saw Johnny Cash. And she was smitten.
“I was sitting in the audience and that’s when I first knew about sex appeal, someone striking and made me feel something inside,” Parton said. “He had this tick when he moved his shoulder… and it was still sexy. It still got to me.”
Parton said she got to know “The Man in Black” years later, after he had become a superstar in the rock-country music scene. She said Cash became someone who was special to her and who was supportive of her career.
Cash died in 2003 at age 71.
While Parton said she loved “everything Johnny did,” she singled out “I Walk the Line,” as one of her favorite Cash songs.
“Johnny is a great songwriter,” Parton said. “A lot of people don’t realize how serious his songs are… he was like the John Wane of country music. He didn’t claim to be a great singer and his range and all that was not spectacular, but when he did it, you just believed it every bit. He just was great at what he did. He was a great storyteller.”
Parton’s enormously successful music career has spanned decades, with seven Grammys and dozens of number-one hit songs. Her smash hit, “I Will Always Love You,” went on to become the song that launched Whitney Houston to mega stardom.
In 2011, Parton was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award. Her latest project is “An Evening With… Dolly Live,” a two-disc DVD and CD set, now available at Cracker Barrel Old Country stores and on their website.
ABC News’ Victoria Thompson contributed to this report