Dolly Parton wrote this tune, the title track of her 42nd solo album, for 9 to 5: The Musical, a 2008 Broadway production based on the 1980 comedy 9 to 5, which spawned a hit theme song. In the lyrics, she's telling folks there's a lot more going on beneath the surface of her glamorous, over-the top exterior.
She explained in her 2020 book, Songteller: "'Backwoods Barbie' is me saying, 'Okay, here's who I am, just a backwoods country girl who wants to be pretty more than anything in the world.' And I did. I loved anything fancy. I wanted to be pretty, like the pictures in the magazines. When I wrote the song, I talked about all that I am and all that I wanted to be. But it was also saying, 'Don't judge a book by the cover, because there's a lot underneath here.' I might look artificial and corny to you. You might think I have no taste. But underneath the look is a person. There's a brain and a heart underneath the hair and the boobs. The song is really about that."
The album's fifth and final single, this was released on March 9, 2009, the same day a Trey Fanjoy-directed music video also dropped. It follows Dolly's rags-to-riches story, growing up poor in the Great Smoky Mountains, where as a young girl she made homemade makeup out of berries and burnt matches, and becoming a star strolling down Hollywood Boulevard.
This was Dolly's highest-charting album of the decade, peaking at #17 on the albums chart and #2 on the Country chart.
This was also the first album released through Dolly's own Dolly label, which succeeded her Blue Eye Records.
If you're lucky, you can still find the Barbie-like Dolly Parton doll from the '70s, which was created by Anne Warden, the wife of Dolly's manager, Don Warden.