Unlike Nancy Sinatra's fashionable footwear, Robert Lee Parton's boots were made for workin'. Dolly Parton wrote the song in honor of her father, who toiled to support his wife and 12 children as a farmer and construction worker. Like his working boots, her dad is tired and worn after years of hard labor and she hopes when he goes to heaven someday, God will give him a pair of brand-new golden boots. Robert died in 2000 at age 79.
Robert Lee Parton's working boots are on display in the museum at Dollywood. She noted in her 2020 book, Songteller: "He is so precious to me, and I'm so glad I got to hold on to this little bit of him. The shoes inspired a song, and my daddy inspired me."
Dolly's dad also inspired her to create the Imagination Library, a literacy program that provides free books to children. Robert grew up working the farm to help support his family, so he never went to school or learned to read or write. Dolly convinced him to use his story to help launch the program. "I got him involved helping me with it, and he felt so great about that," she explained. "I told him, 'Daddy, there are probably millions of people in this world who don't know how to read and write, who didn't get the opportunity. Don't be ashamed of that. Let's do something special." The library has gifted more than 150 million books to children in five countries.
This appears on Parton's 11th solo album, My Tennessee Mountain Home, a concept album about her life leading up to her first days in Nashville. It yielded a single of the same name, which was a Top 20 hit on the Country chart.