DOLLY PARTON Explains Decision To Cover LED ZEPPELIN's 'Stairway To Heaven' On Her 'Rockstar' Album

May 15, 2023

Global superstar and recent Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame inductee Dolly Parton joined forces with some of rock music's most legendary artists along with today's biggest stars for her first-ever rock album, "Rockstar". Parton teamed up with an all-star roster of musicians for the 30-song collection which includes nine original tracks and 21 iconic rock anthems. "Rockstar" is set for global release on November 17 via Butterfly Records with distribution by Big Machine Label Group and will be available as a four-LP set, a two-CD set, digital download and on all streaming services.

Parton told that each song on "Rockstar" is inspired by her husband, Carl Dean, who has a particular fondness for LED ZEPPELIN's "Stairway To Heaven", which Parton covers on the album. She says her husband didn't like her first attempt at covering the classic track years ago, but that didn't stop her.

"He always loved the 'Stairway To Heaven'. He loved LED ZEPPELIN. And years ago, I did 'Stairway To Heaven' as a bluegrass, a gospel thing," she said. "And Carl, I played it to him and he said, 'I think that's a little more like 'Stairwell To Hell' than 'Stairway To Heaven''.

"He didn't think that anybody should do 'Stairway To Heaven' but LED ZEPPELIN. 'Who's gonna have the nerve to do that?' And I thought, 'Well, I'm going to have the nerve.'"

Parton pairs with Lizzo to sing "Stairway To Heaven". She and her goddaughter Miley Cyrus collaborate on "Wrecking Ball". P!nk, Brandi Carlile and Parton cover THE ROLLING STONES' "Satisfaction". Dolly and Elton John cover the latter's 1974 hit "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me". Chris Stapleton and Parton sing Bob Seger and THE SILVER BULLET BAND's "Night Moves".

Other artists featured on the record include JUDAS PRIEST's Rob Halford, MÖTLEY CRÜE's Nikki Sixx and John 5, AEROSMITH's Steven Tyler, JOAN JETT & THE BLACKHEARTS, Kid Rock and HEART's Ann Wilson, as well as BEATLES legends Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, FLEETWOOD MAC's Stevie Nicks, Peter Frampton, Pat Benatar and BLONDIE's Debbie Harry.

About the album's original track "World On Fire" — which was released on May 11, Parton stated via a press release that she felt "inspired" to write the "touching" song as it "speaks about everything and to everyone this day and time." She hopes it will "touch enough people to want to make a change for the better."

The song takes direct aim at politics in today's world, with Dolly singing: "Don't get me started on politics / Now how are we to live in a world like this/ Greedy politicians present and past / They wouldn't know the truth if it bit 'em in the ass."

Asked by which politicians she is talking about in the song, Dolly said: "All of (the politicians). Any of 'em. I don't think any of 'em are trying hard enough. I'm sure we’re all trying, but I just really think often that they worry more about their party than they do about the people.

"If we just do what we felt was the right thing, rather than who's going to lose, or who's going to win this, or who's going to look better if they do this. None of them are working from the heart."

Parton is the most honored and revered female country singer-songwriter of all time and was recently inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. Achieving 27 RIAA-certified gold, platinum, and multi-platinum awards, she has had 26 songs reach No. 1 on the Billboard country charts, a record for a female artist. Parton is the first artist to have topped the Billboard's Adult Contemporary, Christian AC Songs, Hot Country Songs, Christian Airplay, Country Airplay and Dance/Mix Show Airplay radio charts. Parton became the first country artist honored as Grammy MusiCares Person Of The Year given out by NARAS. She has 48 career Top 10 country albums, a record for any artist, and 110 career-charted singles over the past 50-plus years.

In 2014 the RIAA recognized her impact on recorded music with a plaque commemorating more than 100 million units sold worldwide. She has garnered eleven Grammy Awards and 51 nominations, including the Lifetime Achievement Award, 10 Country Music Association Awards, including Entertainer of the Year; five Academy Of Country Music Awards, also including a nod for Entertainer Of The Year; four People's Choice Awards; and three American Music Awards. In 1999, Parton was inducted as a member of the coveted Country Music Hall Of Fame.

In 2020, she released the Christmas album "A Holly Dolly Christmas" which went No. 1 on the Billboard Country and Holiday charts, as well released the best-selling coffee table book "Songteller: My Life in Lyrics". In 2021, she won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Television Movie for the film "Dolly Parton's Christmas On The Square" and in December 2022, she released on NBC an all-new original holiday movie called "Dolly Parton's Mountain Magic Christmas" with her starring as well as producing; it was the most watched film of that year and the two years prior.

To date, Parton has donated over 205 million books to children around the world with her Imagination Library. Her children's book, "Coat Of Many Colors", was dedicated to the Library Of Congress to honor the Imagination Library's 100 millionth book donation. In March of 2022, Parton released the book "Run Rose Run" which she co-authored with James Patterson which sat at No. 1 on the New York Times Bestseller's List for five weeks, a record for this decade. She also released an accompanying album of the same name with original songs inspired by the book which reached No. 1 on three charts simultaneously — Country, Americana/Folk and Bluegrass Albums. From her "Coat Of Many Colors" while working "9 To 5", no dream is too and no mountain too high for the country girl who turned the world into her stage.

Photo credit: Vijat Mohindra

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