ROB HALFORD On Sharing Microphone With DOLLY PARTON At ROCK HALL: 'I May Have Overstepped My Mark'
February 25, 2023
JUDAS PRIEST singer Rob Halford joined country legend Dolly Parton on stage last November at the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction ceremony to perform her classic song "Jolene". Also appearing with them as part of a "super jam" performance were some of the other Rock Hall inductees, including Pat Benatar, Annie Lennox and DURAN DURAN's Simon Le Bon.
Speaking to the SiriusXM's Ozzy's Boneyard host Mark Strigl about what it was like to briefly share the microphone with Dolly, Rob said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "I did the gay hustle and [thought], 'I've gotta get close to Dolly.' [Laughs] I may have overstepped my mark, but I was just gushing; I was a fanboy. I was kind of cringey at the end.
"I still haven't seen it — I still haven't seen it — but people say it was great, and that's all that matters.
"To be so close to her and to feel the love that this lady has — she's just this walking beacon of love and happiness and joy that she spreads," Halford continued. "And the talent that she has; when you think about the thousands and thousands of songs that she's written. And her story… There's a great Netflix documentary called 'Here I Am', and I watched that the other night. And where she came from and how she persevered, and she went through a moment where she really didn't know if things were gonna be able to continue, just through the way that rock and roll works, and she did. She's the epitome of staying the course and believing in yourself and believing the people around you and getting through these difficulties and challenges and rising above them and becoming a success all over again. She was always a success, but in the way that she can kind of fade in and out of things in rock and roll. She stuck to it. And wow. She's roaring right now. She's got this new rock album coming out, which we're all thrilled to know about.
"So, yeah, for me to have that opportunity just to sing a couple of those famous lines from 'Jolene'… It was a lot of stuff, you know," Rob added. "When you think about her and you think about me and where we are in our lives and the generations that we're from and the people that we kind of represent, if that's the right way to use it. It was just really very, very special. So, that moment, and all the other things that were flying around the room made for probably what they're saying is one of the most memorable and remarkable Rock And Roll Hall Of Fames that have happened thus far."
Halford previously talked about his performance with Dolly last November in an interview with San Antonio Current. At the time he said: "I knew that there was going to be an opportunity a few weeks before the event. Again, it was just kind of floating around that she was going to do this song at the end of the show and bring all of her friends onstage with her. And I didn't realize that we were going to be so connected. I sang one chorus with Dolly Parton and the world's gone nuts. And I can appreciate that now. I didn't understand it at first. And now these days have gone by, and people are going, 'Where's the album with Dolly and The Metal God?'
"I'll tell you something about her: she's been here forever, a bit like Her Majesty the Queen, who left us recently. What I mean by that is when Dolly walks into the room, you feel this regal presence. She's just got this aura about her personality. She's a genuinely beautiful light of love and caring and philanthropy and humanity. It's all real, man. It's all very real. There are some people who are very different on and off stage. Well, no, not with Dolly. That's Dolly's thing. So, for me to have that opportunity, I was just blessed and honored and thrilled. I know her work because I've lived as long as Dolly, and I was aware of Dolly as a young person growing up and seeing her on British television. She'd come over and do these British variety shows. And here I am, this kid from a public housing estate in the West Midlands in England, and I'm standing next to Dolly fucking Parton, who is now a rock chick."
Back in February 2022, when PRIEST's third nomination for the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame was announced, Halford told Billboard that, "I must do a duet with Dolly Parton! … If Lionel [Richie] and PRIEST get in, I think we'll both be dancing on the ceiling together."
Halford had previously revealed he is a huge fan of Dolly, and had planned to take a photo with her at the ceremony.
"I'm going to force her to, even if she doesn't know who I am," he told Metal Crypt last June. "I'm going to see what table she is sitting at. I'm just going to run to the table and do the devil's horns thing. Tongue out, horns up, behind Dolly Parton's head. It's the only way to do it. I can't smile sweetly. I've got to stick my tongue out and my horns up."
Halford told Rolling Stone earlier last year that he had no issues with Dolly being inducted into the Rock Hall.
"If you look at everyone in the Hall, it makes perfect sense to have Dolly Parton in there," he said. "I think it's just this 'rock and roll' thing. Should it be called the Music Hall Of Fame? I don't know. It started out with rock and roll, and roll and roll is everything and anything. It's just a phraseology."
Rob also talked about the possibility of sharing the stage with Dolly at the end of the night, saying: "I was onstage last weekend with Larry The Cable Guy! [Laughs] It was at Alice Cooper's blast for his great institution the Solid Rock Foundation. If I could stand alongside my buddy Larry and sing 'roll, baby, roll' [from THE DOORS' 'Roadhouse Blues'], I can certainly stand next to Dolly Parton on my left and Lionel Richie on my right."
PRIEST received the Musical Excellence Award at the event, which honored Eminem, Parton, DURAN DURAN, Richie, Benatar, EURYTHMICS and Carly Simon in the Performers category.
The JUDAS PRIEST members that got inducted include current members Halford, Ian Hill (bass),Glenn Tipton (guitar) and Scott Travis (drums),along with former members Downing, Binks and late drummer Dave Holland.
Earlier in the evening, Halford, Hill, Tipton and Travis were joined by Binks, Downing and current guitarist Richie Faulkner for three-song medley consisting of "You've Got Another Thing Comin'", "Breaking The Law" and "Living After Midnight".
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