ROB HALFORD Says He Was Approached About Contributing To DOLLY PARTON's Rock Album
March 6, 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 Dawn Osborne of TotalRock about what it was like to briefly share the microphone with Dolly, Rob said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "She was great. This thing about 'don't meet your heroes' — she is the epitome of just being so beautiful and pure. Everything you know about that woman, she's like that 24-7. I don't think she ever takes her wig off. She's incredible; she's absolutely incredible. And I had no idea. They said, 'Would you like to be on the stage with Simon Le Bon [DURAN DURAN] and Pat Benatar and Annie Lennox and Pink and Sheryl Crow and the ZAC BROWN BAND. And I go, 'Yeah, I wanna be on that.' When they go, 'Would you like to sing some of the song with Dolly?' I'm, like, 'Let me sit down for a minute.'
"So, we did that, and I was over the top, 'cause I was all over like a rash — I was like a total fanboy," Rob continued. "I thought, 'Oh, God. I've blown it here now.' After the show, her manager came up to me, Danny [Nozell], and he goes, 'She's doing a project, like a rock album. Would you be interested?' I said, 'Yeah. Here's my number.' And then, out of the blue, like four weeks later, and suddenly [there's] ideas for some more work.
"So, all these magical things happened. But she's Dolly. And she's so beautiful. She's this beacon of light. And when you think about all the thousands of songs that she's sung and the people that she's met and worked with. She's an absolute national treasure in the U.S.A., and around the world. I know Brits love her. [She played at] Glastonbury [festival]. She thought, 'Glastonbury. Nobody knows who I am.' Everybody was singing along with Dolly. Everybody knew every single word that she did, of the songs that she's made. So that was just a joy.
"You know, you go through life when you're doing all these things, and you're having a blast, and then out of the blue, here's me and there's Dolly. I look at it and I go, 'Was that real? Did it really happen?' It's a joy," Rob added. "It's the blessings that can happen to you with music. The doors are always opening — 'Try this. Try that.'
"Even though I'll always be a metalhead till the day I day, I've always felt that you should explore anything that comes your way. Don't just say 'no', 'cause you don't know what you've lost. So that was just a real thrill. And to see the picture — there's one very great picture of me and her that went viral, 'cause it just seemed so odd. Not odd in a funny way. What it did was it reinforced this thing about, it doesn't matter what kind of music you're into, what kind of style of music you play or you love or whatever, we're all connected. So you get Dolly and Simon and Pink and me, we're having a chinwag, and it's like we're best mates. We probably met each other for the first time in our lives, but the music is the common denominator.
"When you get a chance to meet all these incredible people and you're chit-chatting, like Simon Le Bon and Dolly and Pink and me and a bunch of other people, even though we're from different dimensions of music, there's a common denominator because that's what we live for; that's what we make," Halford said. "Music is music is music. So I've never lost that plot in the value of the friendship that music can build, no matter where you are from that world. It all connects."
Halford previously talked about his performance with Dolly in an interview withSiriusXM's Ozzy's Boneyard host Mark Strigl. He said: "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."
In an interview with San Antonio Current, Rob said about sharing the stage with Dolly: "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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