Former JOURNEY singer Steve Perry spoke to Classic Rock about his collaboration with country music legend Dolly Parton.
Parton recently said that she was making a rock album in order to celebrate her induction into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. Tentatively titled "Rock Star", the LP will include covers of classic rock tunes like "Open Arms" by JOURNEY, "Purple Rain" by Prince, "Can't Get No Satisfaction" by THE ROLLING STONES, "Stairway To Heaven" by LED ZEPPELIN and "Freebird" by LYNYRD SKYNYRD.
Regarding his decision to work with Parton, Perry told Classic Rock: "I've still got so much [of my own new] music backed up in my studio, but the truth is that I'm a bit lazy. Right now, I'm only doing things that I can really emotionally connect with. Anything else, I kind of pull away from.
"The duet between Dolly and I on 'Open Arms' has just been mixed by Chris Lord-Alge and it sounds great," he revealed. "Dolly told me she had always loved the song and wanted to sing it on an album. 'Open Arms' has been recorded many, many times down the years, but, honestly, she killed it. Dolly is singing her tush off."
When Parton was inducted into the Rock Hall, she mentioned several artists during her speech that she wanted to collaborate with on her rock album and revealed that she and Perry would be singing "Open Arms" together.
"Open Arms" originally appeared on JOURNEY's seventh album, 1981's "Escape". The track, written by Perry and JOURNEY keyboardist Jonathan Cain, was also featured on the soundtrack to the sci-fi film "Heavy Metal".
"Open Arms" reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was covered by various recording artists, including Mariah Carey, Barry Manilow, R&B group BOYZ II MEN and Celine Dion.
Other rock musicians who are expected to appear on Dolly's album include JUDAS PRIEST singer Rob Halford, who joined Parton on stage at the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction ceremony to perform her classic song "Jolene", as well as MÖTLEY CRÜE bassist Nikki Sixx and guitarist John 5.
Speaking to TotalRock, Rob said: "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."
During an appearance on "The View", Parton also shared that she collaborated with a number of fellow iconic artists on the album, including Paul McCartney, Steven Tyler, Stevie Nicks, Steve Perry, John Fogerty, P!nk and Brandie Carlile.
"If I'm gonna be in the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, I'm gonna have to do something to earn it. So I'm doing a rock and roll album, and I'm having a lot of the rock stars that I met that night be on the album with me," Parton explained.
Dolly Parton photo credit: Stacie Huckeba