Dolly Parton Reveals How She Got Ronnie Van Zant’s Vocals on “Free Bird” Cover
via AXS TV / Youtube
Dolly Parton reveals how she got the late singer Ronnie Van Zant‘s vocals in her cover of Lynyrd Skynyrd‘s classic “Free Bird.”
Parton’s rendition of the classic song is included on her upcoming album Rockstar. Talking about Van Zant’s vocals in her cover, the country singer tells Hits Daily Double:
“Ronnie Van Zant’s widow allowed us to use his voice on our record.”
Parton also recalled the death of guitarist Gary Rossington, who passed away in March. She added:
“That song really has a history to it. We lost a couple of the guys right after I recorded it.”
Van Zant is one of the victims of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s plane crash who died in 1977. His brother, Johnny, became the band’s singer ever since they regrouped in 1987.
Talking about using the original “Free Bird” vocals, Parton continued:
“[Ronnie Van Zant’s widow] allowed that, and I was so happy we got to use his real voice. They just dropped it in the way they manipulate those things now. It made it so special.
“I get chills every time I hear it. I’d already sung my version, and I didn’t know his voice enough, but then our phrasing turned out to be almost just exact when we were singing on the song! That’s such a classic. And it just goes on forever; lord, it’s a 10-minute song! At least five or six minutes is guitar. I remember getting so lost in the music, just singing wherever I felt it.”
The country icon’s first rock album, Rockstar, is set to come out on Nov. 17 and is packed with superstar guest appearances including Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Peter Frampton, Sting, Elton John, Ann Wilson, Stevie Nicks, John Fogerty, Debbie Harry, Joan Jett, Steve Perry, Michael McDonald, Kevin Cronin of REO Speedwagon, and more.