Dolly Parton Shares She Always Wanted To Record With Led Zeppelin
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If you’ve been keeping an ear to the ground in recent months, you’ve likely caught wind of the buzz surrounding Dolly Parton’s Rockstar album. The excitement initially kicked off with the controversial Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame nomination for the iconic country singer.
Parton, not holding her breath for the induction, remarked:
“I’m not expecting that I’ll get in. But if I do, I’ll immediately, next year, have to put out a great rock’n’roll album – which I’ve wanted to do for years, like a Linda Ronstadt or Heart kind of thing. So this may have been just a God-wink for me to go ahead and do that. It’s just nice to be nominated.”
After her induction, Parton’s enthusiasm soared. She declared:
“I’m a rock star now!
“That’s what they say! That was such an honour. I’m making an album too because I have to live up to all that hype!”
Despite some distant skepticism about Parton venturing into rock territory, she revealed a long-standing desire during a 2001 interview while promoting her bluegrass album, Little Sparrow. Surprisingly, the conversation turned to Led Zeppelin. Parton expressed:
“I love Led Zeppelin.
“I want Jimmy Page to come into the studio for my next album. If I love a song and it just burns in me, well, I’ll find a way to do it. At my age, it’s like I’m not doing it for any reason other than I just feel like it. People ain’t buying my damn records anyway, so why can’t I at least take a chance if I’m paying for the studio session?”
Although a collaboration with Jimmy Page didn’t materialize, Parton did record her own rendition of Zeppelin’s “Stairway To Heaven” on the Halos & Horns album in the following year. In 2008, she revisited the idea of collaborating during an interview with Mojo, expressing regret about missing the opportunity with Robert Plant and Alison Krauss’s project. She said:
“I’m not going out looking for it, but I’m open to anything. Anything’s possible. Who knows? They’re Led Zeppelin – and I got the balloons!”
The Missed Opportunity
As the Rock Hall induction approached, Parton continued to discuss the possibility of a collaboration, mentioning to Pollstar:
“I’m trying to see if Robert Plant might sing on it. Maybe Jimmy Page might do the pick-up part on it.”
The Led Zeppelin partnership, however, was never realized. Regardless, the Rockstar album features an outstanding list of musicians who contributed, including Kid Rock, Stevie Nicks, Mick Fleetwood, Rob Halford, Pat Benatar, Paul McCartney, Ann Wilson, Steven Tyler, Elton John, and Ringo Starr. This lineup may help make up for the missed opportunity.