With her upcoming induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame on the horizon, Dolly Parton has made plans to record a rock album.
The country music icon, 76, sat down with Pollstar magazine for a new interview, where she confirmed her decision to complete the dream project, not only as a way to honor rock ‘n’ roll but also as a gift for her husband, Carl Dean who has long been a fan of the genre.
“When I got nominated for the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, I thought ‘Well, no better time to do it,’” Parton, who initially declined the nomination but later gracefully accepted, told the magazine. “I had always wanted to do it. My husband is a big hard rock ‘n’ roll fan, and for years I thought, “One of these days I’d like to do an album mainly just for him, just to kind of do it.” When I got nominated, I thought, “Why not just go ahead and do it while the iron’s hot? Maybe have some of the greats, the legends of rock ‘n’ roll sing along with me.”
As far as greats go, Parton says she already has a few artists in mind to join her on the forthcoming project. Among them are Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page and Robert Plant. She hopes both stars will join her for an updated rendition of Zeppelin’s “Stairway To Heaven” – a song she covered for her studio album, Halos & Horns, which was released in 2002.
“I’m trying to see if Robert Plant might sing on it. Maybe Jimmy Page might do the pick-up part on it. I’m looking forward to dragging in some of the great classic people, girls, and boys, to sing on some of the songs,” Parton shared.
Parton says she’s not far enough along to discuss all of the details of the upcoming album, but she has already written a song for the project called “Rockin’” that she intends to debut during the induction concert.
“A fine, cute little rock ‘n’ roll song,” she called the tune. “It’s called ‘Rockin’: ‘You know I’ve been rockin’ since the day I was born.’ You know, listening to Elvis and Journey and Chuck Berry, all those great people. It’s a fine little song, and it’s real rocky, so I’ll have something fun to play off of, to ease some of the tension.”
This certainly isn’t the first time Parton has spoken of her wishes to craft together a collection that pays tribute to some of the biggest rock legends. Back in March, she shared her initial reaction to being thought of as a potential member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and also talked about the album idea in an interview with Billboard.
“I was absolutely floored when I heard that,” Parton said of her nomination. I’ve never thought of myself as being rock and roll in any sense of the word — but I guess they judge it on the music and the influence certain songs have had, and I guess I’ve had songs with other people in that realm.”
“But I don’t know how they judge that,” she continued. “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 and 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.”
And it’s no doubt Parton has a busy schedule ahead. Along with a rock-specific album, she is working on an upcoming Greatest hits album. The 23-track collection called Diamonds & Rhinestones: The Greatest Hits Collection will feature some of her favorite songs spanning from 1971-2020 as well as include liner notes penned by Robert K. Oermann. Diamonds & Rhinestones: The Greatest Hits arrives Nov. 18th. The project will be available in digital, CD, and a 2LP, 12″ vinyl and is currently available to pre-order.
While Parton is gearing up to get in a load of studio time, there is one part of her career she plans to step back from – full-fledged touring.
“I do not think I will ever tour again,” Parton revealed, noting that she will however play one-offs, special occasions and potentially weekend runs, “But I do know I’ll do special shows here and there, now and then. Maybe a long weekend of shows or just a few shows at a festival. But I have no intention of going on a full-blown tour anymore. I’ve done that my whole life, and it takes so much time and energy.”
The last extensive tour Parton embarked on was in 2016, which launched in support of her Pure & Simple album. The trek saw Parton play 60 dates throughout Canada and the United States.
Parton will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Saturday (Nov. 5), alongside Pat Benatar, Duran Duran, Eminem, Eurythmics, Lionel Richie, and Carly Simon. The induction is set to take place at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles and can be seen on HBO and HBO Max.