Dolly Parton doesn’t miss many opportunities.
So when the newly minted Rock and Roll Hall of Famer – who initially balked at being admitted to the shrine labeled “rock” – stepped up and accepted the honor in November, it sparked an idea, too.
If the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame wanted Dolly, Dolly would give the world some rock ‘n’ roll.
Who will sing on Dolly’s new rock album?
Her double album “Rock Star” – “a tongue in cheek title,” Parton tells USA Today with a laugh – is expected in late summer/early fall and the expected 28 tracks are filled with marquee names, many of them recognizable by one word (Elton, McCartney , Miley, Fogerty).
But Parton is a little, well, unhappy that she still can’t tell a famously wiry rock star — but more on that in a moment.
The unflappable Parton is also channeling her energy into her new baking line with Duncan Hines; She released the song “Don’t Make Me Have to Come Down There” on her recent 77th birthday; And she recently starred in the new “80 for Brady” movie “Gonna Be You,” written by Diane Warren, alongside ’80s mavens Cyndi Lauper, Gloria Estefan and Belinda Carlisle. (It’s not lost on Purton that her participation in the song links her to longtime “9 to 5” co-stars Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin.)
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What was the controversy surrounding Dolly’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction?
On her way in from Nashville, Parton is apparently jazzed to discuss her upcoming album and share some details about the songs and stars that helped her realize her rock ‘n’ roll vision.
Q: Let’s flash back to the night of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony. What was going through your head when you were standing on stage with Judas Priest’s Rob Halford and Duran Duran and Pink’s Simon Le Bon and others, all singing “Jolene”?
Answer: It was a really cool moment. It was one of the highlights of my life.
Did you feel like you were made to be a rock star?
That’s how I felt at that moment. I even wrote a song for that moment (“Rockin’”). I didn’t want any sort of controversy (by initially refusing to be considered for induction). I didn’t know I was supposed to be in the Rock Hall and vote off all the great (rock) artists. But when they told me the what and the why, I accepted it wholeheartedly… (then) I thought, if I’m ever going to do a rock ‘n’ roll album, it’s going to be right now. I will be really proud of it as part of my heritage.
How far into the album are you?
I have Elton (John) and Paul McCartney, Stevie (Nix) and I did our song together a few days ago. Miley (Cyrus), John Fogerty, Joan Jett, Pink, Brandi Carlyle. We’ve got a lot of iconic artists singing a lot of iconic songs, hopefully we’ll have Annie Lennox – her and Cher doing (Eurythmics) “Sweet Dreams (are made of).” There’s some covers and some big artists. Singing on my original as well.
What can you tell us about those songs?
Well, Simon (Le Bon) is singing a song I wrote, “My Blue Tears.” I was so excited because I could hear his voice on it. He has such a beautiful high voice and it’s an Irish-sounding love song with bagpipes. It’s a love song about when a man goes to war and leaves his lover behind and she’s crying her lonely blue tears and he’s crying his lonely blue tears on the other side. This is a huge category in which Simon will excel.
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Are you still trying to get Mick Jagger?
I just wanted a song for me and Mick – “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” – and Brandi and Pink are singing on it now. I’m still waiting for Mick to come back. It can pass. If not, I’ll kick his bony ass when I see him!
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What were the happiest moments while recording the album?
I enjoyed singing with Stevie (Nix). It’s a song she wrote called “What Has Rock’n Roll Ever Done for Me”, a cute little song. And John Fogerty, he’s written a lot of great songs, but I always loved “Long As I Can The Light.” We did it as a duet and our voices were great together. I’m tall – not tall like some rock ‘n’ rollers (laughs).
Who is left to record?
Kent Wells, my musical director for 30 years is producing (albums) and he’s now in Los Angeles recording Steven Tyler on the original and Steve Perry on “Open Arms.” We have great singers. I’m going to have to go back to Mick (Jagger) and say, “You’re sorry and you’ll have a knot on your head that you’ll never get over”… I’m going to go get him and drag him in.