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The 3 songs Dolly Parton said had to be on her first — and probably only — rock album

On Nov. 17, the singer released her 49th studio album, which happens to mark her first — and probably only — rock album in her decadeslong career

SHARE The 3 songs Dolly Parton said had to be on her first — and probably only — rock album
Dolly Parton performs on Aug. 14, 2023.

Dolly Parton performs during an event celebrating the Kansas statewide expansion of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library on Aug. 14, 2023. Parton released her first — and probably only — rock ‘n’ roll album on Nov. 17.

Charlie Riedel, Associated Press

Dolly Parton initially turned down her invite to join the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame last year. The country music legend felt she hadn’t yet earned that right, but said the nomination had inspired her to put out a “hopefully great rock ‘n’ roll album at some point in the future.” In her statement, she said she hoped the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame would be willing to consider her again, if she was “ever worthy.”

But Parton ended up accepting the invitation after all — although the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame never had any intentions of removing her as a nominee, noting in a statement that rock ’n’ roll has “deep roots in rhythm and blues and country music,” the Deseret News previously reported.

“It was always my belief that the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame was for the people in rock music, and I have found out lately that it’s not necessarily that,” Parton said in a statement at the time. “I just felt like I would be taking away from someone that maybe deserved it, certainly more than me, because I never considered myself a rock artist. But obviously, there’s more to it than that.”

Now, a year after her induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Parton told The Hollywood Reporter she is doing her part to really “earn” the recognition. On Nov. 17, the singer released her 49th studio album, which happens to mark her first — and probably only — rock album in her decadeslong career.

“Here I am, a rock star at 77,” Parton said during an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.

Dolly Parton on her album ‘Rockstar,’ cancel culture and faith

Parton is adamant this will be her only rock album, so she’s turned it into a massive project. “Rockstar” includes a whopping 30 songs — collaborations with artists across different generations and genres.

She sings “Let it Be” with Paul McCartney, who praised the rendition and said he was “pleased to be by (her) side on this one.” She performs Bob Seger’s “Night Moves” with Chris Stapleton; “Long As I Can See The Light” with CCR’s John Fogerty; “Heartbreaker” with Pat Benatar; and “Wrecking Ball” with Miley Cyrus, which Parton released in October.

“When I heard ‘Wrecking Ball’ I almost wept in my car,” Parton said in a post shared on X, formerly Twitter. “When it started into the chorus it hit me like a wrecking ball! I thought how great can a song be and how great can @MileyCyrus be? I thought, I have to have that song on my rock album and I have to have Miley sing it with me! I love it and I hope you do!”

Other artists on the album include Elton John, Pink, Stevie Nicks, Sting, Ringo Starr, Emmylou Harris, Brandi Carlile and Kid Rock.

Kid Rock has become somewhat of a polarizing figure in recent years. In her interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Parton noted that her collaboration with Kid Rock came before “the controversy that he had” — she didn’t name anything specific — but also said she would have probably still gone through with the collaboration after the fact because he “is a gifted guy.”

“Somebody was talking to me the other day, ‘How could you do this (song) with Kid?’ I said, ‘Hey, just because I love you don’t mean I don’t love Kid Rock. Just because I love Kid Rock don’t mean I don’t love you.’ I don’t condemn or criticize. I just accept and love.”

Parton added that she believes cancel culture is “terrible.”

“We all make mistakes,” she told The Hollywood Reporter. “We don’t all get caught at it. But also when somebody makes a mistake, it depends on who they are. That’s what God is there for. Now, I happen to believe in God; I’m a faith-based person, so therefore I am able to see it like that. A lot of people don’t, but even still, everybody deserves a second chance. You deserve to be innocent until you’re proven guilty. Even when you’re proven guilty, if God can forgive you, so can I. If God can forgive you, we all should forgive one another.”

Visit The Hollywood Reporter for the full interview.

What songs does Dolly Parton sing on her rock album?

Below is the full tracklist for “Rockstar,” per Axios:

  • “Rockstar.”
  • “World on Fire.”
  • “Every Breath You Take,” featuring Sting.
  • “Open Arms,” featuring Steve Perry.
  • “Magic Man,” featuring Ann Wilson.
  • “Long As I Can See the Light,” featuring John Fogerty.
  • “Either Or,” featuring Kid Rock.
  • “I Want You Back,” featuring Steven Tyler.
  • “What Has Rock and Roll Ever Done For You,” featuring Stevie Nicks.
  • “Purple Rain.”
  • “Baby, I Love Your Way,” featuring Peter Frampton.
  • “I Hate Myself For Loving You,” featuring Joan Jett & The Blackhearts.
  • “Night Moves,” featuring Chris Stapleton.
  • “Wrecking Ball,” featuring Miley Cyrus.
  • “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” featuring Pink and Brandi Carlile.
  • “Keep On Loving You,” featuring Kevin Cronin.
  • “Heart Of Glass,” featuring Debbie Harry.
  • “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me,” featuring Elton John.
  • “Tried To Rock And Roll Me,” featuring Melissa Etheridge.
  • “Stairway To Heaven,” featuring Lizzo and Sasha Flute.
  • “We Are The Champions.”
  • “Bygones,” featuring Rob Halford.
  • “My Blue Tears,” featuring Simon Le Bon.
  • “What’s Up?” featuring Linda Perry.
  • “You’re No Good,” featuring Emmylou Harris and Sheryl Crow.
  • “Heartbreaker,” featuring Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo.
  • “Bittersweet,” featuring Michael McDonald.
  • “I Dreamed About Elvis,” featuring Ronnie McDowell.
  • “Let It Be,” featuring Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr.
  • “Free Bird,” featuring Ronnie Van Zant.

In an interview with USA Today, Parton revealed that her three must-haves for the rock album were: “Purple Rain,” “Free Bird” and “Stairway to Heaven.”

You can listen to the full album on YouTube. “Rockstar” is also available on all streaming services, according to Parton’s official website.

What else is Dolly Parton up to?

Parton is also busy getting her life story to Broadway — something she told USA Today has “been a dream of mine for years and years.”

“At least 20 years I’ve been trying to put that together,” she said. “I was just about to have it ready when COVID hit and Broadway shut down. Then I thought, ‘Well, maybe I’ll do it as a biopic,’ and wrote up a script for that. But then I was like, ‘Nah, everybody’s doing a biopic! I’m going back to Broadway now that it’s open.’”

Parton said she is aiming for the spring of 2025. In late October, actress Kerry Butler shared on Instagram that she had the opportunity to portray Parton in a private reading of the musical.

“Her music is obviously incredible, but beyond that she is such an amazing person,” Butler shared, alongside a photo with Parton. The things she has accomplished on and off stage- many things you don’t even hear about! What a role model!!!”

Parton was previously an executive producer on the 2019 Netflix series “Heartstrings,” which shared the stories and inspirations behind some of Parton’s biggest hits.