Dolly Parton has announced a genre switch to rock music, and has tapped what will surely be the starriest supporting cast for any album this year.
Her new album Rockstar – a 30-track epic with nine originals and 21 cover versions, which will be released on 17 November – features 42 guest artists straddling multiple genres and generations. Her cover of Let It Be features both surviving Beatles alongside Peter Frampton and Mick Fleetwood, while You’re No Good features one of Parton’s most creatively fruitful collaborators, Emmylou Harris, alongside Sheryl Crow.
She takes on a series of classics as duets with the original artists, from Heart of Glass with Debbie Harry, to Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me with Elton John, Every Breath You Take with Sting, Free Bird with members of Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Wrecking Ball with goddaughter Miley Cyrus. Frampton also appears on a version of Baby, I Love Your Way.
Other tracks involve eye-catching team-ups: Lizzo joins her for Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven, while Pink and Brandi Carlile contribute to a version of the Rolling Stones’ (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.
Stevie Nicks, Simon Le Bon, Steven Tyler, Joan Jett, Michael McDonald, Pat Benatar and Chris Stapleton are among the numerous other guests. Parton also takes three solo numbers, including versions of Queen’s We Are the Champions and Prince’s Purple Rain.
Parton said she was “very honoured and privileged to have worked with some of the greatest iconic singers and musicians of all time, and to be able to sing all the iconic songs throughout the album was a joy beyond measure”.
Her foray into rock music comes following her induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2022, which she initially declined, saying: “I don’t feel that I have earned that right … This has, however, inspired me to put out a hopefully great rock’n’roll album at some point in the future, which I have always wanted to do!” She later accepted the Hall of Fame honour, saying: “It was always my belief that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was for the people in rock music, and I have found out lately that it’s not necessarily that.”
The 77-year-old has maintained a steady run of releases in the past decade, with 2022’s Run Rose Run – a companion album with a novel she wrote with James Patterson – following A Holly Dolly Christmas (2020), I Believe in You (2017), Pure & Simple (2016) and Blue Smoke (2014). She has also recently produced and starred in a pair of seasonal movies, 2020’s Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Square and 2022’s Dolly Parton’s Mountain Magic Christmas, the former winning her an Emmy for outstanding television movie.
Rockstar will be her 53rd studio album in a career that stretches back to 1967’s Hello, I’m Dolly. Its first single, World on Fire, is released on 11 May. Later this week she also hosts the 58th edition of the Academy of Country Music awards, with co-host Garth Brooks.
The Rockstar tracklist in full
Rockstar (ft Richie Sambora)
World on Fire
Every Breath You Take (ft Sting)
Open Arms (ft Steve Perry)
Magic Man (ft Ann Wilson with Howard Leese)
Long As I Can See the Light (ft John Fogerty)
Either Or (ft Kid Rock)
I Want You Back (ft Steven Tyler with Warren Haynes)
What Has Rock and Roll Ever Done for You (ft Stevie Nicks with Waddy Wachtel)
Baby, I Love Your Way (ft Peter Frampton)
I Hate Myself for Loving You (ft Joan Jett and the Blackhearts)
Night Moves (ft Chris Stapleton)
Wrecking Ball (ft Miley Cyrus)
(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction (ft Pink and Brandi Carlile)
Keep on Loving You (ft Kevin Cronin)
Heart of Glass (ft Debbie Harry)
Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me (ft Elton John)
Tried to Rock and Roll Me (ft Melissa Etheridge)
Stairway to Heaven (ft Lizzo and Sasha Flute)
We Are the Champions
Bygones (ft Rob Halford with Nikki Sixx and John 5)
My Blue Tears (ft Simon Le Bon)
What’s Up? (ft Linda Perry)You’re No Good (ft Emmylou Harris and Sheryl Crow)
Heartbreaker (ft Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo)
Bittersweet (ft Michael McDonald)
I Dreamed About Elvis (ft Ronnie McDowell with the Jordanaires)
Let It Be (ft Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr with Peter Frampton and Mick Fleetwood)
Free Bird (ft Ronnie Van Zant with Gary Rossington, Artimus Pyle and the Artimus Pyle Band)