Dolly Parton’s Best Rock Songs
Despite Dolly Parton’s initial reluctance to accept a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame nomination, the country music icon will officially become a member: Her name was among those for the Class of 2022 announced Wednesday morning. “I am humbled and honored to have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Of course, I will accept it with grace,” Parton wrote on social networks. “Thank you to everyone who voted for me and to everyone in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I will continue to work hard and try to live up to this honor.
It should be noted that Parton’s very first recording was, in fact, the one that rocked. The 1959 single titled “puppy lovewhich a 13-year-old Parton wrote with her uncle Bill Owens, was recorded at Goldband Studio in Lake Charles, Louisiana, founded by musician Ed Shuler. Parton’s single was a bubbly tune punctuated by electric guitar, a rock beat and an exuberant, youthful voice (think future Rock Hall legend Brenda Lee on Helium). While this earned the teenager a radio airplay, it didn’t exactly set Dolly on the path to rock & roll stardom. Since then, however, she’s managed to deftly straddle the blurry lines between country and pop, and her rare forays into the rock & roll songbook have always approached the genre with the same zeal that distinguished her pure country classics. Here are five of the best.
“Time for Me to Fly” (1989)
Although rainbows usually follow rain, Parton lived those two things upside down like his excellent 1989 album. White Limo was the ray of sunshine after the dismal creative and commercial spot that was his 1987 LP Rainbow. That desire to reset and soar to new heights shines through beautifully in his version of this 1978 REO Speedwagon power ballad. relentlessly entertaining.
“Stairway to Heaven” (2002)
OK, so Dolly’s majestic version of this ubiquitous Led Zeppelin gem didn’t exactly reveal the deep, hidden meaning there might be in the song’s lyrics. But his rendition backed by a gospel choir, included on the brilliant 2002 album Halos and horns, comes with the Dolly marks of compassion and tenderness, and offers something more than clarity – namely hope. It’s a way to eliminate all those pesky wiggles in your hedge.
“Lay Your Hands On Me” (2014)
Dolly’s historic 2014 performance at Glastonbury, the UK’s premier music festival, drew a crowd of over 100,000 and set a high point for the event. Although the performance was pure Dolly, she was joined by a special guest: former Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora, who along with bandmate Jon Bon Jovi had a Top 10 hit in 1989 with this cut-throat rocker. the breath. With permission from its writers, Parton tweaked the secular lyrics and turned it into a fiery gospel number for blue smokewhich became Parton’s highest-charting solo album on the Billboard 200.
Parton was inspired by hearing this 1994 Collective Soul hit on the car radio, with her rock & roll loving husband Carl Dean by her side. She enlisted members of alt-bluegrass trio Nickel Creek to accompany her on a soaring 2001 release for little sparrow, the first of his trilogy of acoustic bluegrass albums. Given that the song’s lyrics take such a contemplative gaze skyward, just as Parton did in so many of her own compositions, it’s no surprise she was drawn there. Although it wasn’t her song, her cover won her a Grammy for Best Female Country Vocal Performance.
“To help!” (1979)
Countless tributes to John Lennon’s songwriting genius would flood the market after his murder, but this one, particularly poignant, predates the tragedy by a year. Dolly’s 1979 LP large balls of fire included his own raunchy take on that rocker Jerry Lee Lewis, but would also pay homage to the Beatles with an energetic bluegrass revamp of the band’s 1965 song, written primarily by Lennon with help from bandmate Paul McCartney. Parton’s airy and enthusiastic version gives the song its exclamation point and sets the stage for more tasty covers to come.