Dolly Parton reveals that her duet with Stevie Nicks on Rockstar was originally written for Fleetwood Mac, inspired by an affair Nicks had with someone "famous and rich" in the rock 'n' roll world

Dolly Parton and Stevie Nicks
(Image credit: Mike Marsland/WireImage | Tim Mosenfelder/WireImage)

Dolly Parton says that What Has Rock and Roll Ever Done to Me, her duet with Stevie Nicks on her upcoming Rockstar album, was originally written by Nicks for Fleetwood Mac, and was inspired by an affair the singer had with someone "famous and rich" in the rock 'n' roll field.

Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter about the project, Parton says that Nicks stayed with Sheryl Crow in Nashville for four days while recording the duet and that the pair swapped "personal stories and stuff that I won’t tell here."

"We talked about before she started with Fleetwood Mac," she says. "We did talk about the business. We talked about our backgrounds. In fact, our song, What Has Rock and Roll Ever Done to Me, she said, 'This a song I wrote back when we were in the heat of our stuff.' She said, 'It’s a song I love but they didn’t think it was good enough to be on a record.'

"She said, “I have an old demo of it. Can we do this one, because I wrote it about someone I was involved with that was also in the rock ’n’ roll field when we had an affair?' She wrote that about their relationship because they had fun about it. 'What has rock ’n’ roll ever done for you?' They said, 'Well, everything', because they were both famous and rich. She just said, 'I just love this song. I’d like to do it just to commemorate that time in my life and that person'."

Rockstar is set for release on November 17. A number of singles have already been released from the 29-track album, including World On Fire, and Bygones, which features Judas Priest's Rob Halford.

Rockstar also features contributions from Steven Tyler, Elton John, Sting, Steve Perry, Ann Wilson, John Fogerty, Miley Cyrus, Joan Jett, Mick Fleetwood, Peter Frampton, Nikki Sixx, Pat Benatar, Paul McCartney and many more. 

Parton also reveals to The Hollywood Reporter that she'd originally planned to have Mick Jagger on the album, but that scheduling issues made that collaboration impossible.

"Oh, I wanted him so bad," she admitted. "I did (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction, but... it was in the wrong key. He said, 'Let’s find another song', because he was going to do it with me or do something. I was working on stuff, and then we came up with a few things, but then I ran out of time and he was in the middle [of recording Hackney Diamonds] and he was doing that secretly, that album. We were in the same place at the same time, but I didn’t get him."

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.