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Further evidence of Dolly Parton's rock credentials has emerged

Dolly Parton - red carpet shot
(Image credit: John Lamparski/Getty Images)

In the wake of the news that Dolly Parton is to be inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame this year, (alongside Judas Priest, of course), Parton's cover of the Led Zeppelin classic Stairway To Heaven has gone viral

Recorded in 2002 for bluegrass album Halos & Horns, the song's renewed popularity comes at a time when many have questioned Parton's rock'n'roll credentials, including Parton herself, who initially declined the nomination, stating that she didn't feel like she'd "earned that right" to be included.  

Parton eventually changed her mind, and shared her delight as news of the induction broke. "I am honoured and humbled by the fact that I have been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame," she said. "Of course I will accept it gracefully."

Parton's ambitious reworking of Stairway To Heaven isn't the first time she's delved into rock's past for songs to perform. In 2014 she recorded a version of Bon Jovi's Lay Your Hands On Me for her 44th studio album Blue Smoke, taking the original's gospel vibe to celestial new heights. 

The same year Parton performed the song with former Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora when she headlined London's O2 Arena, and two days later the pair reprised the performance at the Glastonbury Festival.

Parton has also recorded songs by REO Speedwagon (Time For Me To Fly, originally the second single from Speedwagon's You Can Tune A Piano, But You Can't Tuna Fish album), The Beatles (Help!), Bob Dylan (Blowin' In The Wind and Don't Think Twice), The Lovin' Spoonful (Lovin' You), Elton John (Please) and Neil Young (After The Goldrush). And live, Parton regularly performs a medley that includes Don McLean's classic American Pie, Dust In The Wind by US prog giants Kansas, and The Band's The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.

Having said all that, Parton's version of Paul McCartney's Wonderful Christmas Time, recorded with US rock band Chicago, is a release so stunningly bland it's best consigned to popular music's recycling bin.

We don't expect Parton to be throwing up the horns and rattling out versions of Run To The Hills or Breakin' The Law any time soon, but that rock album she's talked about can't come soon enough. Especially if she takes Steve Albini up on his offer to produce.

Fraser Lewry
Fraser Lewry

Online Editor at Louder/Classic Rock magazine since 2014. 36 years in music industry, online for 23. Also bylines for: Metal Hammer, Prog Magazine, The Word Magazine, The Guardian, The New Statesman, Saga, Music365. Former Head of Music at Xfm Radio, A&R at Fiction Records, early blogger, ex-roadie, published author. Once appeared in a Cure video dressed as a cowboy, and thinks any situation can be improved by the introduction of cats. Favourite Serbian trumpeter: Dejan Petrović.