Listen to Dolly Parton's stunning cover of Led Zeppelin's Stairway To Heaven, proof of her rock 'n' roll soul

(Image credit: Rick Diamond/Getty Images)

Despite her stated desire to "respectfully bow out" out of the process, Dolly Parton will be inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame on November 5, alongside Judas Priest, Duran Duran, Eminem, Pat Benatar and more.

Back in March, when the country music icon stated that she wished to withdraw her nomination from the 2022 race, she wrote "I don’t feel that I have earned that right": we begged to differ, and said so at the time. But for anyone who may still be harbouring reservations about Dolly's qualifications for entry into the hallowed institution, we present a final word on the matter, namely the singer/songwriter's beautiful re-imagining of the Led Zeppelin classic Stairway To Heaven.

Parton recorded the song for her 2002 bluegrass album Halos & Horns back in 2002. Typical of Parton's fearless creativity, she didn't just approach the song for a straight cover, but added a choir, bluegrass instrumentation and - the audacity! - even some ad-libbed lyrics of her own: "We kind of made it bigger,” she casually stated.

"I knew I was walking on sacred ground because it is a classic," she later conceded. "I was scared to death to send it to Robert Plant and Jimmy Page. They sent word back that it was fine and they loved it. In fact, Robert Plant said he'd always thought of it as a spiritual song, and he was thrilled we'd used a choir on it, because he thought about that, too. If they like it, that's most important to me. But I do hope the public will accept it too. I even hope they love it."

And this, ladies and gentleman, is just one more reason to treasure country music's new rock 'n' roll superstar. 

Now then, about that rock 'n' roll album we were promised...

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.