Dolly Parton Reveals Her Duet With Stevie Nicks Is Originally For Fleetwood Mac
After much anticipation, country icon Dolly Parton is finally commencing the expansion of her domain towards rock as her Rockstar album is set to release on November 17th.
The lineup of guest stars is truly impressive, featuring renowned names like Paul McCartney, Sting, Sheryl Crow, Elton John, Steve Perry, John Fogerty, Rob Halford, and Peter Frampton, among a host of other collaborators.
The Queen of Country has recently shared the origins of one of her songs from Rockstar, which features fellow female icon Stevie Nicks and sessions legend Waddy Wachtel.
It turns out this duet was originally written by Nicks for her band, Fleetwood Mac.
“They didn’t think it was good enough to be on a record”
Parton reminisced with The Hollywood Reporter about the four days she spent in Nashville collaborating with the Fleetwood Mac singer. “Getting in the studio with her was great. We talked a lot,” the music legend shared.
“She stayed over with Sheryl Crow; they’re friends. She would come in down the studio, and we did get a chance to talk about the business… We talked about before she started with Fleetwood Mac,” Parton recalled.
During this collaborative period, Nicks introduced “What Has Rock and Roll Ever Done for You” to Parton, providing a detailed account of the song’s extensive history.
The country legend quoted Nicks explaining, “This is a song I wrote back when [Fleetwood Mac was] in the heat of our stuff. It’s a song I love, but they didn’t think it was good enough to be on a record”. The singer was able to record an unreleased version, which you can listen to below:
“What has rock ‘n’ roll ever done for you? Well, everything”
Nicks shared additional details with Parton, disclosing that the song’s lyrics were rooted in a personal relationship. Parton again quoted her fellow songstress, “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?’”
According to Parton, Nicks crafted the song to capture the enjoyment they found in their relationship. “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.”
Nicks simply expressed that she loved this song and wanted to immortalize it through their collaboration, as a reminder of that time with the still unnamed lover.
Parton chose not to disclose the specific individual who inspired Nicks to write “What Has Rock and Roll Ever Done for You”. Throughout her career, the Fleetwood Mac singer had romantic connections with various musicians, including Eagles’ Don Henley and Joe Walsh, and her former bandmate Lindsey Buckingham, with whom she shared a well-documented tempestuous relationship.
“Here I am a rock star at 77”
Nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2022, Parton initially turned down the honor due to her roots in country music rather than rock. In response, she expressed her intent to create a rock covers album featuring numerous musical collaborators from the genre, aiming to substantiate her place in the Hall of Fame. Parton showcased her original song “Rockin'” at the induction ceremony.
“That’s why I thought, ‘Well, timing is perfect [for Rockstar],” the Queen of Country explained. “There’s a real reason for me to do this rock ‘n’ roll album. Here I am a rock star at 77.’”
Over several months, she approached various dream collaborators, including those she performed with at the Hall of Fame ceremony like fellow 2022 inductees Pat Benatar, Neil Giraldo, Simon Le Bon, and Rob Halford.
Additionally, she reached out to other guests such as Pink, Brandi Carlile, and Sheryl Crow. Parton officially announced the recording on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon on November 30. Rockstar‘s first single, hit the shelves, on May 11th.