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Pat Courtenay: Why Dolly Deserves Rock Hall of Fame!

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Despite the fact that she told everyone she wished “repectfully to bow out” out of the process, her rejection was rejected and Dolly Parton will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame in November; but for anyone who might still be, to say the least “dubious” about Dolly’s qualifications for entry into an institution that even Thin Lizzy can’t
access, could this be the final word on the matter?

Back in 2002, Dolly recorded a bluegrass album called Halos & Horns, on which she did a
frankly beautiful re-imagining of the Led Zeppelin classic Stairway To Heaven. She didn’t just approach the song as a straight cover version: she also threw in a choir, bluegrass instrumentation and (shock, horror!) even some ad-libbed lyrics of her own. She told Louder Sound she knew she was “walking on sacred ground”, and she said she was
“scared to death” to send it to Robert Plant and Jimmy Page; but, according to Dolly, 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 she’d used a choir on it, because he’d thought about that as well. Have a listen, especially to hear how she handles the big instrumental break where we normally hear the legendary Jimmy Page solo.

Dolly’s rock voyage didn’t end there: for a while now (at her husband’s suggestion) she’s been considering making a rock album, not just of covers but featuring some of the original artists, including The Rolling Stones. I think, in fairness they should return the favour on their upcoming tour (y’know, the one that’s not coming here). Can’t you just picture Mick Jagger belting out Jolene?

Pat Courtenay