Dolly Parton recalls organising Beatles reunion for upcoming rock album

Dolly Parton has recalled inadvertently organising a reunion of “all the living Beatles”, after collaborating with Sir Paul McCartney and Sir Ringo Starr on her upcoming rock album.

The US country music veteran, 77, said she had “just asked” Sir Paul to play on a cover track of Let It Be, and later invited Sir Ringo to play drums.

Parton’s first ever rock album Rockstar, due for release in November, features a slew of famous rock artists and big British names including Sir Elton John and Sting.

The album was inspired by her 2022 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, an honour she initially resisted, saying she felt she had not “earned” it.

Dolly Parton press conference
Rockstar includes nine original songs and 21 well-known rock anthems, and will be released on November 17 2023 (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Speaking on live streaming online network TalkShopLive, Parton discussed the collaborations for Rockstar.

“I was so proud of getting to sing songs like Let It Be with Paul McCartney. He played the piano also and Ringo played the drums,” she said.

Asked about having organised a Beatles reunion, she said: “Well I didn’t really think of that at the start.

“I just asked Paul, because it’s his song, he co-wrote that. So I thought if I could get him to play, I asked him to sing on it and he said ‘yeah I’ll sing and I’ll play if you want me to’.

“And then it was after he’d done his vocal that I thought, you know what, because we had done a lot of tracks before… so we had a drummer on it, and we thought, well why don’t we just replace the drummer with Ringo?

Glastonbury Festival 2022
Sir Paul McCartney (Yui Mok/PA)

“And that’s what we did because I thought wow that would be all the (living) Beatles.”

Parton said she had “called up” Sir Elton to propose collaborating on a cover of his track Don’t Let the Sun Go Down On Me.

“Every time we get together we start singing old classic country songs. So I knew we sang great together,” she said.

“And we’d always said we need to do an album sometime together and I called him up and I love the song I did with him, Don’t Let the Sun Go Down On Me. That’s one of my favorites.”

She added that The Police frontman Sting, real name Gordon Sumner, had “killed it” when they had recorded the cover of Every Breath You Take.

Rockstar also includes other collaborators include US musical heavyweights Sheryl Crow, Chris Stapleton, Stevie Nicks, Joan Jett, Pink, and Brandi Carlile.

Parton’s goddaughter Miley Cyrus also features on the album, as does pop megastar Lizzo.

The album includes nine original songs and 21 well-known rock anthems, and will be released on November 17 2023.