How Dolly Parton’s husband has inspired some of the ‘best work’ she’s ever done – six decades into her illustrious career

Dolly Parton is proving that the best is yet to come, six decades into her career

Dolly Parton's husband has inspired her next career move
(Image credit: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)

Her career started in 1956 – 66 years ago – but if anyone thought Dolly Parton was close to hanging up her wigs and heels, she’s just getting started.

In fact, the Queen of Country is gearing up for her most energetic album yet – a rock and roll album full of some of the biggest rock classics in history.

And, even more touchingly, the rock album is Dolly’s love letter to her husband, Carl Dean.

Dolly is going rock, and it's all thanks to Carl Dean

(Image credit: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)

“I’m going to do a lot of his favorite songs,” she told E! News prior to the ceremony. “He loves Mick Jagger, he loves ‘Satisfaction’ — those kind of songs. I’m hoping to have Elton John. I’m hoping to have just a lot of the big classic artists singing some of the classic songs.”

So far, she’s teased the likelihood of covers of Prince's Purple Rain, The Rolling Stones' (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction, Led Zeppelin's Stairway to Heaven, and Lynyrd Skynyrd's Free Bird.

Dolly decided to make a rock album after being nominated for – and initially rejecting – the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

A post shared by Dolly Parton (@dollyparton) (opens in new tab)

A photo posted by on

Explaining her mixed reaction to the nomination at the time, Dolly explained, "I never thought of myself as a rock star. I found out later that they give it to you if you’ve influenced other people. I found out more about it. But I had said at the start I didn’t want to accept it because I didn’t think I’d earned it. And still ain’t sure."

Still, Dolly was inducted on November 5. And now she’s making good on her promise of earning it.

"I thought, 'Well, if they wanna give it to me anyhow, I’m going to accept it gracefully,'" she told Hoda Kotb on the Today Show. "And then I’m gonna go ahead and do a rock album and just make the most of it.”

Never one to do anything by half, Dolly has gone on to say that the album isn’t just taking shape, it could be some of the best work of her career.

Dolly Parton's rock album is coming in 2023

(Image credit: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame)

Considering her career includes anthems like Jolene, 9 to 5, and I Will Always Love You – not to mention 11 Grammy awards and an Oscar nomination – those are some lofty claims.

“I really think it’s some of the best work I’ve ever done,” Dolly shared when she sat down with Hoda. “I think so. Only because it’s different for me. I wanted it to be good.”

In true Dolly style, when revealing the album is coming in 2023, she also shared her other hopes for the year ahead.

"My hopes for the new year is a little more kindness, a little more love and a little more trying to pull together instead of falling apart.”

"I’m gonna try my best to try to bring as much joy as I can, and lift people up as much as I can in my way. I just think we all need to try a little harder. I don’t care what our politics are or religion or our color or anything else."

She said that's her New Year's resolution, "To try to make as much of that happen as I can through songs or through giving or through whatever it may be."

Jack Slater
Freelance writer

Jack Slater is not the Last Action Hero, but that's what comes up first when you Google him. Preferring a much more sedentary life, Jack gets his thrills by covering news, entertainment, celebrity, film and culture for woman&home, and other digital publications.


Having written for various print and online publications—ranging from national syndicates to niche magazines—Jack has written about nearly everything there is to write about, covering LGBTQ+ news, celebrity features, TV and film scoops, reviewing the latest theatre shows lighting up London’s West End and the most pressing of SEO based stories.