Back in November of 2022, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Ceremony featured a performance of "Jolene," the 1973 broken romance classic by inductee and all-around amazing woman Dolly Parton. The country music legend was surrounded by many of the night's presenters, and other 2022 inductees, including Simon LeBon of Duran Duran and The Metal God, Rob Halford of Judas Priest. You can check out a video of the performance just below, with Halford and Parton sharing their verse towards the end.
It must have been pretty electric on that stage, considering Parton was surrounded by peers, yes—but admirers more than anything. Throw in the fact that Parton publicly questioned whether she earned the nomination let alone the induction, it was a live moment that will never be captured again.
But what about in the studio, perhaps? Seems like that's a very real possibility.
Halford recently told Dawn Osborne of Total Rock, "[Dolly] was great," adding that in the case of Parton, there's no such thing as "don't meet your heroes."
"She is the epitome of just being so beautiful and pure. Everything you know about that woman, she's like that 24-7. I don't think she ever takes her wig off. She's incredible; she's absolutely incredible."
As for the performance coming together, Halford said he didn't receive much advance notice. "I had no idea. They said, 'Would you like to be on the stage with Simon Le Bon and Pat Benatar and Annie Lennox and Pink and Sheryl Crow and the Zac Brown Band?' And I go, 'Yeah, I wanna be on that.' When they go, 'Would you like to sing some of the song with Dolly?' I'm, like, 'Let me sit down for a minute!"
Later, Halford shared that "I was over the top, 'cause I was all over [her] like a rash — I was like a total fanboy. I thought, 'Oh, God. I've blown it here now.' After the show, her manager came up to me, Danny [Nozell], and he goes, 'She's doing a project, like a rock album. Would you be interested?' I said, 'Yeah. Here's my number.' And then, out of the blue, like four weeks later, and suddenly [there's] ideas for some more work.
"So, all these magical things happened. But she's Dolly. And she's so beautiful. She's this beacon of light. And when you think about all the thousands of songs that she's sung and the people that she's met and worked with. She's an absolute national treasure in the U.S.A., and around the world. I know Brits love her. [She played at] Glastonbury [festival]. She thought, 'Glastonbury. Nobody knows who I am.' Everybody was singing along with Dolly. Everybody knew every single word that she did, of the songs that she's made. So that was just a joy."
A clearly proud Halford concluded by saying, "You know, you go through life when you're doing all these things, and you're having a blast, and then out of the blue, here's me and there's Dolly. I look at it and I go, 'Was that real? Did it really happen?' It's a joy. It's the blessings that can happen to you with music. The doors are always opening — 'Try this. Try that.'"
You can watch the full interview with Rob Halford and Dawn Osborne on Total Rock just below.