Country music legend, Dolly Parton, teamed up with modern country star Brad Paisley to unite the battling sides of the genre in “When I Get Where I’m Going.

The song appeared on Paisley’s album Time Well Wasted in 2005 and featured harmony vocals from the Country Queen. The song became another No.1 Billboard hit for Parton, her first since 1991, while it was Paisley’s fifth No.1, proving that listeners across genres can all relate to its poignant message.

Written by songwriters George Teren and Rivers Rutherford, the song is about a man’s journey into Heaven. The man explained all that he has planned when he gets where he’s going. “When I get where I’m going, there’ll be only happy tears. I will shed the sins and struggles I have carried all these years. And I’ll leave my heart wide open. I will love and have no fear,” it sings.

The Song Has Simple But Impactful Message

Rutherford used a memory from his childhood when he wrote the song, especially the lyrics “I’m gonna land beside a lion, and run my fingers through his mane.”

“When I was about ten years old, I was sick one Sunday, so my dad and I stayed home from church and watched the preacher on TV. And in the middle of his sermon, this guy comes out in a karate outfit and attacks the preacher,” he told Rolling Stone. 

“Once they got the guy under control, the preacher got back up and said, ‘I wouldn’t worry for a minute. I know where I’m going, and I can’t wait to get there. The Bible says that the lion will lay down with the lamb. Can you imagine what it would be like to lay down with a lion and run your fingers through its mane?’ Something about that image just stuck in my head, and 25 years later, I remembered that sermon when I was writing with George Teren.”

The song resonated with several fans, thanks to its straightforward but impactful message. After all, we’ve all lost people close to us.

But the song’s music video was even more impactful. It featured home videos of Paisley and his late grandfather. There were also various notable names featured in the clip, holding photos of their lost loved ones, including John Carter Cash, Michael Reagan, Teresa Earnhardt, Pixar director John Lasseter, and even Dolly Parton herself. She held a photo of her grandfather, the Rev. Jake Owens, but she did not sing in the video.

“When I Get Where I’m Going” went on to win two Academy of Country Music Awards for Video of the Year, Vocal Event of the Year, and a Country Music Association Award for Vocal Event of the Year. Watch the award-winning music video below.