Guess we can all agree that Dolly Parton is a living legend. Ever since she graced the music industry more than five decades ago, the gorgeous blonde proved she had the kind of undeniable star power one can’t simply replicate. On top of that, her sincere songcraft and sassy personality never failed to capture the hearts of generations.
While she’s a superstar in her own right, Parton never missed the chance to team up with some of the most iconic artists throughout the years.
So, today, we will look back at some of Parton’s greatest collaborations. Keep on scrolling below for our top picks!
1. “Islands in the Stream” with Kenny Rogers (1983)
Musical group Bee Gees originally wrote “Islands in the Streams” for American R&B and soul singer Marvin Gaye in an R&B style. However, it was later reworked for Parton and Rogers as a duet, which the duo released in 1983 as the first single off Rogers’ album, Eyes That See in the Dark.
That song quickly became a hit, ranking No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart while reaching the top of Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart and Billboard’s Adult Contemporary chart. In 2005, CMT hailed the song as the best country duet of all time. It is, without a doubt, Parton’s most loved duet.
2. “The Last Thing on My Mind” with Porter Wagoner (1967)
The song was originally released by folk singer-songwriter Tom Paxton in 1964. Three years later, it was covered by Parton and Wagoner as their debut duet when then-21-year-old Parton was first introduced to the audiences at The Porter Wagoner Show.
Their version of “The Last Thing on My Mind” – about regret over the ending of a love affair – reached No. 3 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart, kicking off a nearly endless string of top ten singles the two talented artists would release over the next several years.
3. “I Will Always Love You” with Vince Gill (1995)
In 1973, Parton wrote the now-world-renowned hit – and one of her signature singles – as a farewell song to Wagoner, who has been her business partner and mentor for many years. “I Will Always Love You” was a commercial success; it reached the top spot on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart twice.
More than two decades later, Parton recorded the song as a duet with Gill for her album Something Special. Parton and Gill’s performance of the song at the Grand Ole Opry earned unsolicited airplay from radio stations, causing it to debut on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart. The duo once again performed the duet during the 29th CMA Awards and then decided to officially release their version, which also earned a nomination at the 38th Grammy Awards.
4. “Everything’s Beautiful (In Its Own Way)” with Willie Nelson (1982)
Nelson was Parton’s first singer to record a duet after her partnership with Wagoner ended. “Everything’s Beautiful” was released as the first single from The Winning Hand, a collaborative compilation album by Parton, Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, and Brenda Lee. It was a hit for the two artists, reaching No. 7 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart.
The song was written by Parton herself as early as 1967, but her record label did not release it.
5. “Rockin’ Years” with Ricky Van Shelton (1991)
Parton teamed up with Shelton for a breathtaking duet, “Rockin’ Years,” a song about a man and a woman making a promise to love and stand by each other until they are old and gray. It was released as the lead single off Parton’s album, Eagle When She Flies, and Shelton’s album, Backroads. It hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart, making it Parton’s last chart-topper until 2006.
But did you know this wasn’t Parton’s first recording of “Rockin’ Years?” The country icon actually recorded this song in 1988 as a duet with George Jones. However, it was never released until Jones’ 2008 album, Burn Your Playhouse Down – The Unreleased Duets, which features some of Jones’ never-before-released duets.
6. “Smoky Mountain Rain” with Ronnie Milsap (2019)
Ronnie Milsap released “Smoky Mountain Rain” in 1980 as the first and only single off his first compilation album, Greatest Hits. The song – which tells the story of a man thumbing his way back to Knoxville, Tennessee, to be with the woman he loves, only to find out that she has long been gone – has become one of Milsap’s best-known hits.
In 2019, Milsap teamed up with Parton for a new version of the song, which was released off Milsap’s album, The Duets.
7. “To Know Him Is to Love Him” with Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris
In 1987, Parton teamed up with Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris for their version of The Teddy Bears’ 1958 hit, “To Know Him Is to Love Him.” Their cover was released as the first single off their Grammy Award-winning, multi-million-selling Trio album. It then climbed to the top of Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart.
So, what do you think about these collaborations by Dolly Parton? Which one is your favorite?