Ricky Van Shelton and Dolly Parton combined talents for a jaw-dropping duet of “Rockin’ Years”- an incredible moment of unity in country history.
They released the song in 1991 as the lead-off single to both Parton’s album Eagle When She Flies and Shelton’s album Backroads. The song peaked at No. 1 of the Billboard Hot Country Singles and Tracks chart. The song was also Dolly’s last chart-topper until 2006. But despite sharing an undeniable bond, Ricky Van Shelton and Dolly Parton will forever remain the couple that never was.
Moreover, there was also an unreleased duet of “Rockin’ Years” between George Jones and Dolly recorded in 1988. However, it remained unreleased until the release of Jones’ 2008 album Burn Your Playhouse Down – The Unreleased Duets. The album features duets never before released, including some that were cut from Jones’ duets album in 1994, The Bradley Barn Sessions, and several duets with artists from outside the country music pantheon.
A Song Written by Country Queen’s Brother
Written by Floyd Parton, “Rockin’ Years,” is a song about a man and a woman who promise to love each other until their “rockin’ years.”
“I’ll be your friend, I’ll be your lover. Until the end, there’ll be no other. And my heart has only room for one. Yes, I’ll always love you. And I’ll always be here for you. And I’ll stand by you through our rockin’ years,” the song goes.
Floyd Parton was Dolly’s youngest brother. He passed away in 2018 at the age of sixty-one. After Floyd’s death, Dolly shared a message to fans from her family on social media, revealing that she and her family had sung “Rockin’ Years” at his funeral.
“Dolly, and the entire Parton Family, wish to thank everyone for their kindness,” the family said in the statement. “Yesterday, we laid our sweet baby brother to rest. We all sang his lovely song, ‘Rockin’ Years,’ together as a family at the service to say goodbye to him. He lived a short life of love and beautiful songs.”
Floyd was Dolly’s longtime songwriting partner. The siblings collaborated in writing several songs over Dolly’s decades-long career.
Listen to this inspiring performance of Ricky Van Shelton and Dolly Parton in the video below. The duet between these two country legends is absolutely heart-stopping to listen. You will feel the raw emotions in every lyric sung, proving how talented the two artists truly are.