Dolly Parton brings out the big guns on the latest single from her upcoming first foray into rock n’ roll. After dropping a pair of originals and two covers, the country icon unleashed a powerful version of the Beatles’ “Let It Be” on Friday morning (Aug. 18) featuring support from the two living Fab Four members, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr.
The majestic take on one of the most covered songs in the modern era opens with Parton singing over the familiar piano intro, with McCartney joining her on the second line, “Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.” The second verse expands with a distant, echoing drum pattern and soulful organ before the strings and full orchestration turn it into the familiar lush pop classic McCartney wrote near the end of the Beatles run and which gave name to the group’s final studio album release.
“Well, does it get any better than singing ‘Let It Be’ with Paul McCartney who wrote the song?,” Parton asked in a statement. “Not only that, he played piano! Well, it did get even better when Ringo Starr joined in on drums, Peter Frampton on guitar and Mick Fleetwood playing percussion. I mean, seriously, how much better does it get? Thanks guys!”
The song from Parton’s eagerly anticipated Rockstar (Nov. 17) album marks one of the rare collaborations between Starr and McCartney outside of their own projects — they got together in 2020 for Ringo’s tune “Here’s to the Nights” from his Zoom In EP as well as a year earlier when Starr popped in as a surprise guest on the final show of McCartney’s Freshen Up tour.
Parton’s 49th studio album is her first rock effort and it is slated to feature 30 tracks — 21 covers and 9 originals — packed with a galaxy of rock stars teaming up with the 77-year-old national treasure who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last year on their signature songs.
Among the rockers joining Parton are: Sting (“Every Breath You Take”), former Journey singer Steve Perry (“Open Arms”), Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart (“Magic Man”), John Fogerty (“Long as I Can See the Light”), Joan Jett (“I Hate Myself For Loving You”), goddaughter Miley Cyrus (“Wrecking Ball”), Debbie Harry (“Heart of Glass”) and Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo (“Heartbreaker”), among many others.
So far, Parton has teased the album with the originals “World on Fire” and “Bygones” (featuring Judas Priest’s Rob Halford), as well as covers of Queen’s “We Will Rock You/We Are the Champions”) and the Heart “Magic Man” cover. Other singers joining Parton on the album include Lizzo, P!nk and Brandi Carlile, Bon Jovi’s Richie Sambora, Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler, Stevie Nicks, Sheryl Crow and Emmylou Harris, Duran Duran’s Simon LeBon, Chris Stapleton and Elton John and others.
Listen to “Let it Be” below.