Dolly Parton has a brand new album out tomorrow, Rockstar, and in addition to wanting to “earn” her place in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame after her induction last year, Dolly also wanted to do it for her husband, Carl Dean.
Carl is a huge fan of rock, and she thought it would be something fun that he might actually enjoy, because he’s apparently not the biggest fan of country.
And he’s also not a big fan of the limelight… which is extremely ironic, considering he’s married to one of the most iconic and famous musicians of all-time.
He famously stays out of the spotlight and ran his own asphalt paving company for years, and on a recent episode of What Would Dolly Do? Radio, Dolly recalled a pretty funny story from the first industry event they attended together many decades ago.
She explained that they went to a BMI Song of the Year event, and as soon as they got out the door after it was over, Carl was taking off his tie and told her to never ask him to go to “another one of these damn things,” and she says she never did:
“Carl has never been in the limelight and all, never wanted to be in it. He don’t like it.
He went to one thing with me early on when we first married to a BMI Song of the Year event, and he came out there taking off his tuxedo, his tie and all that and said, ‘Don’t ever ask me to go to another one of these damn things because I ain’t going.’
I never asked him and he never did.”
Clearly, he’s a very honest man, and Dolly says she never asks him anything if she doesn’t want the honest answer:
“I had done a couple of things in the past, just some rock things. He said, ‘It’s okay. It’s okay.’ He’s very honest. We have such a great relationship. I know not to ask him if I don’t want an honest answer.”
And while that may sound kind of harsh, those type of industry events can be incredibly boring and stuffy, and honestly, it’s not that hard to understand why he didn’t ever want to go back.
If Dolly was okay with that decision, I guess that’s all that matters…
She also talked about the time that he told her didn’t really love her cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven,” telling her it was more like “Stairwell to Hell.”
Like she said, the man’s honest…
“He loves the song ‘Stairway to Heaven’ by Led Zeppelin. That was his favorite group. It’s one of Carl’s favorites, if not his favorite.
Years ago, I was doing covers of some of these rock albums in a more bluegrass country way, and I told him I was doing Stairway to Heaven. He said, ‘I don’t think you need to do that,’ and I said how I was going to do it.
He said, ‘Honestly, I don’t because that’s a classic and you don’t want to mess with that stuff.’ And so, I did it anyway, and then I played it for him and he said, ‘It’s okay.’ He said, ‘Are you sure that’s Stairway to Heaven or Stairwell to Hell?'”
Although, in a way, it sounds like their refreshingly honest marriage keeps them both humble, and seeing as they’ve been married for over 57 years now, clearly something’s workin’.
Plus, I imagine someone who is as famous as Dolly has had plenty of “yes people” around her throughout her storied career, so it’s probably actually nice to know her husband is going to be real with her no matter what.
And as it turns out, Carl IS a fan of Rockstar, giving the stamp of approval by telling his wife it’s “pretty good,” which sounds like a massive compliment coming from him:
“I played him the whole album and he said, which to me was the greatest compliment in the world, he said, ‘You know, it’s pretty good.’
That would be like anybody else saying, ‘Oh, that’s best I ever heard. That’s just so fantastic.’ But for Carl to really say, ‘You know, that’s pretty good.'”
Though, I beg to differ when it comes to his (wrong) opinion on her “Stairway to Heaven” cover…