Two entertainment icons, Dolly Parton and Olivia Newton-John, come together for the first time to reimagine Dolly’s timeless hit “Jolene.” The original version of the song was ranked No. 63 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of “the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time” in 2021.
This new version is the last song and music video Olivia recorded before her passing in 2022 and is included on her upcoming album Just the Two of Us: The Duets Collection. Video edited by Andrew Seger, produced by Green Hill, both the song and video are out today.
Dolly and Olivia became friends after Olivia won 1974’s Country Music Association Female Vocalist of the Year award. To this day, Olivia is the only non-American born artist to win the award. As a nod to their friendship, Olivia recorded an acclaimed version of Parton’s “Jolene” for her 1976 seventh studio album Come On Over which received critical praise from fans and industry alike.
“My first memory of Olivia was when her song ‘Let Me Be There’ was a hit. I have loved her ever since,” said Parton. “We had many occasions that we got to share together, either backstage or performing on the same shows, and I loved every moment that I ever got to spend with her. I’ve always been inspired by her grit, tenderness, willingness, and determination.”
The icon continues, “My last memory of Olivia was when I sang with her on my song ‘Jolene’ which she recorded for an album not so very long ago. I cannot wait to hear that album and Olivia may you rest in peace. You left a spot that one else will ever fill.”
“I have always wanted to record with Dolly,” said the late Newton-John during an interview in 2021. “She was always there for me and what she did for me early on in my career in Nashville is something I will never forget.”
“This duet seems like the perfect bookend to their decades-long friendship,” says Michael Caprio, Newton-John’s longtime publicist and friend of nearly 25 years. “Knowing that Dolly was there at the start of Olivia’s US Country music career and here she is, one half of a duet of Olivia’s final recording, is pretty special.”
“Jolene” introduces Just The Two of Us, a 17-track duets album releasing May 5, 2023 (on both vinyl and CD) featuring Newton-John with artists including Mariah Carey, Michael McDonald, John Travolta, Barry Gibb, Vanessa Amorossi, Jon Secada, her daughter Chloe Lattanzi, and more, with some never-before-released on CD and vinyl recordings.
Four-time Grammy winner Newton-John will be remembered in a global memorial service in Melbourne, Australia on February 26, 2023, and will be live-streamed globally. More information on tune-in and special guests, to follow.