Dolly Parton Honors Prince with “Purple Rain” From New Rock Album ‘Rockstar’

Dolly Parton‘s long-awaited rock ‘n’ roll album, Rockstar, was released today (November 17), and while the album as a whole pays tribute to many great rock songs that have inspired Parton over the years, she in particular delivers a spectacular homage to Prince with a rendition of his hit “Purple Rain.”

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It’s simultaneously heartbreaking and uplifting to think that, were he still alive, Prince may have collaborated with Parton on this tribute, as many others did on the album. But, as it stands, the powerful rendition takes on a bittersweet note because Prince is no longer with us.

Parton takes “Purple Rain” and runs with it, beginning with a lilting opening accompanied by a bit of haunting reverb. The track kicks it into high gear with wailing guitar and a chorus of singers backing up Parton’s angelic vocals. The result is nothing short of an homage to the original song and a great tribute to the artist who made it famous.

[RELATED: A Look at All the Artists Who Appear on Dolly Parton’s ‘Rockstar’]

Rockstar is a massive 30-track offering with songs like “Every Breath You Take,” featuring Sting; “Magic Man,” with Ann Wilson; “Heart of Glass,” featuring Debbie Harry; and “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me,” alongside Elton John. There are also contemporary artists featured on classic songs, like Lizzo on “Stairway to Heaven,” Chris Stapleton on “Night Moves,” and P!nk and Brandi Carlile on “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.” Additionally, Parton covered her beloved goddaughter Miley Cyrus’ 2013 song “Wrecking Ball,” which is definitely a classic in its own right.

Parton announced the album drop in a post on X, writing, “I can’t tell you how proud I am of the ‘Rockstar’ album and I can’t tell you how happy I am that it’s finally here to be released! I really had a wonderful time working with all these iconic artists on the record and all these iconic musicians. Not to mention all these great iconic songs that I think everybody will love hearing again. I just hope you enjoy my version of them!”

She spoke to Billboard about the album a few days before the release as well. “Rockstar was kind of a tongue-in-cheek title,” she said. “I thought, ‘Here I am, a rock star at my age.’ I’ve done a few covers of some of the classic great songs in a bluegrass country version and I’ve done a few rockin’ little songs, but I’d never done a full-blown rock’n’roll album. It was a challenge, but it was a great joy. I really got into it, and I was surprised that I was able to sing it.”

Dolly Parton photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images; Prince photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

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