HomeEntertainmentMusicCountry MusicDolly Parton Recorded ‘Jolene’ Duet With Olivia Newton-John Before ‘Grease’ Star’s Death

Dolly Parton Recorded ‘Jolene’ Duet With Olivia Newton-John Before ‘Grease’ Star’s Death

by Craig Garrett
Olivia Newton-John
(Photo by Ross Gilmore/Redferns)

On Friday, listeners were graced with a newly-envisioned rendition of Dolly Parton’s classic “Jolene,” featuring Olivia Newton-John. This collaboration not only showcases their incredible vocal talents but also gives an intimate glimpse into the friendship between the two stars.

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Olivia Newton-John and the country music icon have been friends since 1974 when the Grease star became the first non-American artist to win the Country Music Association’s Female Vocalist of the Year award for her song “If You Love Me (Let Me Know)”. Since that time, the bond between Newton-John and Parton has remained strong.

Before she passed away, Newton-John stated that Parton was the perfect choice for her duet and expressed excitement about its impending release in a press release shared this week. “What she did for me early on in my career in Nashville is something I will never forget,” she said. Meanwhile, Dolly had kind words for the late singer and actress. “I loved every moment that I ever got to spend with her,” Parton recalled. “I’ve always been inspired by her grit, tenderness, willingness, and determination.” Footage from the recording session was released on YouTube.

The iconic singer recounted her last encounter with Newton-John as they collaborated on the recording. “I cannot wait to hear that album and Olivia may you rest in peace,” Parton said. “You left a spot that [no] one else will ever fill.”

The Dolly Parton duet is remembered fondly by Newton-John’s husband, John Easterling

Newton-John’s husband, John Easterling, recently opened up about the track on the Today Show. “It’s a gorgeous duet,” Easterling told host Hoda Kotb. “Dolly’s a wonderful person, was a good friend of Olivia.”

When Newton-John and Parton joined their voices together, Easterling recognized the unique sound they created that shines a light on his late partner’s remarkable vocal abilities.

“I think it expresses part of who she was,” he said. “She, as I do, (felt) like everyone has a very unique and special gift. I mean, for her it was her voice. She knew that. That was a gift. She understood it was a gift, and she gave that very generously.”

After a courageous battle with breast cancer for more than two decades, Olivia Newton-John passed away in August 2022 at the age of 73. Her initial diagnosis occurred in the 90s and she went into remission before it returned yet again in 2013. However, in 2018 it spread to her spine.

Featuring an array of talented artists, Just the Two of Us: The Duets Collection will include a duet with Parton alongside Mariah Carey, Michael McDonald, John Travolta, Barry Gibb, Vanessa Amorosi, and Jon Secada. Olivia Newton-John’s daughter Chloe Lattanzi also joins for a track. The album is set to drop on May 5, 2023.