Why Mick Jagger turned down Dolly Parton

The world wouldn’t know what hit it if Dolly Parton and Mick Jagger collaborated. Although they might inhabit different spheres, they are two of the most distinctive and important figures music has ever known, with both going a great way to impact the trajectory of popular culture.

A country and pop legend, Parton was an exemplary force for women in music when misogyny was still rampant, railing against the patriarchal configuration of society with dignity, humour and panache. However, due to her upbringing in rural Tennessee, Parton also had to face much socio-economic bigotry, even from women.

In 1977, she delivered a masterclass of an interview in which she highlighted the various obstacles in her way and classily asserted that they weren’t going to stop her. Parton clarified that she knew exactly what she was doing in show business, calling the industry a “money-making joke” but that she “always liked telling jokes”. An absolute genius; those who dislike country music would have to be pretty heartless not to have the utmost respect for Parton.

As for Mick Jagger, he’s the frontman of rock ‘n’ roll’s most swaggering dynasty, The Rolling Stones. Forming an emphatic songwriting partnership with their guitarist Keith Richards, he has composed an extensive list of hits and tried his hand at many genres successfully. A survivor of the classic rock period that is still going strong, with the British band’s recent album, Hackney Diamonds, being a return to form, Jagger resoundingly showed he’s still got it despite being 80. His life serves as a handbook for budding musicians of what to do and what not to do.

At present, Dolly Parton is gearing up to release her 49th solo studio album, Rockstar, which arrives on November 17th. Featuring mostly covers of songs from across rock’s timeline, it is a collaborative project that marks her first foray into the genre and features a host of prominent faces. Comprised of 30 tracks, she even covers The Beatles’ ‘Let It Be’ with the band’s surviving members, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr.

Given that the country star has tried her hand at a variety of rock songs with legends on Rockstar, it made sense that she try and get Mick Jagger to sign on. The Rolling Stones staple ‘(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction’ is reworked on the album, featuring Pink and Brandi Carlile. However, things could have been much different and featured the man who sang the original, yet he declined her offer.

In a 2023 interview with the Daily Mail, Parton explained that Jagger didn’t want to record his 1965 hit with her and wanted to do something “different” and more modern. “I wanted Mick Jagger so bad, because my husband loves him, and I wanted him to sing on ‘(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction’, but he wanted something new and different, which I don’t blame him for,” she said. “We kept looking for the right song. He was doing an album in LA, and I was doing stuff in Nashville, and I kept missing him, but he wanted to do it.”

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