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Dolly Parton Duets: The Icon’s Top 10 Collaborations

Dolly Parton
Alberto E. Rodriguez, Getty Images

Happy birthday, Dolly Parton! The singer-songwriter-author-actress-philanthropist, who has churned out more than eighty albums and over 100 singles, turns 66 today (January 19). In an unparalleled career that has spanned over 45 years, the Country Music Hall of Fame member has sung with some of the most iconic artists of the past several decades, both on her many records and as a guest vocalist for other singers. So, in honor of her big day, The Boot is counting down our pick for the Top 10 Dolly duets of all time.

10. ‘When You Tell Me That You Love Me’ | Julio Iglesias

This song was first recorded by Diana Ross in 1991, but it’s Julio’s version with the country legend, which was included on his 1994 album, ‘Crazy,’ that proved most memorable. The sweeping, dramatic ballad is also included on Dolly’s 2008 four-CD set, ‘The Tour Collection,’ released in the UK.

Listen to ‘When You Tell Me That You Love Me‘ | Download It

9. ‘He’s Everything,’ with Queen Latifah (from ‘Joyful Noise‘ soundtrack)

Dolly and Queen Latifah teamed up both on the silver screen and in the studio for 2012′s ‘Joyful Noise,’ each contributing several songs to the soundtrack, as well. But it’s their joint contribution on this song that stands out the most. Citing all the places they can find God, like “when the children play” and “when the church bells ring on wedding days,” the seasoned vocalists’ delivery of this tune make us think they were born to make music together.

Watch Dolly & Queen Latifah Sing ‘He’s Everything’ Live

Listen to ‘He’s Everything‘ | Download It

8. Rockin’ Years,’ with Ricky Van Shelton

Promising enduring love through all the phases of their sweet life together, from “rockin’ chairs” to “rockin’ babies,” this gently rockin’ tune helped both stars earn platinum status for their respective 1991 albums, Dolly’s ‘Eagle When She Flies’ and Ricky’s ‘Backroads.’ The No. 1 smash (Dolly’s 23rd and Ricky’s eighth) was penned by Dolly’s brother, Floyd.

Listen to ‘Rockin’ Years‘ | Download It

7. ‘Everything’s Beautiful (In Its Own Way),’ with Willie Nelson

This Dolly-penned track (not to be confused with the Ray Stevens hit) was included on 1982′s ‘The Winning Hand,’ featuring several unreleased Monument Records tracks cut by Dolly, Willie, Kris Kristofferson and Brenda Lee during their time at the legendary label. Offering something of a glimpse into her humble upbringing in a one-room cabin in east Tennessee, Dolly sweetly sings, “I can’t help but ponder, life is such a wonder / And everything’s beautiful in its own way.” Beautiful indeed.

Listen to ‘Everything’s Beautiful (in Its Own Way)’ | Download It

6. ‘Creepin’ In,’ with Norah Jones

Norah included this on her sophomore CD, ‘Feels Like Home,’ which was a smart decision for the young songbird. The album went on to sell more than five million copies, with this tune earning her a Grammy nomination for Best Country Collaboration with Vocals. The simple lyrics, like “Creep on in, creep on in / And once it has begun / Won’t stop until its done / Sneaking in,” the acoustic vibe could cause us to imagine they were singing on a back porch in the country instead of a studio or stage.

Listen to ‘Creepin’ In‘ | Download It

5. ‘From Here to the Moon and Back,’ with Kris Kristofferson (from ‘Joyful Noise‘ soundtrack)

As gorgeous as the Dolly/Latifah duet from ‘Joyful Noise’ is, this one is likely to stay with you even longer — and that’s its powerful message. It’s an ethereal love letter between Dolly and Kris, who play a married couple in the film. The message is a simple but powerful one: Time, distance and life’s challenges may interfere, but they do little to change the deep love between them.

Listen to ‘From ‘Here to the Moon and Back’
| Download It

4. ‘When I Get Where I’m Going,’ with Brad Paisley

Imagining the afterlife, Brad sings, “When I get where I’m going / There’ll be only happy tears / I will shed the sins and struggles / I have carried all these years.” But it’s Dolly’s otherworldly voice that can still stop us in our tracks. The second single from Brad’s 2005 album, ‘Time Well Wasted,’ this was fittingly a success on both the country and Contemporary Christian charts.

Listen to ‘When I Get Where I’m Going‘ | Download It

3. ‘Just Someone I Used to Know,’ with Porter Wagoner

Penned by Jack Clement, this was just one of the many duets Dolly recorded with her mentor and close friend, Porter Wagoner. First featured on the 1970 album, ‘Porter Wayne and Dolly Rebecca,’ the song laments, “When they ask who’s in the picture, I say, ‘Just someone I used to know’,” and could be seen as something of a premonition. Although Dolly and Porter acrimoniously parted ways in 1974, the pair made peace with each other before Porter passed away in 2007. Dolly visited him at his bedside on the day he died.

Watch Dolly & Porter Sing ‘Just Someone I Used to Know’

Listen to ‘Just Someone I Used to Know‘ | Download It

2. ‘I Will Always Love You,’ with Vince Gill

Before she left his TV and stage show for a hugely successful solo career, Dolly wrote the now-world-renowned hit — and one of her signature songs — for Porter Wagoner to express her deep admiration for his role in her life and career. She has since rerecorded it several times and includes it on nearly every career-spanning compilation (we hear Whitney Houston even recorded a rather successful pop version), but we’re most captivated by the rendition Dolly and Vince did in 1995, which earned the pair a CMA Award for Musical Event of the Year.

Listen to ‘I Will Always Love You‘ | Download It

1. ‘Islands in the Stream,’ with Kenny Rogers

The Bee Gees penned it but Dolly and Kenny elevated it to classic status, earning a No. 1 record on the pop, country and adult contemporary charts in the US and sailing away to the upper reaches of the charts in several other countries, as well. Recorded for Kenny’s ‘Eyes That See in the Dark’ album in 1983, the song says “you do something to me that I can’t explain.” Yet it’s easy to understand the universal appeal of the bouncy platinum-selling tune, which also topped CMT’s list of the Best Country Duets of All Time.

Listen to ‘Islands in the Stream‘ |Download It

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