Olivia Newton-John's passing in 2022 put an end to an extraordinary career in music and film. While she is best remembered as the star of Grease, Newton-John was a four-time Grammy Award winner who recorded 15 top-ten singles. To this day, she is the only non-American-born artist to win the Country Music Association Female Vocalist of the Year award. This sparked a decades-long friendship with none other than country music icon Dolly Parton. Now, their powerful duet of “Jolene” has been released, marking the Australian singer's final recording.
The friendship dates back to the 1970s. “My first memory of Olivia was when her song ‘Let Me Be There' was a hit. I have loved her ever since,” Parton said. In 1976, Newton-John recorded a version of Parton's “Jolene” for her seventh studio album titled Come On Over. The famous song became a staple of Newton-John's live performances throughout her career, as it allowed her to showcase her amazing vocal range.
Despite the women's connection, a duet didn't take place until much later. “I have always wanted to record with Dolly,” Newton-John explained in 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.”
Newton-John's wish finally came true with the recording of “Jolene” for her last album. Titled Just The Two of Us, it features 17 tracks and will come out on May 5, 2023. “Jolene” serves as the first single of this record which also has appearances by Mariah Carey, John Travolta, and Newton-John's daughter, singer Chloe Lattanzi.
“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,” added Parton. “I cannot wait to hear that album and Olivia may you rest in peace. You left a spot that one else will ever fill.”
Michael Caprio, Newton-John’s longtime publicist, described the duet as “the perfect bookend to their decades-long friendship,” given their story together. “Knowing that Dolly was there at the start of Olivia’s U.S. Country music career and here she is, one half of a duet of Olivia’s final recording, is pretty special.”
Olivia Newton-John and Dolly Parton's powerful duet of “Jolene” has been released, marking the Australian singer's final recording. Listen to it here:
Dolly Parton: Website | Spotify | Instagram
Olivia Newton-John: Website | Spotify | YouTube
h/t: [Broadway World]
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