A Perfect Pair
Dolly Parton and Miley Cyrus' "Wrecking Ball" duet will be on Parton's 'Rock Star' album.

Dolly Parton & Miley Cyrus Recorded A “Wrecking Ball” Mashup You’ll Love

Is this even legal???

by Collette Reitz
Originally Published: 
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Ever since they hosted the best New Year’s Eve bash to ring in 2023, Miley Cyrus and Dolly Parton have become the musical pair of fans’ dreams. From “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” to “Jolene,” the superstar duo delivered some ah-mazing performances. But their most unforgettable production of the night was Parton and Cyrus’ iconic mashup of “Wrecking Ball”/“I Will Always Love You” — which they also recorded a version of for Parton’s upcoming album, the country star reveals to Elite Daily. “I just love singing with Miley. I think she is such a great, great artist, and I really appreciate any time I get to work with her,” Parton says.

The “Flowers” singer has made working with her godmother a regular occurrence, dating back to Parton’s September 2006 guest spot on Hannah Montana. “There’s a theory that you shouldn’t meet your heroes, but I wish everyone had the chance to meet Dolly Parton, because she’s even better than your sparkliest dreams,” Cyrus said in her September 2021 Time 100 profile of Parton. “She may be my fairy godmother, but I think she’s that to everyone else too. I am happy to share her with the world.”

Cyrus and Parton will both share new music with the world in 2023 (!), and Miley kicked it off with her Jan. 13 drop of “Flowers,” a breakup anthem thought to be about her ex-husband, Liam Hemsworth. “I don’t know where that one came from, but I know it had something to do with something she had [on her] mind,” Parton says. The 12-time Grammy winner thinks Cyrus “did an incredible job” on the “Flowers” song and music video, especially the lyrics. “Those lines that are in that song: ‘I can buy myself flowers,’ ‘I can hold my own hand,’ ‘Write my name in the sand’... It’s like, ‘I don’t need you. I can do it without you if that’s how it’s going to be,’” she says.

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The former Hannah Montana star continually impresses her godmother. “[Miley] chooses all these great songs, and she writes a big part of ’em — and if she doesn’t write ’em, she inspires ’em,” says Parton. “I’m so proud of how she’s doing her music these days.”

That pride has turned into a penchant for singing duets with Cyrus, whom she thinks of as a professional peer. Anyone who tuned into the NYE special (or re-watched their performances repeatedly on YouTube) will be excited to hear there’s a very familiar song on Parton’s upcoming album. “I did ‘Wrecking Ball’ on my album called Rock Star, and it’s going to be released in midsummer, early fall,” Parton says. “I love that song, and I love hearing Miley singing it,” she adds. Cyrus joined Parton on the track, and the superstars worked “I Will Always Love You” into the arrangement, recreating the magic from their Dec. 31 mashup.

With 5 million views on YouTube as of Jan. 18, it’s obvious fans are very much here for the pair’s “Wrecking Ball” x “I Will Always Love You” performance. “We really did a good job on it,” Parton says of Cyrus’ OG breakup song. “It’s got that power.”

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“Wrecking Ball” famously became a breakup song about Cyrus and Hemsworth’s relationship. She released the song while they were reportedly still together in August 2013, but they publicly split the next month. Cyrus detailed in an October 2013 Ellen interview how recording her album Bangerz sort of predicted that outcome. I think I knew more intuitively where my life was going than I actually thought I did,” she said at the time.

Parton can relate to sharing even the most personal details in her own music. “I get inspired by other people’s troubles and heartaches in addition to my own,” she says. “There’s nothing wrong with that. You’re speaking to the whole public.” The country superstar thinks it’s those heart-wrenching moments that lead to some of the most powerful work. “If it’s something you’ve experienced, like Miley and ‘Wrecking Ball,’ that’s where you get that grit,” Parton shares. “It goes to the core, directly like a dagger through the heart.”

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