Kevin Cronin and Dolly Parton Re-Imagine ‘Keep on Loving You’
Kevin Cronin revealed that he’s recorded a new version of REO Speedwagon's classic power ballad “Keep on Loving You,” joining Dolly Parton to reinterpret the song as a “dark duet.” For Cronin, teaming with the country legend was a chance to revisit the true intent behind “Keep on Loving You.”
“When I wrote that song, I kind of portrayed myself as more of the good guy than perhaps I was,” Cronin admitted to Yahoo, alluding to the long-held backstory that he penned the song after finding out that his first wife cheated on him before their marriage. “Perhaps it takes more than one snake in the grass, ‘all coiled up and hissing,’ to tango — if you catch my drift. That's the reality of the song, you know?”
Cronin was able to give a clearer picture of the song’s story with Parton.
“It gave me the idea that Dolly could sing the first verse, and in the first verse, I'm cheating on her,” he explained. “But then I take the second verse, and in the second verse, I go, ‘Oh, yeah? Well, I know all about those men!’ And so now, the song becomes this kind of dark duet — until it gets to the chorus, where they go, ‘I meant every word I said. When I said that I love you, I meant that I love you forever, Dolly.’ And I sing it in harmony. It just slays me, because that's how the song was meant to be performed; I just didn't realize it until Dolly called me the other day. So that's how we're doing it, and I'm just so stoked.”
Asked about the darker tone of “Keep on Loving You,” a song generally regarded as romantic, Cronin couldn’t help but chuckle. “When people tell me that they played that song at their wedding, the first thing I think of is, ‘Did you listen to the verses?’” he confessed. “I mean, that's kind of what makes the song — that the verses are pretty dark.”
The new version of “Keep on Loving You” will be included on Parton’s upcoming album Rock Star, a project the country legend decided to undertake after her induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Paul McCartney, Stevie Nicks, Steven Tyler, Elton John and John Fogerty are among the other artists who are reportedly contributing to the record.