‘Every year, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announces a list of music artists nominated for induction. It’s always an exciting moment for rock fans, who get to weigh in via an online vote who gets to make the hall.
And perhaps the most talked-about nominee this year was Dolly Parton, the beloved Nashville singer-songwriter, nominated for the first time after decades of success in the music industry.
But now, Dolly has pulled herself out of the race, bowing out for surprisingly humble reasons.
In a statement shared to her social media accounts, Dolly Parton wrote that she was “extremely flattered and grateful to be nominated for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame,” but was declining the nomination, saying that she had not “earned the right” to be inducted yet.
“I really do not want votes to be split because of me, so I must respectfully bow out,” Parton wrote.
Her reasoning, it seems, is that this is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and she is a country star who hasn’t done much “rocking.” Despite decades in the music industry, the 76-year-old country queen still believes she needs to prove her stripes before she can make the Rock Hall.
“I do hope that the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame will understand and be willing toc onsider me again – if I’m ever worthy,” she wrote.
But Parton says she has a plan to make herself, in her view, worth of the Hall: making a real rock ‘n’ roll album. She says it’s always been a dream of hers, and has always been encouraged by her “rock ‘n’ roll freak” husband.
“This has… inspired me to put out a hopefully great rock ‘n’roll album at some point in the future, which I have always wanted to do!”
While Parton’s argument is reasonable, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has long made room for artists whose music would not traditionally be called “rock and roll,” inducting a variety of artists who made an exceptional impact on music in their own respective genres.
Inductees include fellow country artists like Hank Williams and Johnny Cash, mega pop stars like Whitney Houston, Madonna and Janet Jackson, and pioneering rap artists like Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac Shakur.
This year was no exception: Dolly Parton’s fellow nominees include rock acts like Judas Priest, DEVO and Rage Against the Machine, along with rap artists Eminem and A Tribe Called Quest, singer-songwriters Lionel Richie and Carly Simon, and new wave bands Eurythmics and Duran Duran.
One could easily argue that Dolly Parton belongs in the Hall of Fame on her own merits as a country star. She’s one of country’s biggest crossover stars, influencing a wide range of artists. “Jolene,” her most-covered hit, has been interpreted by countless rock artists including the White Stripes.
And the Hall of Fame seems to have considered not just her array of music, but her influence as a cultural icon and feminist trailblazer.
“A living legend and a paragon of female empowerment, Parton is beloved not only for her prolific body of work, quintessential style, and philanthropic efforts, but for the humor, wit, and self-deprecating grace that shine through everything she does,” their description reads. “Her crossover success broadened the audience for country music and expanded the horizons for countless artists who followed.”
While we’d certainly agree that Dolly belongs in the Rock Hall, it’s not too surprising that the “9 to 5” singer has declined such an honor — she likes to keep it humble, turning down accolades she feels she doesn’t deserve. For instance, she twice turned down the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
And when lawmakers in her home state of Tennessee floated the idea of erecting a statue of Dolly Parton at the Capitol, she declined, telling the Tennessean that she doesn’t “think putting me on a pedestal is appropriate at this time.”
“I hope, though, that somewhere down the road several years from now or perhaps after I’m gone if you still feel I deserve it, then I’m certain I will stand proud in our great State Capitol as a grateful Tennessean.”
Parton is not the first artist to decline a nomination from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame — she joins the company of artists like Axl Rose, Ozzy Osbourne, and the Sex Pistols’ frontman Johnny Rotten — although it’s safe to say Parton’s refusal was far less hostile than Rotten’s.
While it seems like Dolly Parton won’t be joining the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame soon, she was inducted to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1999.
And certainly, Dolly Parton has plenty of awards and recognition already: she’s been nominated for 50 Grammy Awards over the course of her career, winning 11, and has sold more than 100 million records worldwide.
We’ll have to see if her new “rock and roll” album will add to her long string of successes.
While Dolly Parton deserves to be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as much as anybody, we’re glad to see she’s still keeping it humble — and she certainly doesn’t need any honors to prove how great she is.
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