Dolly Parton says no to Rock & Roll Hall of Fame


Curtis Hilbun | Wikimedia Commons

Maya Alexander

Country music legend Dolly Parton made headlines for her sudden decision to withdraw herself from the nominations of this year’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame class on March 14.

In a tweeted statement, the country icon gave her thoughts on potentially entering into one of rock music’s most prestigious markers of success.

“I don’t feel that I have earned that right,” she declared.

This announcement reflects a larger, ongoing debate about what musical performances should be considered “rock” enough to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Since its inception, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame has faced the scorn of many musicians and fans who reside on the outskirts of what the Rock Hall committee constitutes as worthy of a nomination.

This year’s roster of musicians included 17 acts, with only 5 to 7 of those eligible for induction. Alongside Parton stood music icons such as Rage Against the Machine, New York Dolls and Pat Benatar. Although the inductees are decided amongst a nearly 1,000=member committee, fans of the artists are encouraged to participate in a “Fan Vote,” which helps contribute to final selections.

Parton’s decision to remove herself from the running is significant considering she currently stands at 4th place in the fan vote category with 305,839 votes. Her concerns over votes being “split” because of her nomination is an attempt to help underdog acts gain further recognition.

In response to Parton’s announcement, the Rock Hall of Fame released a statement rejecting the musician’s request for removal, as they believe the criteria for induction should be left for the voters to decide.

“From its inception, Rock and Roll has had deep roots in Rhythm & Blues and Country music. It is not defined by any one genre, rather a sound that moves youth culture,” the statement read. “Dolly Parton’s music impacted a generation of young fans and influenced countless artists that followed. Her nomination to be considered for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame followed the same process as all other artists who have been considered.”

Although her wish had not been granted, Parton’s actions have not gone unnoticed by fellow nominees. Richie Faulkner, guitarist for Judas Priest who is also nominated, said that Parton’s decision was “a classy move.”

“I think she recognizes her brand, and it didn’t necessarily fit into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. And I think it raises questions to what the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s brand is as well,” he said.

Parton joins a varied list of other musical acts who have rejected their nomination into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Ozzy Osbourne, lead singer of rock band Black Sabbath, initially rejected the nomination when the group first became eligible in 1999. Later when the group was inducted in 2006, Osbourne attended the ceremony and apologized for his earlier comments.

With Parton’s nomination still secure, only time will tell if the country legend makes the cut. Inductions for 2022 will be announced in May.