The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame will always love Dolly Parton.
Earlier this week, the 76-year-old country singer announced that she “must respectfully bow out” of the nominees for induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in an Instagram post, but the institution has refused to take the “Jolene” singer off the 2022 ballot.
“We are in awe of Dolly’s brilliant talent and pioneering spirit and are proud to have nominated her for induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame,” the RRHOF Foundation said in a statement released on Thursday.
Part of the issue is that Parton’s name was already included in ballots that were sent out before her withdrawal and she is currently fourth in the official fan vote — behind Duran Duran, Eminem and Pat Benatar. So with voting well underway, it complicated matters for Parton to simply bow out on Monday, despite her believing that she had not “earned that right.”
“Dolly’s recommendation, along with the other 16 nominees for the class of 2022 was sent out earlier this month to our 1,200 general ballot voters, the majority of whom are artists themselves, for consideration for induction at our ceremony,” the foundation said.
Still, RRHOF applauded Parton for making such a magnanimous move.
“All of us in the music community have seen Dolly Parton’s thoughtful note expressing her feeling that she has not earned the right to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame,” the statement said. “In addition to her incredible talent as an artist, her humility is another reason Dolly is a beloved icon by millions of fans around the world.”
In addition to Parton, Duran Duran, Eminem and Benatar, other nominees include Lionel Richie, A Tribe Called Quest, Rage Against the Machine, Dionne Warwick, Carly Simon, Judas Priest, Beck, Kate Bush, Devo, the Eurythmics, Fela Kuti, MC5 and the New York Dolls.
“I really don’t want votes to be split because of me,” said Parton about vying against other artists who she considers more “rock ’n’ roll” — a genre she now wants to explore.
Judas Priest guitarist Richie Faulkner, for one, appreciated the gracious gesture. “I think it was a classy move, really,” he told the podcast “Rock of Nations With Dave Kinchen.” “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.”
Still, Parton wouldn’t be the first country artist to make it into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Johnny Cash, Chet Atkins and Hank Williams have all been inducted, as have country-leaning acts such as Brenda Lee.
“From its inception, rock ’n’ roll has had deep roots in rhythm & blues and country music,” said the statement. “It is not defined by any one genre, rather a sound that moves youth culture.”
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