Dolly Parton Speaks Out About ‘Controversy’ Over Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction

by Chris Haney
(Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for SXSW)

In a recent interview, country music legend Dolly Parton spoke about changing her mind when it came to her Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction. After receiving a nomination, Parton declined the honor citing she didn’t feel right getting inducted into a rock and roll-based hall of fame. However, she eventually changed her tune and accepted the induction.

The back and forth created a bit of controversy in recent months. While flattered by her inclusion on the list of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame candidates, Dolly Parton “respectfully ” bowed out of the nomination on March 14. She felt like she hadn’t earned the right to be included and didn’t want to take away votes from other artists. Yet ballots had already been mailed and the Rock Hall said she would remain on it.

On April 29, Parton revealed that she would “accept gracefully” if fans voted her in. A week later on May 4, the Rock Hall announced she made the Class of 2022, along with Pat Benatar, Duran Duran, Eminem, Eurythmics, Lionel Richie, and Carly Simon. Recently, Dolly Parton sat down and spoke with Billboard about her induction and the surrounding controversy. But she made it clear she is “honored” fans voted for her and that she didn’t mean to create any controversy over the matter.

“I feel honored that all the people that voted for me did,” Dolly Parton said to Billboard. “And I appreciate the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame people for staying there with me. I never meant to cause trouble or stir up any controversy.”

Dolly Parton Wants to ‘Live Up’ to Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction

It’s an absolute rarity that the universally beloved Dolly Parton is involved in any kind of controversial situations. Her back and forth with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is obviously on the lower end of controversies. Yet you can tell Parton wanted to clear the air and make sure people knew she appreciated the honor.

The “Jolene” singer simply didn’t feel like she “measured up” to musicians in the Rock Hall within that genre. As the weeks went by though, she became educated on the rock institution and realized there’s more to it. That’s why she has since changed her mind and says she is “honored and humbled” to be inducted.

“It was just always my belief — and I think millions of other people out there too — always thought the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was just set up for the greatest people in the rock ‘n’ roll business. And I just didn’t feel like I really measured up to that and I don’t want to take anything away from the people that have worked so hard. So I just wanted to go pull out before it got started good. I found out later that it’s far more than that, obviously. … I’m very honored and humbled by [the induction], and so I’ll try to live up to it,” Dolly Parton explained to the outlet.

The Country Icon Intends to Record a Rock Album as Promised

Even before her Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nomination, Dolly Parton says she wanted to record a rock album. Her husband, Carl Dean, loves rock music and has even encouraged her to create a rock-based album. Therefore the idea of creating one isn’t new. In fact, she fully intends to move forward with it in the future.

“I had actually thought about that before I even got nominated for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. I’ve always wanted to do a great rock album, and I’m going to do that. I don’t know when, but I will do one,” she confirmed.

Parton said she doesn’t know if she’ll attend the November 5 induction ceremony in Los Angeles. The country musician also added that she hasn’t thought about who she’d want to induct her. But if she does attend, Parton sounds like she has a chip on her shoulder. Parton wants to sing the “hardest” rock song she can to prove she belongs in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

“I don’t know,” Parton said of attending the event. “If I do, I’m going to sing the hardest style rock ‘n’ roll song I could ever muster up. Just to show that I can do it.”