Dolly Parton Declining Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Honors Is Shades of 1996 Garth Brooks

by Lauren Boisvert

Dolly Parton recently withdrew from her Rock & Roll Hall of Fame nomination, and it reminds us a lot of another moment when Garth Brooks declined a music industry honor.

On her withdrawal, Parton shared on social media, “Even though I’m extremely flattered and grateful to be nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, I don’t feel that I have earned that right. I really do not want votes split because of me, so I must respectfully bow out.”

But, let’s talk about Garth Brooks in 1996. At the American Music Awards, Garth Brooks declined the award for artist of the year.

“I cannot agree with this [award],” Brooks announced on stage. “Without any disrespect for the American Music Awards and without any disrespect for the people who voted, for all the people who should be honored I’m gonna leave it right here.”

He based his decision on the fact that he thought he hadn’t had that good of a year. “It wasn’t fair for me to walk away with that award,” said Brooks. “Maybe a year or two ago when we had a really good year. But I’ve been around [the country] talking to retailers…and every one of them credits Hootie [& the Blowfish] for keeping them alive in 1995 and I couldn’t agree more. So I thought that’s who shoulda won.”

Hootie & the Blowfish’s debut album sold 7,020,000 copies, making it the best-selling album of 1995, according to Billboard. In comparison, that year, Garth Brooks’ greatest hits album only sold 3,786,000 copies. You know what, I think Garth Brooks was onto something there.

Why Dolly Parton Withdrew from Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Nomination

This would have been legendary for Dolly Parton; if she was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, it would make her only the second woman to be inducted into both the Rock & Roll and the Country Music Hall of Fame. The first was Brenda Lee, inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1997, then Rock & Roll in 2002.

But, Dolly Parton sticks to her guns; this time her guns are that she doesn’t feel she’s earned the right to be in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. And there are a lot of critics who agree with her. But, although she doesn’t believe she’s worthy now, she hopes to be considered again in the future.

She wrote on social media, “I do hope that the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame will understand and be willing to consider me again – if I’m ever worthy.” She touched on the idea of creating a rock & roll album, writing, “My husband is a total rock’n’roll freak, and has always encouraged me to do one. I wish all of the nominees good luck and thank you again for the compliment. Good luck.”