Rock & Roll Hall of Fame should respect Dolly’s wishes

Membership in a hall of fame should not be compulsory with a process continued despite the clearly stated wishes of the honoree



March 23, 2022 - 2:34 PM

Like all cultural institutions, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame has been under pressure to diversify its honorees, given the preponderance of old white guy rockers on its roster. So it turned to one of the few American figures left who is beloved by both red- and blue-state America: Dolly Parton.

Thus the 76-year-old singer-songwriter-actress-humanitarian, the pride of Sevier County, Tennessee, and the business-savvy icon of the Dollywood theme park, found herself on the ballot for membership, even though she is, of course, known as a country music singer. That genre has its own Nashville-based Hall of Fame, which elected Parton to membership in 1999.

Parton did not care for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame plan, respectfully declining the nomination on the grounds that she had never made what she considered to be a rock ’n’ roll album. “Even though I am extremely flattered and grateful to be nominated for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, I don’t feel that I have earned that right,” she wrote. “So I must respectfully bow out.”

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