Dolly Parton has now said that she will “accept gracefully” if she is inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame this year.
Parton had previously wished to decline her nomination, stating that she felt she “hadn’t earned that right, suggesting that she has yet to release a great rock ‘n’ roll record. The Hall opted to not remove her from the ballot, and now, Parton has come around.
In an interview with NPR’s Morning Edition to promote her new novel Run, Rose, Run—that she co-wrote with airport bookstore favorite James Patterson—and the companion album of the same name, the singer, songwriter, philanthropist (and so much more) explains her change of heart.
“It was always my belief that the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame was for people in rock music” Parton says. “I have found out lately it’s not necessarily that. But if they can’t go there to be recognized, where can they go? And so I felt like I was taking away from someone that maybe deserved it certainly more than me since I never considered myself a rock artist. But obviously, there’s more to it than that.”
The Cleveland institution has always left the definition of “rock music” open to interpretation, inducting soul singers, country twangers, and rappers—much to the chagrin of some purists (rap scares parents and teenagers love it; sounds like rock ‘n’ roll to this writer).
The roots of rock music are in the country artists and blues artists that influenced Chuck Berry and Little Richard, and with her influence on popular culture, Dolly Parton deserves to sit alongside those giants. Once you begin to debate purity, you’ve already lost, and if it’s got a good beat and you can dance to it, well that’s rock ‘n’ roll.
Voting just ended today so only time will tell if she makes it in this year. Parton is being considered alongside Eminem, Rage Against the Machine, Lionel Richie, Duran Duran, Carly Simon, A Tribe Called Quest, Kate Bush, Devo, Beck, Judas Priest, Eurythmics, Pat Benatar, Fela Kuti, MC5, New York Dolls, and Dionne Warwick.