Dolly Parton voted into Rock Hall alongside Eminem and Lionel Richie
By Joe Coscarelli
Despite a last-minute plea to “respectfully bow out” of contention for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, country singer Dolly Parton made it in anyway, joining a musically diverse array of inductees for 2022 that also includes Eminem, Lionel Richie, Carly Simon, Eurythmics, Duran Duran and Pat Benatar.
The honorees — voted on by more than 1,000 artists, historians and music industry professionals — “each had a profound impact on the sound of youth culture and helped change the course of rock ’n’ roll,” John Sykes, chairman of the Rock Hall, said in a statement.
Parton, 76, had said in March that she was “extremely flattered and grateful to be nominated” but did not feel that she had “earned that right” to be recognized as a rock artist at the expense of others. Ballots, however, had already been sent to voters, and the hall said they would remain unchanged, noting that the organization was “not defined by any one genre” and had deep roots in country and rhythm and blues.
In an interview with NPR last week, Parton said she would accept her induction after all, should it come to pass.
“It was always my belief that the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame was for the people in rock music, and I have found out lately that it’s not necessarily that,” she said.
But she added, “if they can’t go there to be recognized, where do they go? So I just felt like I would be taking away from someone that maybe deserved it, certainly more than me, because I never considered myself a rock artist.”
Following years of criticism regarding diversity — less than 8% of inductees were women as of 2019 — the Rock Hall has made a point in recent years to expand its purview. Artists like Jay-Z, Whitney Houston and Janet Jackson have been welcomed in from the worlds of rap, R&B and pop, alongside prominent women across genres like the Go-Go’s, Carole King and Tina Turner.
This year, Eminem becomes just the 10th hip-hop act to be inducted, making the cut on his first ballot. (Artists become eligible for induction 25 years after the release of their first commercial recording.)
Parton, Richie, Simon and Duran Duran were also selected on their first go-round, while fresh nominees like Beck and A Tribe Called Quest, who had been eligible for more than a decade, were passed over. Simon, known for her folk-inflected pop hits like “You’re So Vain,” was a first-time nominee more than 25 years after she qualified. Benatar and Eurythmics, long eligible, had each been considered once before.
Those passed over this year also included Kate Bush, Devo, Fela Kuti, MC5, New York Dolls, Rage Against the Machine and Dionne Warwick.
Judas Priest was on the ballot, but will instead be inducted in the nonperformer category for musical excellence, alongside songwriting and production duo Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis. Harry Belafonte and Elizabeth Cotten will be recognized with the Early Influence Award, while executives Allen Grubman, Jimmy Iovine and Sylvia Robinson are set to receive the Ahmet Ertegun Award, named for the longtime Atlantic Records honcho and one of the founders of the Rock Hall.
The 37th annual induction ceremony will be held Nov. 5 at Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, and will air at a later date on HBO and SiriusXM.