When Dolly Parton was nominated for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in February, we rejoiced. Finally, the music legend was getting her due! But it seemed Parton herself didn’t agree. The beloved singer-songwriter pulled herself off the list of nominees.
The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s voting members, however, felt differently. Yesterday, the pool of over 1,000 artists, historians, journalists, and members of the music industry voted to include Parton in this year’s class of honorees.
Now the big question is: What will Dolly sing at the November 5 ceremony in Los Angeles?
In an exclusive interview with Billboard Magazine, Parton said she didn’t yet know if she would attend the ceremony, but that if she did she would “sing the hardest style rock ‘n’ roll song [she] could ever muster up just to show that [she] can do it.”
For context, Parton’s respectful decline of the initial nomination was because Parton didn’t see herself as a rock & roll artist “in any sense of the word.” In a March 14 statement to her 5.4 million Twitter fans, she wrote, ““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.”
Generous as ever, Parton’s chief concern was that she would split votes for this year’s class of nominees. The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inducts a class of iconic musicians every year from a ballot of nominees. This year’s nominees included rapper Eminem, crooner Lionel Richie, hit pop band Duran Duran, and singer-songwriter Carly Simon.
Parton’s inclusion marked her first appearance on the ballot, but the star felt she would be more worthy in the future, particularly after making a rock album.
“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 said. “This has, however, inspired me to put out a hopefully great rock ‘n’ roll album at some point in the future, which I have always wanted to do! My husband is a total rock ‘n’ roll freak, and has always encouraged me to do one.”
Thankfully, Parton reconsidered, which means that her legions of fans will get to see her perform a song she’s never sung in a style she rarely covers.
She confessed, in the Billboard interview, to loving The Rolling Stones and wanting to sing “Satisfaction” for a long time. “That’s one of my husband’s favorite songs,” she said joking that she might ask Mick Jagger and the band to join her on stage. Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Freebird” is another ubiquitous rock tune she teased at covering.
“People usually [say] ‘Dolly rocks’ or ‘you rock’ or ‘you’re a rock star.’ I thought they just meant that I was cool, and I took that as a great compliment. But now I’m going to have to take it literally,” she said.