Dolly Parton Explains Her Hesitancy In Being Inducted Into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

Dolly Parton will officially become a member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame later this year, in spite of her earlier protests. The 76-year-old initially declined her nomination, later saying she would allow her name to be included in the potential list of nominees, after the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation announced that they would not allow her name to be withdrawn.

Known for her generosity and altruism as much as her music, Parton now says the reason she was hesitant to allow her name to be among the list of potential nominees is because of so many other artists who also rightfully deserve to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, but have not yet been included in the elite organization. In fact, it was realizing that she and Brenda Lee will be the only two female artists inducted into both the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and the Country Music Hall of Fame, which made Parton realize she was also worthy of the induction.

“I think Brenda Lee has some great songs that would be considered rock,” Parton tells Billboard. “She was such a crossover artist. I love Brenda; she was a great, great artist. She should be in there. I found out later there are more people than I knew are in there, and I found out more about what the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame really stood for. … I even have a lot of my rock ‘n’ roll friends and people that are to the point of being bitter about the fact that they’re not being nominated or in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

“So it’s like, “If they’re not able to be recognized in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, where do they go?'” she adds. “I was trying to be nice and good about not trying to take something away from somebody that had truly earned it.”

In hindsight, Parton says she should have never tried to withdraw her name in the first place, and is grateful to be included in this year’s class of artists.

“I feel honored that all the people that voted for me did,” Parton says. “And I appreciate the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame people for staying there with me. I never meant to cause trouble or stir up any controversy. It was just always my belief — and I think millions of other people out there too — [I] always thought the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame was just set up for the greatest people in the rock ‘n’ roll business, and I just didn’t feel like I really measured up to that, and I don’t want to take anything away from the people that have worked so hard.

“So I just wanted to go pull out before it got started,” she continues. “I found out later that it’s far more than that, obviously. … I’m very honored and humbled by [the induction], and so I’ll try to live up to it.”

Parton previously said if she was inducted she would do a rock album to show she was worthy of the honor, and it seems the Grand Ole Opry member is ready to make good on that word.

“I had actually thought about that before I even got nominated for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame,” she says. “I’ve always wanted to do a great rock album, and I’m going to do that. I don’t know when, but I will do one.”

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame ceremony will be held on November 5 at LA’s Microsoft Theater. It will air at a later date on HBO and stream on HBO Max.