Put Rock Artists in Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Before Dolly Parton
The nominations for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame were announced last month, and leading the pack and making the biggest splash was not a name from the rock world, but a country one in the form of Country Music Hall of Famer Dolly Parton. Dolly landing on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ballot was no accident. Beginning in 2020 with a big push from Billboard, NPR, and other places, especially on social media, the idea that not only Dolly made for a good candidate for the Rock Hall, but that it was somehow an oversight that she was not being considered previously, took root and has now grown legs.
Dolly Parton will be one of the 2022 inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. She’s just too big of a name to be disregarded. And in doing so, her name will suffocate out other more rock, and more worthy women for the distinction, including some of her fellow nominees from this year, namely Pat Benetar, Kate Bush, Carly Simon, Dionne Warwick, and the Eurythmics, not to mention women who were not nominated, such as Cyndi Lauper.
And though you might think a website called “Saving Country Music” would celebrate this development and advocate for a Dolly Parton Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction—and unquestionably Dolly Parton’s accomplishments make her a Queen of music whose influence and popularity span well beyond the country genre—this feels like a situation where a little Devil’s Advocacy is called for.
Granted, it’s not unprecedented that a country performer would end up enshrined in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Hank Williams and Jimmie Rodgers are there, but both were bluesmen who were inducted as “early influence” artists, and deservedly so. Johnny Cash is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame too. But seeing how Cash’s career started during the Sun Studios era right beside Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis—and he was considered just as much rockabilly as country by many early in his career, not to mention Cash’s late career resurgence that happened just as much through rock channels as country—Cash was an easy pick for the Rock Hall too.
And it’s not that the women of country have been excluded from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame entirely. Wanda Jackson is a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, and is known just as much from her long career in country and rockabilly just as much as rock and roll. Brenda Lee is also in the Rock Hall, along with the Country Music Hall of Fame. These would be the kind of performers who crossed genres that country fans should root for being in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
And it’s not that there aren’t some rock and rollers in the Country Music Hall of Fame. Elvis is in there, as are The Everly Brothers. But again, these are artists whose careers cut right across the influences of country, rock, and gospel, and put enough effort and influence into both to attain the dual induction.
And it’s not even that there isn’t a scenario where Dolly Parton couldn’t or shouldn’t be placed in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in the future. But that should be a future where the amount of rock and roll talent to induct is so tapped, you’re just looking for worthy names to put forward. That is certainly not the scenario we find ourselves in right now. As long as artists like Pat Benetar, Carly Simon, and Cyndi Lauper whose influence on rock was clear and present are they’re still waiting their turn—let alone male acts like Jethro Tull, Warren Zevon, Steppenwolf, Jim Croce, or even ones with country ties like Gram Parsons are still waiting—we shouldn’t even be talking about Dolly Parton or any country artists getting in.
The line to get into these Halls of Fame is single file, even when it comes to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which feels extremely more open with the five to seven inductees each year, compared to the Country Hall’s three per year. As a country music fan, I don’t want country artists overshadowing or cutting in line in front of important rock and roll talent for that distinction. Rock fans and performers are our brothers and sisters, and we should respect their space and institutions instead of trying to impinge on them for our own purposes, or act like they’re being insulting or not inclusive by not letting someone like Dolly Parton or any other patently country performer in.
And yes, I get that Dolly Parton had her period of pop, which is probably one of the only slight qualifying points of why you could see Parton deserving a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction, especially after they’ve put in performers like Madonna and Whitney Houston. But as country fans and advocates, let’s be more respectful of rock’s institutions. There is no big, established pop or hip-hop Hall of Fame like country has. We have our strong and vibrant institutions, and just as much as we wouldn’t want outside voices assuaging us to let pop or rock artists in under the misguided notions of inclusiveness, we shouldn’t use our voices to act like we are being excluded if country’s superstars don’t make it in among the rockers either.
And this brings up the next concern for saying that Dolly Parton or other country artists (women or otherwise) should be considered for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, or even worse, that it’s an offense they aren’t already in there. As Billboard said in their opinion of why Dolly should be in, “The lack of Rock Hall attention given to Dolly Parton has been extended to any number of the great ladies of country—Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, Emmylou Harris—and a number of the men, too.”
See, that’s when you start traveling down a slippery slope. If Dolly gets in, then how can you justify Willie Nelson not being in? His music was much more closer to rock in the 70’s. Or how about Merle Haggard, since he so heavily influenced the California rockers of the 60’s and 70’s? And speaking of that, why not Buck Owens who built one of the important foundations for country rock and was covered by The Beatles? And if we’re measuring the overall cultural impact of a performer, you would have to put Garth Brooks in. He’s sold more music than even Elvis. And if you really want to talk about what defines rock, a lot of modern country artists fit the profile exactly. Jason Aldean and Eric Church are much more rockers than country artists. Do we put them in when they’re eligible in a few years?
Now you see how out-of-hand this thing can get, and very quickly, where you could have country stars outright dominating future Hall of Fame classes. This is what happened when the Rock Hall started putting in people that had no business being in there previously, like pop and hip-hop stars. How could you have Madonna in there and not Whitney Houston? How did you induct Tupac and leave out Notorious B.I.G.? Then you have to induct these artists to calm your critics, and meanwhile incredibly important rock artists are left on the outside looking into an institution they should have been inducted into years ago. Attempting to be “inclusive” commonly comes with the exclusion of others, and sometimes the more qualified. Country artists should not be a party to those offenses, especially since they have their own strong and vibrant Hall of Fame to seek induction into.
Dolly Parton is country, and whether the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame recognizes her or not, her legacy is cemented in American and world culture for eternity. She is one of the most recognized and beloved public personalities worldwide, and though an induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame would be nice, it would do little to materially benefit her legacy. Meanwhile the careers of Pat Benetar or Carly Simon could significantly benefit from the retrospective a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction would include.
It’s fun to discuss how these decisions should and shouldn’t go, and of course everyone’s opinion varies. And we should all make sure the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and all these music institutions judge artists based off of their merit, while also making sure any and all vestiges of sexism or racism are torn down to make sure they don’t impinge anyone’s chances.
But in this case, putting Dolly Parton or other country women into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame wouldn’t be beneficial to women or country. It would be exclusionary to the women and men of rock, who deserve that distinction more than country artists do.
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Editor’s Note: Portions of this article previously appeared in 2020’s “No, Don’t Put Dolly Parton in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (Yet)“
March 2, 2022 @ 12:26 pm
Fair is foul and foul is fair in today’s messed up world.
Dolly is a legend but she has no business being inducted in the Rock and Roll HOF. Just like how rock legends have no business being inducted into the Country Music HOF.
This isn’t hard.
March 2, 2022 @ 3:41 pm
Dolly has written more songs across all genre of music than anyone. Show belongs more that most men.
March 2, 2022 @ 4:36 pm
No she doesn’t
March 4, 2022 @ 7:36 am
I agree..We need to celebrate our Rock n Roll Icons.
March 2, 2022 @ 9:28 pm
What are you babbling about?
I said never anything about gender. And are any of those genres rock?
Country When Country Wasn't Cool
March 3, 2022 @ 9:32 am
I agree. Dolly’s pop records alone may not qualify her, but her songwriting absolutely does. Her songs have been covered by artists in every genre, and she’s revered by so many rock musicians as an influence. I have no problem wirh her taking a spot in the HOF. I’m rooting for Pat Benatar too…her induction is long overdue.
March 3, 2022 @ 11:12 am
There is a Hall of Fame for songwriters. It’s called the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Dolly Parton was inducted in 2001. Though an artist’s entire body of work should be considered when making Hall of Fame inductions—including songwriting—aside from a few (though certainly significant) songs in the pop realm, I really wouldn’t say Dolly Parton’s songwriting had significant impact in the rock realm.
But all of this is not to say that Dolly Parton wouldn’t make a worthy candidate for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at some point. But the argument in which she is being considered is that the Rock Hall needs more women. My contention is give rock women that opportunity first. Dolly Parton is already a Top 10 music artist of all time. Her legacy is secured. She’s in all kinds of Hall of Fame across popular music. Other women, ROCK women, could have their legacy secured with an induction, and may go overlooked without one.
March 7, 2022 @ 4:37 pm
But is Warren Zevon in the Songwriters HOF?
March 2, 2022 @ 8:39 pm
Rap & Hip Hop artists don’t belong in the RRHOF but they ARE there. Either get rid of Rap & Hip Hop artists OR induct Dolly. Better yet, get rid of everybody that isn’t Rock.
March 2, 2022 @ 9:31 pm
Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath need to go into the Country Music Hall of Fame if we’re going to put Dolly Parton in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. How about a little Jethro Tull and maybe some Alice Cooper in the Country Music Hall of Fame as well. This is a joke
March 3, 2022 @ 11:00 am
Run DMC, N.W.A. and Tupac, along with several other hip hop/rap artists, are in the RRHOF. Dolly has as many or more reasons to be inducted as a member as any of those acts.
March 10, 2022 @ 5:47 am
Where’s Miss Connie Francis?? Come on man !!
March 5, 2022 @ 11:28 am
Also Jerhro Tull should be in the Country Music Hall of Fame and by the way, they should at least be nominated and inducted into the Rock Hall😳
March 9, 2022 @ 10:14 pm
You seem to be mistaken with the R&RHOF as being exclusive to the rock genre. It ain’t. The Hall of Fame encompasses outstanding music from the rock ERA, which is roughly from the mid-50s till the end of the century. All genres including R&B, country, alternative, electronic, hip hop, & pop should be included except for Jazz, as that would be from the pre-rock ERA.
Yes Dolly should get in. I think the solution should be and I know you would agree, is to induct MORE than just FIVE every year!
Make it 10 inductees & the problem is solved…
March 26, 2022 @ 1:36 pm
She has all the business of being inducted into the rrhof. Since they allow crappy hip hop and rap crap. You go, Girl. I vote for Dolly Parton 365/24/7.
March 26, 2022 @ 2:06 pm
If rappers and hip hoppers are in then Dolly Parton should be there, too, along with the Carpenters, Olivia Newton John, Little River Band, Pablo Cruise and Toto. Plus, Yvonne Eliman, Carly Simon, Sheena Easton, Rita Coolidge. Pat Benatar is long overdue and way better than Joan Jett and blonde. Cher should be in there, too. Patsy Cline, Sammy Hagar, Bryan Adams, too. Devo? Really? Any rap or hip hop? Really?
March 2, 2022 @ 12:28 pm
There are so many others worthy of being in the R&R Hall of Fame. Joe Cocker should be there. Even Billy Joel has written to the powers at be about inducting Joe. But nothing. I love Dolly but you’re spot on.
March 2, 2022 @ 1:14 pm
I had no idea that Joe Cocker is not in the R&R H-o-F.
I thought every rock or near-rock artist I ever heard of, from ABBA to ZZ Top was in the rock hall.
March 2, 2022 @ 12:32 pm
They need headlines.
March 2, 2022 @ 12:36 pm
Agreed. Dolly is a Country music artist who made some forays into pop and bluegrass at various times. Part of this issue is she is adored and venerated by the aforementioned NPR crowd, who believe they have a more influential opinion than anyone
Then there is the Rock Hall of Fame. Started out nobly, but due to external pressures, they caved and became inclusive. Perhaps the best thing to do is rename it The Pop Music Hall of Fame, or simply The Music Hall of Fame. Then you can justify putting in anyone. Unfortunately, no one anymore is interested in maintaining any sort of standards for anything. But thats another subject entirely.
Robert's Country Blog
March 2, 2022 @ 12:43 pm
The single most obvious shortcoming of the rock hall is the lack of recognition for those who invented electric instruments. Think how important the electric guitar specifically is to the history of rock music. It’s important to country music, too, yet the inventors of the amplified instruments are rarely recognized by anyone.
March 2, 2022 @ 1:29 pm
Robert, they have an outstanding exhibit on Les Paul that includes many guitars owned by him and Mary Ford. The exhibit includes films and pictures on him. I was very impressed by it.
Robert's Country Blog
March 2, 2022 @ 1:44 pm
That’s cool. I’ve never been there and I’m sure I would enjoy the exhibits. I enjoy museums, in general. I saw an excellent temporary exhibit about the history of the electric guitar at the MIM in Phoenix a few years ago.
March 2, 2022 @ 12:50 pm
How ridiculous there is nothing Rock about Dolly Parton.
March 2, 2022 @ 1:01 pm
Considering the large number of non-rock acts that the Hall has already put in, I’m 100 percent fine with Dolly. Also, she has a huge influence on young female singers – even rock singers. Great article Trigger, but I couldn’t disagree more. Dolly is a music icon and in the last decade – with all the hip hop and pop musicians going in – the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is turning into a music hall of fame and Dolly is one of the greatest musicians of the 20th century.
March 2, 2022 @ 1:31 pm
Glad to hear her labeled as a musician in your comment, I knew she played guitar and piano but until I saw her live playing those as well as banjo, violin AND A TINY CUSTOM MADE SAXOPHONE (!!!!) I really had no idea how deep her well of talent was! Not to mention writing so many songs, what a genius!
March 2, 2022 @ 3:13 pm
Right, Ian? Her playing the Benny Hill theme song on her tiny sax was one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. She killed it!
March 2, 2022 @ 4:50 pm
Did you ever see the Benny Hill skit where a turtle jumped through a flaming hoop of fire?
Couldn’t stop laughing …
Classic Benny Hill
Going to try to find Dolly playing the theme song on the sax
March 2, 2022 @ 2:18 pm
“Considering the large number of non-rock acts that the Hall has already put in, I’m 100 percent fine with Dolly.”
Two wrongs don’t make a right. The reason there are pop and hip-hop acts in there is because these genres don’t have their own Hall of Fame. Country does. And every artist with country ties that is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has rock and roll ties as well.
Dolly Parton would be the first that doesn’t, which will open a Pandora’s box, and immediately make the institution horrifically in arrears in country representation for peers of Dolly. If we’re letting country artists in then the first shouldn’t be Dolly, it has to be Garth. He’s the biggest American music entertainer ever. Now that you have Garth and Dolly in, how can you leave Willie Nelson out? And if you put in Willie, how could you leave Loretta Lynn out? Once you put in Loretta and Willie, how can you leave Waylon and Patsy Cline out? You put them in, then you must have Merle Haggard, Tammy Wynette, George Jones, and Charley Pride. Otherwise, it is an insult and a grave oversight to these artist. This continues to cascade until you have at least 25 country artists that need to go into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame right here, right now. Meanwhile, Jethro Tull and Pat Benetar are overshadowed by these country superstars, allowing more hip-hop artists to receive consensus votes, locking out rock acts even further.
Dolly Parton WILL be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year. And this will create an immediate funnel of viral criticism toward the institution for all of its country omissions, and an existential crisis as the only artists who can get a plurality of votes for induction in the coming years will be artists decidedly not from the rock realm.
I’m a Dolly Parton fan, and not particularly a fan of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but this is a boondoggle waiting to happen. And meanwhile everyone is being blinded to the reality of it because we all love Dolly.
Someone’s gotta play Devil’s Advocate.
March 2, 2022 @ 10:39 pm
I’m perhaps less sure that Dolly will get in this year, though it is kind of jaw-dropping that as many as five women, including Carly Simon and Pat Benatar, are being considered (usually, they only consider one woman per year). I say this because Dolly’s rock ouput, such as it is (unless you consider “Baby I’m Burnin'”, “Two Doors Down” or even her version of “Great Balls Of Fire” to be in that style) is minimal in comparison to that of her Trio pal and 2014 inductee Linda Ronstadt (in fact, Linda’s contributions to country music itself, even aside from TRIO, are arguably far larger than Dolly’s to rock). But stranger things have happened. And in any case, it has to be said that country music has often been thought of as far less important to the birth of rock and roll in the 1950’s than rhythm and blues, which is not exactly accurate from either an historical point of view, or, for that matter, a musical one.
March 2, 2022 @ 11:05 pm
“2014 inductee Linda Ronstadt (in fact, Linda’s contributions to country music itself, even aside from TRIO, are arguably far larger than Dolly’s to rock)”
I completely agree, and have even seen some rumors of final ballots for the Country Hall of Fame over the last few years that had Linda’s name on them. I wouldn’t be surprised if Ronstadt is inducted in the next five years or so, and wouldn’t be opposed to it, though there are a few names I’d like to see in there before her.
March 3, 2022 @ 7:39 am
And Emmylou Harris’s contributions to rock are also greater than Dolly’s.
March 3, 2022 @ 8:20 am
Agreed. Could definitely see Emmylou going in before Dolly. And if Dolly goes in, that’s one of the names that all of a sudden MUST go into the Rock Hall as an immediate and insulting oversight.
March 3, 2022 @ 8:03 am
Certainly the backlog in the Country Music Hall of Fame is quite egregious, with artists that should have been inducted years (and even decades) ago still on the outside looking in. For that reason, I’m not crazy enough to think Linda will be inducted into the CMHOF this year, only that her contributions to the genre, and her left-of-center influence on the womenfolk of the last thirty years, warrant a thorough looking over. Dolly and Emmylou would certainly be advocates for her induction (IMHO).
In terms of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, it probably should be said that they have an enormous bias in favor of either acts that are very R&B oriented or based on the East Coast or ii urban areas of the Midwest. Given that the headquarters of the powers-that-be is in New York (though the Hall of Fame Museum itself is in Cleveland), this isn’t too surprising. But again, it isn’t wholly accurate in terms of either the music itself or its history; and it’s why I wonder if Dolly’s name wasn’t floated to get people’s attention, though I think she is worthy of such an induction if it ever comes her way.
March 3, 2022 @ 12:07 pm
I don’t think Linda Ronstadt belongs in the CMHOF at all. Like the Eagles. Country influenced pop/rock does not a Country Music Hall of Famer make.
March 3, 2022 @ 2:40 pm
The Eagles absolutely belong in the RR HOF.
Glad they are there.
Dan Da Hootenanny
March 2, 2022 @ 1:05 pm
Bill Monroe is also a member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Like the other country musicians in your article he was inducted as an early influence. The music of Chuck Berry and Elvis is directly tied back to Bill Monroe. Of course Monroe is tied directly back to late 1800s and early 1900s blues and jazz musicians.
March 2, 2022 @ 3:29 pm
If the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame had any integrity they would change their name.
March 3, 2022 @ 10:57 am
Agreed. “Popular Music Hall of Fame”?
March 4, 2022 @ 6:18 pm
Monroe also had an influence on Don & Philip Everly, who toured with him.
March 4, 2022 @ 8:04 pm
Almost as if it’s all Rock n Roll… I see no reason to compartmentalize. 2pac and Dolly both belong. I mean I like artists like Lauper and Pat Benatar, but it’s a hall of fame, not a hall of pretty good.
March 2, 2022 @ 1:10 pm
Don’t forget Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys are in the RnR.
The nominees are just mirrors of pop culture, for better or worse, and those that truly provoked like Devo and the MC5 will be outside, looking outward.
March 2, 2022 @ 1:20 pm
March 2, 2022 @ 3:29 pm
My pet peave about who go’s in and who stays out of the Rock and Roll HOF. HOW do we keep not letting two great females such as Connie Francis and Cher on the the outside looking in?
March 3, 2022 @ 2:16 pm
I don’t know if I’d put Connie Francis in, but Cher is a yes. If Madonna is in, Cher should be in.
March 3, 2022 @ 3:12 pm
Connie Francis, her career mirrors two greats already in. Those being Rick Nelson and Fats Domino.
March 3, 2022 @ 10:21 pm
I would say both Ricky Nelson and Fats Domino were straight up rock and rollers. Connie was more of the traditional pop sound, like a singer of standards. Like a female Sinatra. She wasn’t singing all old songs, but her style of singing was more along those lines, such as romantic ballads and Italian love songs. She had the occasional upbeat number. So did Perry Como. So did Nat King Cole. So did Pat Boone. See, in fact, if Connie Francis is up for consideration, so too should Pat Boone be. He recorded rock and roll songs. They just didn’t rock or roll a whole lot. Great pop singer though.
March 2, 2022 @ 2:05 pm
I didn’t take the time to read the comments, so excuse me if someone else has pointed this out.
“She is one of the most recognized and beloved public personalities worldwide, and though an induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame would be nice, it would do little to materially benefit her legacy.”
It will materially benefit the R and R hof legacy, which is what they’re obviously concerned with.
BTW, another great article, Trigger
March 2, 2022 @ 2:24 pm
Yeah, Olivia Newton John in the Country HOF would make more sense than this.
And Pat Benatar *still* sounds great.
March 2, 2022 @ 3:03 pm
Hmmm, I’m thinking the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame should perhaps be renamed The Legends of Music Hall of Fame? There’s nothing rock ‘n roll about ANY of those female artists mentioned (perhaps the Eurythmics?), I’d call them all pop. So if pop artists can be inducted, why not country artists?
Of course I’m jesting with the name change, but it seems inductees are also possibly included because of their influence on not just music, but popular culture?
If so, Dolly should DEFINITELY be included, inducted, crowned and revered. She’s a bloody legend and the world is a better place for having her in it.
Happy Thursday from Aotearoa/ New Zealand, folks 🙂
March 2, 2022 @ 3:04 pm
Agree, she should not be in.
March 2, 2022 @ 3:10 pm
Odd, not one mention of the criminally underrated and long denied Duran Duran
March 2, 2022 @ 3:15 pm
That’s the point. You could make a list of dozens of artists that it seems egregious are not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Everyone’s list would be different, but none of them had Dolly Parton on them until the media told us it was an egregious oversight. And since everyone loves Dolly, we all buy in as opposed to zooming out and looking bigger picture.
March 3, 2022 @ 9:19 am
The HOF really has morphed from a rock institution to a pop music/cultural one. It’s a shame. On top of that, I find it annoying that newer artists like RATM and Foo Fighters have gotten more attention and opportunities than older, equally influential artists.
March 2, 2022 @ 3:19 pm
Peter Frampton isn’t in the HOF either. I wore out my Frampton Comes Alive! record so much I had to buy a another!
March 2, 2022 @ 3:34 pm
Ronnie James Dio…go listen to Rainbow’s Long Live Rock n Roll album. Not Country…not Pop…Rock music!
March 2, 2022 @ 4:51 pm
Girls will be boys and boys will be girls
It’s a mixed up muddled up shook up world except for Lola
Sums up the R&R HoF and their picks.
March 2, 2022 @ 4:59 pm
Keep in mind that the R&R HOF didn’t induct Tina Turner as a solo artist until last year. I have always heard of her referenced as the “Queen of Rock and Roll.” I had always assumed she was inducted years ago. I am not sure Carly Simon is R&R, but has always been one of my favorites.
March 2, 2022 @ 5:27 pm
Finally someone is saying exactly what I’ve been thinking. Like you said she’s good (along with the Jay-Zs, Whitneys, Eminems, LL Cool Js of this world) but they have no business getting in before actual rockers. Maybe a separate category should be created for non rocknroll stars.
It’s almost like inducting Thomas Rhett into country hall of fame before Kenny Chesney/Tim McGraw. It makes no sense.
Also can we at talk about how some acts who win the fan votes never get inducted. So what’s the point?
March 2, 2022 @ 8:16 pm
Neither Chesney nor McGraw belong in the Country Hall Of Fame. It’s supposed be an artists overall impact on a genre that gets them in. Neither one of these fellas, while talented in their own way, did anything remotely earth shattering. They sold lots of record, sure, but their music will be forgotten ten, twenty years from now, but people will still be listening to the legends.
As far as Dolly, she’s a legend, but she’s about as rock and roll as 99% of what comes out of Nashville these days is country.
March 3, 2022 @ 2:25 pm
While I am certainly NOT a fan of Kenny Chesney at all, he did have an influence on country music. All of those island and party songs from the last 20 years were a result of that “big, orange ball” song. It was so successful and popular that everyone started recording similar sounding, crappy island party songs. He and Tim McGraw have each had about 30 #1 songs on the country charts. Based on that alone, they’re going to be HOFers.
March 4, 2022 @ 8:46 pm
When a Number One Hits album spends 5 years + on the Billboard top country albums chart, I think it’s a pretty good bet that people will still be listening to those songs in 20 years.
March 26, 2022 @ 3:22 pm
Rename it the Music HOF
March 4, 2022 @ 12:02 pm
That is because all the fan votes for a particular artist or band are only counted as one vote. Another reason why I don’t care anymore. Unless they rename the Hall, it’s just meaningless now.
David: The Duke of Everything
March 2, 2022 @ 5:50 pm
Yea, dolly has no business being in the Rock n roll hall of fame.
March 2, 2022 @ 5:50 pm
I had a nightmare. Kane Brown inducted into the Country Music hall of Fame.
March 3, 2022 @ 7:47 am
Good thing you woke up
March 2, 2022 @ 5:59 pm
Magnanimous of you to post this, and spot on. This will be just a pleasant bit of icing on Dolly’s justly earned immortality cake, but it will be a slap in the face to many, many rock artists who may never get in during their lifetime Rock and roll has more identity issues than country, and that’s saying something.
March 2, 2022 @ 6:06 pm
So, if any of you have ever been there in person to The Rock and Hall of Fame( i have, several times) its very crowded with the existing exhibits. Frankly i dont see a lot of free space for the inclusion of all genres of music. They would need a massive addition to the building. And its a weird glass pyramid, Frank Geary designed building, so any addition would cost a fortune. The upper floor and part of the basement has been used for traveling temporary exhibits. So even if you nixed future temp exhibits and reallocated that space, you still couldnt begin to have a meaningful representation of all the genres. Space. Not there at present. It will be a dilemma going forward, just one of many problems when you try to be all- inclusive of every possibility.
March 3, 2022 @ 2:27 pm
Well, I guess they should move it to Memphis where it belongs.
March 3, 2022 @ 2:46 pm
Who the he** travels to Cleveland, if they don’t have to?
*except to see an Eagles concert.
They could then convert the RR HOF in Cleveland, to the polka hall of fame
March 9, 2022 @ 10:29 pm
The solution to the lack of space due to Inclusiveness is to simply rotate the exhibitions. That also keeps it from getting stale.
March 2, 2022 @ 6:35 pm
Dolly parton in Hof before elp Jethro tull renaissance Joe cocker and others. I would rather see Ed Sullivan inducted before dolly parton. She is not rock and roll and neither was Ed Sullivan but Sullivan was more important to rock and roll music than dolly parton ever was
March 2, 2022 @ 8:24 pm
I will say that Dolly did do a pop album, THE STRAIGHT TALK sound track was all pop and no country, Jolene made it on to the pop charts, and look what Whitney Houston did with I will always love you. I know she is a country singer but she has had success as a song writer in the rock industry, and maybe that is the primary reason she is being put in, either way, look at it, look at the people who get put into the country music hall of fame and the grand old Opry and are subpar singer and don’t deserve it, at least Dolly has some credit , she has done duets with queen Latifah. Nora Jones, Miley Cyrus, Katey perry, Kelly Clarkson and Julio Iglesias so there are just some of cross over things she has done. So I think Dolly deserves to be in their, and as for the other rock singers who deserve to be in there, their time will come.
March 3, 2022 @ 2:30 pm
Who among Queen Latifah. Norah Jones, Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry, Kelly Clarkson and Julio Iglesias deserves to be in the R&RHOF?
March 2, 2022 @ 9:17 pm
I think you’re barking about something that does not have much merit. Most of the ladies you named were not rock stars either, they are pop or adult contemporary; therefore on the basis of only inducting rock stars the majority of the examples you are giving would not merit induction either. Dolly wrote the number one pop song of the 20th century, albeit by the Whitney Houston version. That cover was after Dolly had taken the song to the number one twice in two different decades. She is the only person in country music that has that accomplishment. It could very well be that it has not happened in other genres, unless a deceased artist had it happen such as when Whitney Houston died her cover went back to number one. I think this one composition would warrant her induction. However, if your point for exclusion is based on her genre, then exclude the rap star and all those that are pop stars.
Additionally, since there are male country stars in the hall of fame, excluding Dolly in my opinion is misogyny.
March 2, 2022 @ 9:36 pm
“Additionally, since there are male country stars in the hall of fame, excluding Dolly in my opinion is misogyny.”
There are women who also reside in the country genre that are in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as well, specifically Wanda Jackson and Brenda Lee. The difference is both of them have significant ties to rock, which Dolly Parton doesn’t. This has nothing to do with misogyny, though it was calls for more women to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2020 where Dolly’s name got added to the conversation. We call all go back and forth about specific names. Pat Benetar was a rock artist. She is not in the Rock Hall of Fame. I agree the women of rock need to be fairly represented in the Hall of Fame. Electing a country artist doesn’t solve that, and will only introduce the likelihood of a flood of male country artists now being considered for the Rock Hall as well.
March 9, 2022 @ 10:44 pm
It wouldn’t bothered me to include more country or R&B acts. Giants like Willie or Patsy should be in, as should Dolly. Why not just include more artists instead of just five? That would solve all the tired accusations of misogyny or racism as there are plenty of worthy acts to celebrate at the prestigious RnR Hall of Fame.
March 3, 2022 @ 1:26 am
Well, if Dolly is going to be in the HOF, it’s only fair that Kenny Rogers is, too; considering their “hard rock” song, Islands In The Stream.
March 3, 2022 @ 8:13 am
If Dolly Parton goes in, then a list of about 25 country artists, including Kenny Rogers, will immediately be drafted as egregious and insulting oversight by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
March 3, 2022 @ 5:24 am
The Rock & Roll HOF is a joke with rock musicians like Joe Cocker, Jethro Tull, Pat Benatar and Johnny Rivers not being inducted.
Dolly Parton is a legend in Country music not Rock. Not even close.
March 3, 2022 @ 5:40 am
My understanding has always been, in regards to the initial formations of music related ‘Halls of Fame’, is that inductees would largely consist of those artists and entities which were originators, inventors, and/or innovators in the music world.
Dolly Parton has been one of my favorite people I have known throughout my 54+ years in music. Although while Ms. Parton is arguably the most successful businesswoman in the history of musical entertainment, spanning several genres, I don’t understand the justification for a R n’ R HOF induction. Her innovation and origination of any one musical format or genre is simply not there. Promotion, yes… again arguably the most driven and successful woman in entertainment history when it comes to promotion and success across the board. And she fought severe discrimination and closed doors as she clawed her way to the top.
An example of a country/bluegrass artist whose plaque and story justifiably, and rightly, resides in the R n/ R HOF would be Bill Monroe. Monroe single-handedly invented the definitive sound and recipe for “Blue Grass” music. His multiple creds pertaining to the rock genre are based in his earliest recordings with his band ‘The Blue Grass Boys’.
First up, Bill’s mandolin back-beat (chop) was a major force in band rhythm. His “chop” incorporated what would become the drum beat pattern of the 1950’s Rock n’ Roll music. While R&B artists of the late 1940’s, like Wynonie Harris, were using a similar backbeat, it was Monroe’s music which brought it to the forefront; and to the white audiences.
What sealed the deal for Monroe’s Rock Hall of Fame induction was not Elvis’ rendition of Monroe’s “Blue Moon of Kentucky”, but his song “Heavy Traffic Ahead” — the mandolin backbeat easily recognized in this September 16, 1946 recording. That song is most noted by scholars and historians as a precursor to Rockabilly.
Monroe’s innovations and contributions to the foundation of early Rock music are legitimate contributions and duly noted in the Rock HOF. That sort of credibility is what I consider worthy of cross-genre recognition.
Just felt it should mentioned in addition to, and in spite of, some of the artists profiled in this article..
Fat Freddy's Cat
March 3, 2022 @ 6:30 am
The bad thing about this is the overall long term effect. At this point, I’m not inclined to care about ANY awards shows or “halls of fame” because they all seem to be such a farce.
Off topic but I’m curious: you mentioned that pop and hip-hop don’t have “halls of fame”. I wonder: why not? They’re certainly major forms of music with a pantheon of big names. I’m not a fan of hip-hop myself but I can’t deny its place in American music.
March 3, 2022 @ 8:18 am
Hip-hop most definitely should have its own Hall of Fame. Right now hip-hop is the most popular genre in all of music, and folks like Dr. Dre and Jay Z are literal BILLIONAIRES—something that even the biggest artists in rock and country like Garth Brooks have yet to achieve. People who are complaining about the lack of hip-hop artists in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? Go make your own. Get Dr. Dre and Jay Z to come off some of that cash and make it happen. I would be in 100% in support of that. Long past due.
March 3, 2022 @ 6:59 am
I was blessed to visit the Rock N Roll H.O.F. and it is great but as long as the Marshall Tucker Band is not included it is not legitimate
March 3, 2022 @ 3:17 pm
I was waiting for someone to mention MTB.
They deserve induction on their Capricorn recordings alone, but their Warner work has sadly been forgotten. Don’t remember the last time I heard anyone play Running Like the Wind.
They also had a minor resurgence on the country charts in the late 80s/early 90s. Driving You Out of My Mind is among my favorites by them.
March 3, 2022 @ 4:07 pm
I bought Running Like The Wind when it came out in ’79. It’s been a long time since I’ve heard it, though. The title track is great. Last of the Singing Cowboys is another good one I remember. Another great southern rock album that came out in ’79 was the first Henry Paul Band album Grey Ghost, with the title track being his tribute to Lynyrd Skynyrd (you probably know all this). So Long was a great track from that album, too.
March 4, 2022 @ 8:34 am
On the Southern Rock front which Michael, Mark and Jack are commenting on: I agree, The HOF has Skynyrd and The Allman Bros, but they ignore Marshall Tucker Band, Charlie Daniels Band, Molly Hatchet and The Outlaws, all of whom have sold millions of records and remain well liked even today. Southern Rock was a popular and formidable brand of Rock and Roll, and continues today with Blackberry Smoke, Allman Betts, Steel Woods, Govt Mule and others. Unlikely any of these bands get in, for all the reasons we discussed here. There is a guy named Buffalo Smith who is trying to form a Southern Rock HOF, but lacks any funding. Surprise, Surprise, right? Come to think of it, there was a Rockabilly HOF in Jackson Tenn, which closed, and a very short lived Funk music HOF in Ohio that closed its doors. Reality is, theres not a lot of $$$ to be made with museums unless they are really well established and large enough to bring in sizable crowds. One of the reasons i believe the RRHOF has caved to pop is they are trying to appeal to younger demographics, and so they think Hip Hop is the ticket. ( and they may be correct in that assessment)
March 3, 2022 @ 7:23 am
No question of the greatness of Dolly in Country and Pop Music.
Bit it makes little sense since she doesnt write or sing or play rock and roll.
More appropriate might be the Maddox Brothers & Rose inducted-their music definitely influenced and was the precursor to rock and roll. ( I believe that was alluded to in the Ken Burns documentary)
But then they haven’t even been inducted in the Country Music HOF yet!!!
March 3, 2022 @ 7:51 am
I agree but if Chet Atkins is in the RRHOF which he is then a case can be made that Dolly Parton also belongs.
March 3, 2022 @ 8:24 am
As a producer and player on so many early rock records, and a guitar god spanning genre, Chet Atkins—just like Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, Jimmie Rodgers, and other “early influence” entries—deserves to be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. This isn’t to say no country artist should be in the Rock Hall at all. But there are just no significant rock contributions Dolly Parton made that in any way make her a worthy candidate. We all love Dolly, so you float the name and it’s easy to say, “Yes, I love Dolly!” But thinking bigger picture, it will open the floodgates of country artists being considered for a rock institution that will have negative downstream implications.
Robert's Country Blog
March 3, 2022 @ 8:34 am
Yes, Chet Atkins played on Elvis hits like “Heartbreak Hotel.”
March 3, 2022 @ 8:17 am
Madonna deserved (earned) her first ballot induction. Any argument against would necessarily beg questions about the placement of Michael Jackson…who was inducted twice (Jackson 5 and solo).
Dolly deserves the nomination.
March 3, 2022 @ 8:56 am
I think a difference between Dolly and a lot of other country artists is that she is a true Pop-Culture Icon (not only in country circles). She has also had major crossover success. She has Grammy nominations in not only the all-genre fields but also Pop, Traditional Pop, Christian, and Gospel. She has 21 Top 40 Hits on the Adult Contemporary Chart. She has been cited as a major influence for many pop/rock/R&B artists. Not to mention penning “I Will Always Love You.”
I would agree that Dolly Parton is not a rock artist, but looking into the scope of artists the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame honors, I believe Dolly fits the bill.
March 3, 2022 @ 10:28 am
This is the problem though. You can say this EXACT same thing about Willie Nelson. So you put in Dolly, then you HAVE to put in Willie. You put in Willie and Dolly, what about Kenny Rogers? Nobody in American music has ever been bigger than Garth Brooks. And hey, he had a rock persona named Chris Gains that sold 2 million records. Have to put him in. Reba McEntire has singles and Grammy nominations in pop and Gospel too. Got to put her in. And on and on and on. Meanwhile, actual rock artist who played actual rock music continue to be on the outside looking in as the only artists receiving a plurality of votes are huge country music, pop, and hip-hop names.
Dolly Parton will be inducted. And as a Dolly fan, I’ll be happy for her. As an advocate for country, I could use it as an opportunity to lobby for the inclusion of scores of country artists. But we should be better neighbors to rock. Dolly will not materially benefit by the induction, but rock could lose greatly.
March 3, 2022 @ 11:06 am
I see your point, but I would actually argue that Willie belongs in the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame as well. There are not many artists in any genre that have sprawled careers throughout the 60’s that are still relevant today. Dolly (and Willie) have headlined major festivals. If the hall of fame was truly geared towards Rock I would agree, but in reality it is framed more towards Popular music and as we get closer to the modern-day inductions you will see a greater rise in Pop, R&B and Hip Hop.
My thought process would be if they were able to make a big enough influence on the mainstream and they had the quality and consistency to back it up- they should be included.
Like Kacey Musgraves, Dolly Parton has had both albums/singles that were rejected from Country categories for being too pop. Those albums and singles were successful and critically acclaimed. If she has put out singles that target that formula that would put her in a different category. My wife is not a country fan and she loves Dolly Parton, Shania Twain, Kacey Musgraves and this is because they have chosen to make music that appeals to the masses outside of the country.
Maybe it’s just me being happy to see her name, but I think it’s a big win and rock. Agree or disagree- I really enjoyed your coulmn and the debate is one that is worth having.
March 3, 2022 @ 11:30 am
Thanks for the discussion Mark, and I totally see the other side of the perspective here. Like I said, Dolly will be inducted. So I’m just trying to play some Devil’s Advocate here to show my concerns for the greater implications.
On thing I will say though, I’ve heard from some rock fans who’ve reached out personally thanking me for writing this. I think within the country realm, it almost seems like a no brainer to put Dolly in. But it’s not our Hall of Fame to make that decision. It’s a Hall of Fame for Rock fans. And among that population, they see this much more as a slippery slope, though obviously one the Rock Hall is already going down with pop and hip-hop.
March 3, 2022 @ 7:45 pm
Reba has a couple Grammy noms for gospel but Zero in any pop category.
Joshua Scott Hotchkin
March 3, 2022 @ 9:46 am
I can agree that as a gesture of inclusiveness, Dolly’s induction into the RRHOF is completely opportunistic and in appropriate. Yet there is an argument to be made in her favor…
Dolly Parton was a shock rocker.
Dolly adopted an exaggerated image in order to pish back against norms and expectations. She defied the notion that women should be humble and understated, except for those in the counterculture, which she also defied by being a billboard of desire with both manners and couth. Dolly was a rebel against all of the conventions and combinations of her time. And then she would write super dark ass music like Little Andy. Dolly Parton is a shock rocker who made all kinds of pop music, defying each one’s standards. Rick on, Dolly!
March 3, 2022 @ 10:51 am
I absolutely love and adore Dolly but Cyndi Lauper, Pat Benatar, Joe Cocker and several other huge impacts on R&R first please or just rename the place to Music Legends Hall of Fame. If Grandmaster Flash is considered rock and roll then you might as well just let any genre in at this point. Devo? Really? One hit. One hit in the US people. One hit. Lauper broke a record set by the Beatles more than 20 years before her. The debut She’s So Unusual made music history by putting her first 4 singles into Billboards HOT 100! Again..Devo..?
March 3, 2022 @ 11:51 am
To me the real problem is the backlog. When the Rock & Roll HOF first started inducting they should have made up for a big chunk of that backlog. Maybe got a couple years with small classes to single out some but about the 3rd or 4th year they should have had a huge class. To me Rock & Roll is an attitude more than a style. I from Detroit. A lot of Motown is in the R&R HOF, & rightly so. I do think for similar reason Dolly belongs in too. The way she lives is as R&R as anyone. But, this year of all years the fan ballot is more loaded than any I remember. The entire ballot needs to be inducted. Every single 1 of them. I settled on 5 to vote for but wish I could vote for all of them. Only 2 of my 5 are in the top 5 of the current standings, Eminem & Dolly. My logic in selecting my votes? I started with local acts, Em & the MC5 (I’ve actually met Wayne Kramer a couple times & their manager John Sinclair many times). Then I voted for 2 women, Dolly, Dionne, & Carly. But it really hurts to not vote for everyone else on that ballot. I will admit my musical taste runs to pretty much everything. But that is not why I believe as I do about the R&R HOF. It is because rock is a big tent. It draws from every other genre.
March 3, 2022 @ 12:25 pm
NO DOLLY PARTON SHOULD NOT BE PUT INTO THE ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME BEFORE LADIES LIKE CHER CINDY LAUPER OR WHITNEY HOUSTON
March 7, 2022 @ 6:03 pm
Whitney is in there – inducted two years ago.
March 3, 2022 @ 2:08 pm
Even Dolly knows that she really does not belong in the Rock&Roll Hall-of-Fame-hence, her declaration that she will release a rock album if she gets voted in. And I bet that album would be dynamite
March 3, 2022 @ 9:21 pm
NO ONE belongs in the RocknRoll hall of fame, but the artists who’s music is Rock. What does pop, r&b, hip hop, rap, coutry etc…
have to do with Rock? Even if it had some kind of influence. It’s not the history of rock.
March 4, 2022 @ 7:58 am
I always like reading the longer opinion-peaces you write, Trigger. I like your style, and how it’s always well-argumented. And here I could fully agree, if I cared about any HOF, and I don’t. In fact, I couldn’t care less. It’s an institution, and therefor questionable. Here the questions are: who should be in what HOF, and why (not)? You asked these questions, and many of your readers have some questions themselves, but real clear answers about an institution? I don’t think you’ll get those. But it’s a nice discussion, because your own opinion about music or artists can’t really be wrong.
I love Dolly Parton, but I will not love her more if, or because she’s in the Rock&Roll-HOF. She didn’t become an artist to be in any HOF. Nobody does. The HOF doesn’t buy your records or come to your show. It’s an institution.
And this is also about the labels in music. Music is good music, or it’s not. When I was 20 years old, I never thought I would become the country-music-lover I am today. But I never discovered any artist because of any HOF, so why should I care about any HOF? I’ve got my own HOF, it’s the core of my record-collection, and only I decide who’s in it. Because they make music that I like. Sometimes it’s country, sometimes it’s rock&roll.
Country When Country Wasn't Cool
March 4, 2022 @ 11:45 am
Ultimately, the decision is up to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, not a country music website. If they deem Dolly, Kenny, Willie, Waylon, Garth, Shania or anyone else in another genre worthy, they have their reasons. Obviously, enough people tasked with it checked the box to nominate Dolly. I think country music should be getting its own HOF in order and recognizing some long overdue artists before trying to proselytize to the Rock HOF. Let them induct whoever they want.
March 4, 2022 @ 1:13 pm
“Ultimately, the decision is up to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, not a country music website.”
Believe it or not, I 100% agree with you, and that’s the reason I wrote this article. This whole movement started in 2020 when there was a lot of talk about the lack of women in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. And so Ann K. Powers who is NPR’s Nashville-based music reporter put together a list of women who needed to be considered, and Dolly Parton is who they chose for the banner image and who to emphasize on social media. Then this year when Parton was nominated, “Rolling Stone Country” ran a lengthy piece about why she should be inducted.
But this shouldn’t be country’s or Nashville’s decision. This should be rock music’s decision. I wouldn’t want rock writers telling us who should be in the Country Music Hall of Fame. It’s not their place. I decided to go a step further, and give the Devil’s Advocate position from the rock perspective—as as country writer—why Dolly Parton shouldn’t go in. Of course, she will, because she’s Dolly Parton. And as a country fan, I will be happy when it happens. But I just wanted to contribute what I believe are some very worthy counterpoints, and why the pick should be approached with caution.
Country When Country Wasn't Cool
March 4, 2022 @ 10:53 pm
Well said, Trigger, and I completely get where you’re coming from. I’m not sure if there’s another artist who would warrant a debate like this. Consideration for her isn’t surprising. Dolly is an island unto herself, and I think she’d be deserving of induction based on her own unique merits; there’s just no one else who can touch her. There are certainly others worthy of the HOF, but you are right…she’s Dolly Freakin’ Parton. Period.
March 4, 2022 @ 8:37 pm
Dolly has been everywhere lately. It feels like she (and maybe country music) is campaigning for this.
March 5, 2022 @ 12:30 pm
Considering the Rock Hall jumped ship years ago with following genre buy allowing hip-hop, jazz, blues etc… Or early on when they put Aretha in the hall. So the slope is already slippery.
I think it opened up so much because otherwise it was shaping up to be a temple a bunch of white dudes and a few token extras.
March 6, 2022 @ 6:39 pm
Also, Hoyt Axton deserves to be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Country Music Hall of Fame.
March 7, 2022 @ 4:56 pm
Ppl are mentioning all these soft rock women to induct before/instead of Dolly ~~
PATTI SMITH for heaven’s sake!!
March 9, 2022 @ 8:23 am
Well, if Dolly is in this hallowed group and predominantly “country”, then let’s just drop the “R&R”, call it the all-encompassing “Music Hall of Fame”, and induct a deserving pop group like the Carpenters. (Millions of records sold worldwide and still selling. One of the most distinctive voices of any genre: Karen Carpenter. Numerous singers, including “rock”, have cited her influence and their admiration of her vocals. Songs listed on “all genre” lists of the greatest recordings of all time.). Nah…I guess that wouldn’t be cool to the people that run this organization. Many of the people inducted in past year—I’ve never heard of them.
March 26, 2022 @ 1:43 pm
Totally agree. Carpenters, Olivia Newton John, Little River Band, Pablo Cruise and Toto should already be in the R&R Music HOF. Pat Benatar is long overdue and way better than Joan Jett and blonde.
March 9, 2022 @ 5:19 pm
But I’d be ok with putting Buck Owens and Don Rich in the Rock-n-Roll Hall o’ Fame.
The hard-biting Tele and the beat. Plus the Beatles covered “Act Naturally.” Not many have that honor.
March 14, 2022 @ 9:20 am
I think she heard you.
March 26, 2022 @ 1:38 pm
Along with rappers and hip hop
March 26, 2022 @ 1:45 pm
The music artists from all genres should incept a Music Hall of Fame encompassing the various categories. It’s the fairest way.
March 26, 2022 @ 1:47 pm
If they allow rappers and hip hoppers in, then Dolly Parton should be in the RRHOF without question.