It seems that Dolly has integrity even if the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame does not.
Looking for publicity, or glitz, or something, the Cleveland-based Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominated Parton for the Class of 2022 even though she hasn’t ever recorded a song that could be classified as “rock” by any definition however loose. She has been, first and foremost, a country singer. She occasionally has crossed the line, whatever it is, into pop.
Parton withdrew her name from consideration, tweeting,
“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. I really do not want votes to be split because of me, so I must respectfully bow out. I do hope that the ROCK & ROLL HALL OF FAME will understand and be willing to consider me again – if I’m ever worthy. 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. I wish all of the nominees good luck and thank you again for the compliment. Rock on!”
It’s embarrassing that a nominee is more aware of the perils of an institution’s honor being contrived than the institution itself. Barack Obama could have saved the Nobel Peace Prize from a massive reduction in prestige if he had taken the same approach as Parton when he was absurdly nominated before he had done anything but get elected President. I can think of several admittees to the Baseball Hall of Fame who should have turned down that honor—Tony Perez and Harold Baines immediately come to mind.
She had no obligation to do so, of course, but I wish Dolly had also put in a plug for the Hall to finally admit Connie Francis, who recorded, rock, pop and country. Francis has been described as a female Bobby Darin (who is in the Rock Hall), a singer who dabbled in everything, and did everything well. She was a huge star in the 50s and early 60s, and unlike Parton, had two big rock and roll hits among her ventures in country, pop and novelty songs: “Stupid Cupid” (which made it to #16 on the Top 40) and “Lipstick On Your Collar,” which was #3)
Here is a comparison of her career to two male artists already in the Hall of Fame:
- Fats Domino had thirty-five songs reach the Billboard Top 40. Eight of those made the Top 10 but none of them topped that chart.
- Ricky Nelson also had thirty-five sides reach the Billboard Top 40. Eighteen of those made the Top 10 and two topped that chart.
- Connie Francis had thirty-five sides reach the Billboard Top 40. Sixteen of those made the Top 10 and three topped that chart.
Well, it is enough that Dolly had the presence of mind to deal with the attempt to exploit her name by the Hall. But if she is ultimately admitted, the snubbing of Connie Francis will seem even more unjust than it already is.