Dolly Parton 'respectfully' withdraws from Rock & Roll Hall of Fame nominations: 'I don't feel that I have earned that right'

Voters for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame have faced a difficult choice electing the Class of 2022, with a whopping 17 nominees (instead of the usual 15, due to a tie during the nominating committee’s process) and a batch of heavy-hitters that includes everyone from new wave pioneers Duran Duran, Eurythmics, and Devo to hard-rockers Judas Priest and Rage Against the Machine. However, one universally adored contender seemed like a shoo-in: Dolly Parton, who was, incredibly, nominated for the first time this year.

But Parton just made voters’ jobs a little easier. In a shocking move Monday morning, the 76-year-old legend — who is already in the Country Music Hall of Fame and Songwriters Hall of Fame, and has sold more than 100 million records worldwide — announced that she is “respectfully” withdrawing from the 2022 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame nominations, because she doesn’t feel like she’s quite “worthy” yet.

In a statement posted on her social media, Parton explained: “Dolly here! 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. Good luck!”

While a few Rock Hall inductees, from the Sex Pistols to last year’s Todd Rundgren, have dissed the institution and sat out the ceremony entirely, Parton is the only artist in Hall history to withdraw while balloting is still in process. (A Rock & Roll Hall of Fame source tells Yahoo Entertainment that two-thirds of the ballots have already been mailed out to voters; the deadline for voting submission is April 29. It is unclear how that Hall will proceed if Parton actually gets enough votes to make it into the Class of 2022.)

However Parton’s issue with her Hall eligibility seems to solely stem from her concern that she isn’t “rock ‘n’ roll” enough. The Hall’s broad definition of the term “rock ‘n’ roll” has been a focus on ongoing heated debate among fans and rock purists, as the Hall has inducted pop artists like ABBA, Madonna, and Whitney Houston and several hip-hop acts in the past. (Rappers Eminem and A Tribe Called Quest are among this year’s nominees; Eminem is an assumed frontrunner and is currently in second place in the Hall’s fan vote. Incidentally, Parton was in fourth place on the fan vote leaderboard before she withdrew.) However, among the Hall’s 351 current inductees there are only seven that could be considered pure country artists: Chet Atkins, Johnny Cash, Floyd Cramer, Bill Monroe, Jimmie Rodgers, Hank Williams, and Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys.

The remaining 16 nominees for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s Class of 2022 are rounded out by Beck, Pat Benatar, Kate Bush, Fela Kuti, MC5, Lionel Richie, Carly Simon, and Dionne Warwick. “This year’s ballot recognizes a diverse group of incredible artists, each who has had a profound impact on the sound of youth culture. Their music not only moved generations, but also influenced the sound of countless artists that followed,” Rock Hall chairman John Sykes said in a statement when the nominees were first announced on Feb. 2.

The Class of 2022 inductees will be announced sometime in May, with the Hall's 37th annual induction ceremony taking place this fall. In the meantime, let’s hope that Parton, who in the past has covered songs by the Beatles, Bon Jovi, Collective Soul, Led Zeppelin, and Neil Young, makes good on her promise to release that “great rock ’n’ roll album.” Check out her career-spanning Yahoo Entertainment interview below:

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