Among the 17 nominees eligible for inclusion alongside Parton were others who stretch the traditional definition of rock music: Eminem, A Tribe Called Quest, Lionel Richie, Carly Simon, Dionne Warwick and Kate Bush were selected for the ballot along with bands like Judas Priest, MC5, Rage Against the Machine and New York Dolls.
Ballots were sent in February to the more than 1,000 artists, historians and music industry professionals who choose their top five inductees each year, with the winners — typically between five and seven in total — scheduled to be announced in May. This year’s induction ceremony was slated for the fall.
The Rock Hall asks its voters to consider an act’s music influence and the “length and depth” of its career, in addition to “innovation and superiority in style and technique.” Following complaints about its treatment of female and Black musicians over the years, the Rock Hall has recently expanded its tent to include artists from rap, pop, R&B and beyond, including Whitney Houston, Janet Jackson, Jay-Z and the Notorious BIG Artists in both the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Rock Hall include Hank Williams, Johnny Cash and Brenda Lee, among others. Parton was inducted into the Country Hall of Fame in 1999.
On its website, the Rock Hall praised Parton as a “living legend and a paragon of female empowerment,” adding that her “unapologetic femininity belied her shrewd business acumen, an asset in the male-dominated music industry.”
A 2019 look at the organization’s nearly 900 inductees found that only 7.7 percent were women.
Other artists have balked at inclusion in the club before: John Lydon, better known as Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols, thumbed his nose at the band’s induction in 2006, with the band opting not to show. In 2012, when Guns ‘n Roses made it, Axl Rose said he would decline to participate and asked that he not be inducted in absentia. Both acts were inducted anyway.