Dolly Parton, Pat Benatar and Lionel Richie are among acts voted into Rock Hall
In what is possibly the most motley crew — but not, you know, Mötley Crüe — they could have assembled, voters for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame have picked a group of inductees for 2022 that leans heavily on pop hitmakers of the 1980s, including Duran Duran, Eurythmics, Lionel Richie and Pat Benatar, plus Eminem, Carly Simon and, despite the fact that she initially tried to reject the Hall's nomination, Dolly Parton.
In March, Parton wrote on her social media accounts that while she was grateful for the nomination, she didn't think she'd "earned that right," and didn't want to split the vote for other artists, requesting to respectfully bow out of the competition. Soon after, the Rock Hall revealed that Parton's name was already on ballots that had been sent to its voters and would stay there. But in an interview with Morning Edition just last week, the country singer-songwriter — as much an influence on rock music as any of the rap or pop artists to whom the Rock Hall has also recently inducted — said she'd "accept gracefully."
"I would just say thanks and I'll accept it because the fans vote," Parton explained. "But when I said that, it was always my belief that the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame was for the people in rock music, and I have found out lately that it's not necessarily that. But if they can't go there to be recognized, where do they go? So I just felt like I would be taking away from someone that maybe deserved it, certainly more than me, because I never considered myself a rock artist. But obviously, there's more to it than that."
In 2019, Loyola Marymount University professor Evelynn McDonnell did an analysis of gender representation and found that less than 8% of Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees are women. Recent years have seen the likes of Janet Jackson and Whitney Houston inducted, and the 2022 class keeps the trajectory of inductees aimed at parity. "We have to fight for it to be a place where we can all hear and see ourselves and see America in its bold heterogeneous self," the historian and critic Daphne Brooks told NPRin 2020.
This year's induction ceremony will take place Nov. 5 in Los Angeles. Artists are eligible 25 years after the release of their first commercial recording. Inducted on his first ballot, Eminem will join nine other hip-hop artists at the Rock Hall, including Jay-Z and Tupac Shakur. No women in hip-hop have been nominated or inducted.
Judas Priest will be one of the few metal artists to join the Rock Hall — following Black Sabbath and guitarist Randy Rhodes — but will enter via the musical excellence category, which is not decided by voters but often awarded to musicians whose contributions are undeniably influential. Past musical excellence inductees have included songwriter and producer Nile Rodgers, keyboard player Billy Preston, drummer Hal Blaine and the E Street Band. "This award gives us flexibility to dive into some things and recognize some people who might not ordinarily get recognized," Rock & Roll Hame of Fall Foundation present Joel Peresman explained in 2010. Jimmy Jamand Terry Lewis, the songwriting and production duo noted most for its work with Janet Jackson, will also be inducted in the musical excellence category.
The Ahmet Ertegun Award, formerly the non-performer category, will go to entertainment lawyer Allen Grubman, record executive Jimmy Iovine and singer and Sugar Hill Records founder Sylvia Robinson. The innovative blues guitarist Elizabeth Cotten and singer Harry Belafonte will be inducted as early influences.
The following artists received nominations in February, but did not secure induction: Beck, Kate Bush, Devo, Fela Kuti, MC5, New York Dolls, Rage Against the Machine, A Tribe Called Quest and Dionne Warwick.
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