It’s official. Dolly Parton Rocks!
The country music legend was announced Tuesday as 2022 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inducteeanother industry kudo in a career full of accolades.
Although Parton, 76, initially opposed – tried to reject his nomination on social networks – appeared days before the announcement and said in an interview with NPR’s Morning Edition that if she were admitted, she would “accept graciously.”
To be sure, the Tennessee singer-songwriter isn’t the first country musician enshrined in the Cleveland rock pantheon. But the list to date consists largely of country pioneers whose art cemented the foundation on which rock ‘n’ roll built its home. They include Hank Williams, Jimmie Rodgers and Johnny Cash, not to mention Elvis Presley, whose vocal alchemy turned country and blues into rock.
Parton’s inclusion should open the doors to other greats who deserve it as well. Here are five bona fide country legends whose influence also extends far beyond Nashville and should be followed to Rock Hall:
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Garth Brooks, 60, is widely credited with infusing a rock attitude into country music shows, whether on the road at large arenas or in the confines of a Las Vegas residence. Beyond the sheer volume of his multimillion-dollar sales, which put him in the same company as Elvis and The Beatles, Brooks is already enshrined in the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and at 58 years was the youngest winner in history. of the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song from the Library of Congress.
The crossover appeal of Brooks’ work was evident in 1991, when his third album, “Ropin’ the Wind,” entered the Billboard album chart at No. 1, a first for a country artist. If ever there was a country musician whose vision of himself went far beyond the boundaries of his genre, it’s Brooks.
Although Patsy Cline died in a plane crash at age 30, her legacy as a music pioneer was sealed by indelible performances on songs like “I Fall to Pieces” and the Willie Nelson-penned standard “Crazy.” Though Cline is inextricably linked to country music (she unabashedly pioneered the cowboy hat-and-jeans look for women), the crossover appeal of her soaring whiny voice defied categorization of her.
Regardless of her musical gifts, Cline was a tough-as-nails woman who was undaunted by her male-dominated industry and fully committed to going her own way. Long before the women’s rights movement, Cline set a template for hard rock iconoclasts ranging from Joan Jett to Ann and Nancy Wilson.
Willie Nelson’s career arc is incredibly long, resulting in a pop culture influence that is unique among country musicians. Nelson, 89, started out as a flawless singer-songwriter, but as the counterculture took hold, he took a rebellious stance. Long, often braided hair, a red bandana, a battered nylon-string guitar, lots of weed—it all added up to a look and vibe that oozed originality.
Nelson was particularly high in the ’70s, with hits like “On the Road Again” and “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain,” and friends in important places, including President Jimmy Carter. Nelson played to stadium crowds when that was not the norm for most country artists, proving that his musical and personal influence was universal.
The late Glen Campbell’s best-known song is a whining tune that seems rooted in Central America. “Wichita Lineman” was joined by equally evocative hits like “Southern Nights” and “Galveston” that would seem to root the handsome singer, who died in 2017 at 81, squarely in the country.
But Campbell’s Rock Hall’s credentials were established long before that success. Campbell and his unrivaled guitar were part of the legendary Wrecking Crew, Los Angeles studio musicians who quietly pounded out the beats to an impossibly long list of rock ‘n’ roll hits, including “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’.” by the Righteous Brothers, “Mary, Mary” by The Monkees and “Caroline, No” by the Beach Boys.
Kris Kristofferson is a bit of a Renaissance man. Actor, singer and songwriter, Kristofferson was a cornerstone of the Nashville scene whose lyrics and soulful deliveries left audiences breathless on songs like “Sunday Morning Coming Down” and “Help Me Make It Through the Night.”
But what makes the 85-year-old Kristofferson so much more than a country legend is the wide range of his work. Topics include politics (“They killed him” and the singer mourns the loss of great leaders), show business (“To Beat the Devil” reviews the cutthroat music industry) and friendship (“Good Morning John” was a message his friend Johnny Cash, plagued by addictions). But Kristofferson’s most enduring tune was by Janis Joplin, who changed the genre of “Me and Bobby McGee” and made it immortal.