Here’s Why Dolly Parton Turned Down Super Bowl Halftime Show Many Times

Dolly Parton is no stranger to rejecting big offers. From politely declining Elvis Presley’s manager’s request for half the publishing of her iconic song ‘I Will Always Love You’ to initially turning down induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Parton knows exactly what she wants and what she doesn’t. But one of the most surprising rejections she’s made repeatedly is an invitation to perform at the Super Bowl Halftime Show.

In a recent exclusive interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Dolly Parton opened up about her reasons for turning down the Super Bowl Halftime gig, one of the high-profile live music opportunities of the year. “Oh, sure. I’ve been offered that many times,” Parton revealed.

Parton confessed, “I couldn’t do it because of other things, or I just didn’t think I was big enough to do it, to do that big of a production. When you think about those shows, those are big, big productions. I’ve never done anything with that big of a production. I don’t know if I could have. I think at the time, that’s what I was thinking.”

Image Courtesy: Rolling Stone

However, the tides might be turning. With her new album ‘Rockstar’ set to drop on 17th November, Parton seems to be reconsidering her stance on Super Bowl performances. This album sees her embracing rock music with a series of covers, including classics like The Rolling Stones’ ‘I Can’t Get No Satisfaction’ and Prince’s ‘Purple Rain.’ The singer said, “That might change. I might be able to do a production show now.”

While Parton may not have performed on the Super Bowl Halftime Show stage, she has played a role in Super Bowl halftime entertainment. In 2021, she reimagined her hit ‘9 to 5’ as ‘5 to 9’ for a Squarespace commercial that aired during the Super Bowl. 

Image Courtesy: Getty Images

From her countless Grammy wins to her numerous No. 1 hits on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, Parton’s impact is undeniable.

Parton’s latest project, the album ‘Rockstar,’ represents a significant departure from her country roots. With 30 songs, including originals and collaborations with music legends like Paul McCartney, Elton John, Stevie Nicks, Sting, Joan Jett, Ringo Starr, and many more, this album promises to be something new and refreshing. 

But perhaps the most surprising twist in Parton’s career trajectory is her induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Initially, she declined the offer, feeling that it didn’t align with her identity as a country artist. However, after gaining a deeper understanding of the Hall of Fame’s inclusivity and seeing a diverse range of musicians, from rappers like Jay-Z and The Beastie Boys to pop icons like Madonna and Janet Jackson, she had a change of heart. “They told me all the ways that people’s music has influenced other people around the world … and told me about other people that were in it besides rock. Then I accepted it,” Parton said.

Image Courtesy: People

Now, at 77 years old, Dolly Parton is set to release her rock ‘n’ roll album and embrace her newfound status as a rock star. We can’t wait to see what she does next.

-Britney Jones