Dolly Parton famously (twice!) declined an invitation to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Donald Trump. It turns out she also rejected a similar overture from President Joe Biden.
The Today Show’s Jacob Soboroff recently interviewed Parton recently to promote her upcoming album Rockstar. While the singer didn’t discuss her decision not to accept the Presidential Medal of Freedom on camera, Soborof told The Today Show colleagues that it stemmed from her desire not to be associated with any particular party. “I just don’t want even the appearance of being partisan in any way,” he recalled her saying.
Parton did discuss her distrust of the modern political system in general, however. After Soborof read an uncharacteristically biting lyric from Parton’s new song “World on Fire” (“Greedy politicians present and past/ They wouldn’t know the truth if it bit ’em in the ass”), he asked which politicians the song was about.
“All of em! Any of em!” Parton replied. “I don’t think any of ’em are trying hard enough. I’m sure they’re all trying, but I just really think that, often, they worry more about their party than they do about the people. If we just do what we felt was the right thing, rather than who’s gonna lose, who’s gonna win this, who’s gonna look better if they do this, rather than working from the heart.”
Though she’s remaining mum on her partisan ties (if she has any), “World on Fire” still marks Parton’s most political statement to date. The track appears on Rockstar, which she was inspired to make after receiving another major accolade: enshrinement into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The 30-track rock album is comprised of nine original songs and covers of rock ‘n’ roll classics like Prince’s “Purple Rain,” Blondie’s “Heart of Glass,” and Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven.” Joining her are a who’s-who of rock royalty, including Debbie Harry, Elton John, and Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr. Rockstar is out November 17th, and pre-orders are ongoing.
“Greedy politicians present and past, they wouldn’t know the truth if it bit ‘em in the ass.”
Absolutely loved talking to @DollyParton about her new single off her rock album and spending time with her at Dollywood.
Here’s our full @TODAYshow report. pic.twitter.com/KTCAi9F1O2
— Jacob Soboroff (@jacobsoboroff) May 15, 2023