Is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Listening to Fans?

One of our staff writers says that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (cover photo) in Cleveland is including too many non-Rock and Roll artists. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Daniel Peters 
Arts & Entertainment Staff Writer

Whitney Houston was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame performer category on Jan. 15 alongside Depeche Mode, The Doobie Brothers, Nine Inch Nails, The Notorious B.I.G. and T. Rex. But should they have made the final cut?

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is one of the most prestigious places to be inducted into for music. However, not all of the bands and artists found in the hallowed and historic halls are really considered rock; some are from genres that are deemed the opposite. While there are certainly world-renowned bands like Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Rush and Metallica, there are a fair amount of those who are in the Rock Hall that I believe shouldn’t be in there: ABBA, The Bee Gees, Tupac Shakur and Janet Jackson.

The genre of rock derives from jazz, rhythm and blues as well as country; however, I do not believe that just because certain artists fall under these influences or genres means they should be in the Rock Hall. The nominees this year that did not get inducted were Judas Priest, Motörhead, Soundgarden, MC5, Kraftwerk, Dave Matthews Band, Pat Benatar, Thin Lizzy and Rufus featuring Chaka Kahn. 

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The Rock Hall conducted a “fan ballot” so that fans could vote for who they wanted to see in the Hall of Fame. The top five at the close of the fan vote were Dave Matthews Band, Pat Benatar, The Doobie Brothers, Soundgarden and Judas Priest. 

It seems that the Rock Hall barely considered the fan votes when determining who got into the Hall of Fame, which is surprising because without the fans, the artists wouldn’t be popular enough to be considered worthy of the nomination. 

They also seem to have started including numerous bands and artists who are more mainstream, yet aren’t even rock. In order to be included in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, artists should have extreme rock and roll influence or be a rock band. Although Whitney Houston is a great artist, for example, she is not rock and therefore does not deserve to be in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

In addition, the Rock Hall needs to be more welcoming to artists in more subgenres of rock such as metal, punk and indie. Motörhead is considered to be the bridge between metal and punk, and Judas Priest has been a metal band as long as Black Sabbath (currently in the Hall of Fame) has been making metal music. Soundgarden should join Nirvana in the Rock Hall as one of the forefathers of grunge. 

Since artists are nothing without us – the fans and listeners – it should be up to the fans, not the committee, to induct bands and artists into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

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