The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Makes No Sense
What is Rock and Roll?
This will not be a hot take or even an original take. I don’t understand the criteria for what constitutes “rock and roll” in the eyes of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
The latest list of potential inductees has surfaced. It includes Mary J. Blige, Kate Bush, Devo, Foo Fighters, the Go-Go’s, Iron Maiden, Jay-Z, Chaka Khan, Carole King, Fela Kuti, LL Cool J, New York Dolls, Rage Against the Machine, Todd Rundgren, Tina Turner, and Dionne Warwick.
Of this list, basically half are actual rock and roll artists: Devo, Foo Fighters, the Go-Go’s, Iron Maiden, New York Dolls, Rage Against the Machine, and Todd Rundgren. Solo Tina Turner is borderline, but I’d still say she’s more pop and soul than rock and roll no matter who calls her the “Queen of Rock and Roll” (She isn’t). Besides, she’s already in the Hall as part of Ike and Tina Turner, which is where all of her real “rock and roll” work was done.
Kate Bush is pretty and artsy and so not rock and roll. Dionne Warwick and Chaka Khan are R&B artists. Mary J. Blige, Jay-Z, LL Cool J are rap artists. Fela Kuti is a world music/afrobeat artist. Carole King is already in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for songwriting, which she’s most known for, not as an artist.
Looking at the whole list, the artists who deserve to go in are the Go-Go’s, Iron Maiden, and Todd Rundgren. The rest of the real rock and roll contingent should wait. I’m sure I could be persuaded regarding the Foo Fighters and Rage Against the Machine, but there’s no way it should include the New York Dolls or Devo.
Obviously, the rest should not even be considered. As I’ve indicated above, they aren’t rock and roll artists and should not be included in a hall of fame that recognizes rock and roll artists. For example, you wouldn’t see the Foo Fighters as nominees to be inducted into the Rap Artists Hall of Fame. Or the Beatles, for that matter.
Who should be in and are criminally overlooked? Paul Revere & The Raiders, Tommy James & the Shondells, Foreigner, Bad Company, Thin Lizzy, Humble Pie, Grand Funk Railroad, and the MC-5.
I rest my case.