I just can’t call it the “Rock & Roll” Hall of Fame anymore.
The performer category boasts a stacked lineup of inductees gaining entrance: Kate Bush, the art rock cult fave whose idiosyncratic and undersung impact was propelled into the mainstream by an inescapable Stranger Things sync in 2022; Sheryl Crow, the rootsy yet polished hitmaker who draws on rock, folk, country and pop; Missy Elliott, the forward-thinking hip-hop mastermind behind a string of mind-bending classic albums; George Michael, the blue-eyed soul pop king who died in 2016; Willie Nelson, an outlaw country exemplar turned beloved elder statesman; Rage Against the Machine, a politically motivated rap-rock firebrand force; and The Spinners, a long-running vocal group who achieved their greatest success as a smooth soul outfit in the ‘70s.Billboard: The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Reveals Class of 2023
This isn’t a “white guy hates rap” rant. I love me some Missy Elliott. The Spinners are faves of mine. I even dig a lot of George Michael. And of course, Willie Nelson is my idol.
But they ain’t rock & roll artists.
We’re not going to see Rage Against the Machine’s induction into the Country Hall of Fame. Sheryl Crow’s not going into the Jazz Hall of Fame. No chance for Kate Bush in the Hip Hop Hall of Fame.
Why does only the Rock Hall have to be for all types of popular music?
I appreciated Dolly Parton last year trying to bow out of her nomination, explaining she’s not a rock star.
Because like another issue I obsess about lately, it doesn’t seem fair to actual rock artists who may be losing a spot in the Hall (and commercial opportunities that come with it) because nominations are open to so many more-popular non-rockers.
For instance, does a Randy Bachman lack one (Bachman-Turner Overdrive) or two (The Guess Who) spots in the Hall because his bands got overlooked while Dr. Dre was being inducted?
This year, Warren Zevon, Iron Maiden, and Soundgarden (all rockers) were nominated, all with years of eligibility (25 years after first release, which was 1969, 1980, & 1988, respectively), but first-time nominee Missy Elliott (not a rocker) is inducted, her debut being in 1997.
Really? A Rock & Roll Hall of Fame lacking Warren Zevon, who’s been eligible for three years before Missy Elliott ever saw a recording studio?
Iron Maiden’s been nominated twice, following a career spanning seventeen albums selling 130 million copies, sold-out tours from 1980 to today, and still recording new material.
Rap isn’t rock. Country isn’t rock. Pop isn’t rock. Jazz isn’t rock. Blues isn’t rock. Call it the Commercial Music Hall of Fame or the Popular Music Hall of Fame. Let Rock have a Hall of Fame that’s for Rock, so maybe some actual rockers deserving of their place can have it.
Like Missy should have in the Rap Hall, Willie in the Country Hall, George in the Pop Hall, and The Spinners in the R&B Hall.