On September 27th the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced the list of nominees for the 2012 Induction ceremony. The twelve nominees are: Guns N’ Roses, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Heart, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, Rufus with Chaka Khan, Beastie Boys, The Cure, Donovan, Erik B. & Rakim, The Small Faces/The Faces, Laura Nyro, Freddie King, The Spinners, Donna Summer, and War. This year’s nominees show the Rock Hall’s continued move towards musical diversity, with more hip-hop groups added to the list of nominees than in previous years. One of the big surprises for me on this list was the fact that Heart was not already in the Rock Hall, perhaps in my study of the inductions I simply assumed that they had already been inducted in some year. No doubt that the pushes for the number of female artists come from the Rock Hall’s current feature exhibit: “Women Who Rock: Vision, Passion, Power.”
For those who do not know, the induction process is a multi-step process, which I will outline here. First, in early September, the nomination meeting is held in New York City. A few members of the Rock Hall staff, musicians, music journalists, music scholars, and industry insiders each bring 10-12 names to the table. After a course of two days the list is whittled down to the final 12-14. Between announcing the nominees in late September and announcing the inductees in December, ballots are sent out to journalists, scholars, industry insiders, and every living member of the Rock Hall. These people then vote on who will be inducted. The induction ceremony is the held in either mid-March or early April.
So someone who understands this process tell me…How the hell are heavy metal and progressive (prog) rock constantly ignored by what seems to be the people who know very well the two genres impact on the development of rock and roll, and popular music as a whole? Off the top of my head: Judas Priest, Motörhead, Iron Maiden, Deep Purple, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, and Yes have never even been nominated for induction! KISS, one of the most iconic rock bands in the world and famous for developing stage theatrics, were nominated once, but did not make the cut. Then there is everybody’s favorite axe to grind: Rush. One of rock’s most influential groups has never been considered for nomination to the Rock Hall, a feat that earns the Rock Hall their greatest share of hate mail/email. Some of rock’s most direct offshoots have been pushed aside for what some might consider being the farthest thing from rock and roll. I know, from my time working at the museum, they try to be non-exclusive when it comes to “what is rock and roll,” but being a fan, I cannot help but grind my teeth and turn my eyes to the heavens in protest, every time I see that metal and prog continue to be ignored in favor of hip-hop.
While who you want in is dependent on your musical preferences, the history books and musician’s testimonies do not lie. These artists have been major players in the development of rock and roll, yet they continued to be ignored. All I am saying is that they deserve their time in the spotlight, having been ignored and devalued by critics and the industry for decades. As fans, we want to see our heroes given their due credit.
– Jackson Sinnenberg, host of Sinn 6:66, a classic rock radio show, Fridays at 6pm-7pm on WGTB