It’s almost time for the announcement of the slate of nominees for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame class of 2017. A lot of discussion goes to specific acts that we want to or think we’ll see on that ballot, but this is a list of some things I’d like to see happen with the process itself.
“Artists—a group encompassing performers, composers and/or musicians—become eligible for induction 25 years after the release of their first record. Besides demonstrating unquestionable musical excellence and talent, inductees will have had a significant impact on the development, evolution and preservation of rock & roll.” –rockhall.com
Now for the just slightly less difficult second part of the “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.” You’d think “fame” would be pretty straightforward, but hey, this is the RRHOF.
Obviously, most people consider “Halls of Fame” to be shrines of the, well, famous. Reasonable enough. But if you read the mission statements of just about any of them, they almost invariably mention preservation of history and tradition and the recognition of achievement within that tradition (the Country Music HOF, interestingly, only mentions preservation of history).
“The definition of rock ‘n’ roll is very broad. When you have something that means so many different things to so many people, you’re never going to be able, in everyone’s opinion, to fill every gap or connect every dot.” – Joel Peresman, President, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation
There’s no shortage of people who’ll tell you that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is a travesty. Even those who can’t be bothered with its irrelevance will be sure to tell you just how little they can be bothered with its irrelevance. People argue about “Halls of Fame” all the time, but it’s usually about the how the mission gets carried out, not the sign over the door. The Rock Hall though—it manages to piss people off just with its name. So it seems fitting to start this blog with a look at that name and what it means (at least to me).
Of course, the reason most people will give you for the RRHOF (incorrect abbreviation form, but I like it) being irrelevant is because an act they feel strongly about isn’t in. Those who’ve paid some attention will tell you it’s because of nationalism, sexism and/or cronyism, and unfortunately there’s some truth in all of that. And the dinner…let’s not get started on the dinner. But for a very vocal and sizeable group, the unforgivable heresy is the inclusion of acts that “aren’t rock.” They’ve called out acts like Madonna, James Taylor and the Staple Singers, but the real venom is reserved for rap and hip hop, something most of them won’t even accept as music.
Here it is: the long-threatened blog.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (abbreviated RRHOF; not correct but so what) will be a recurring topic: it’s something I’m known to go on about at length so to spare my friends who been indulgent so far, I’m now venting to strangers.
Others have been covering this brilliantly for some time now both in blogs and at the Future Rock Legends site; I was indebted to them before my first keystroke. It’s my hope that this will be an avenue for interacting with and learning from knowledgeable people as much as, if not more than, for dumping my thoughts on the world.