Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Just hearing that makes the hairs on my arms stand on end. Music has played an important role in my life. To honor those who’ve blessed us with their talents seems like a no brainer to me.
I love everything about the Hall so much, I had the foundation’s trademark logo tattooed on my arm!
Rock ‘n’ roll is something we all can love and appreciate - and for various reasons. It isn’t only one thing Rock music is a culmination of all styles and influences coming together.
The “rock era” was born primarily out of earlier eras consisting of country, jazz, folk and blues.
I find it disheartening to see and hear some of the nominated artists of late being criticized as not being “rock ‘n’ roll.” It’s crazy to me. Like anything else, music evolves.
For example, take the first group of inductees, who entered the hall Jan. 23, 1986: Elvis Presley, James Brown, Little Richard, Fats Domino, Ray Charles, Chuck Berry, Sam Cooke, The Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis, Robert Johnson, Jimmie Rodgers and Jimmy Yancey. You have a good mix of artists there: some rock, some pop, some soul, some blues and some country.
The following year, The Coasters, Eddie Cochran, Bo Diddley, Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, Bill Haley, B.B. King and Clyde McPhatter were inducted, as were Ricky Nelson, Smokey Robison, Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison, Big Joe Turner, Muddy Waters and Jackie Wilson.
These artists embodied a multitude of styles and do not conform to one genre. That’s the power of rock ‘n’ roll. So, why the fuss now over who gets nominated?
Because the criteria for induction is specific, an artist becomes eligible 25 years after the release of their first record. That means any artist who released an album before 1994 is now eligible. Is that so hard to understand?
There have been numerous pioneering artists throughout the rock ‘n’ roll era who have not been nominated. As time goes on, as more performers reach their 25th year, we are going to see “newer” artists getting nominated.
I remember there was some backlash when Madonna was nominated and ultimately voted into the hall on her first nomination. Madonna is the epitome of a music icon. She deserved it. Her music changed a generation. She embodied female empowerment in the music business unseen before her time.
The 1980s was one of the best decades for music. We saw stars from the ’70s become superstars in the ’80s, like Michael Jackson, Rod Stewart, Olivia Newton-John, Lionel Richie, Tina Turner, Billy Joel, Elton John and Bruce Springsteen. At the same time, it was a decade of mega-superstars, such as Janet Jackson, Whitney Houston, Prince, Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, Metallica, George Michael, U2, Phil Collins and Gloria Estefan,
The early ’90s followed much the same way. Mariah Carey came out of nowhere in 1990 and rewrote almost every one of the record books. Now, she’s eligible for induction. I’m surprised we haven’t seen her nomination yet.
Those of you struggling with today’s nominations need to take a breath and realize we’re all in this together. Perhaps take some of the pent-up energy and go to www.rockhall.com and join the fan vote. You may vote for up to five artists from the nominees: Pat Benetar, Dave Matthews Band, Depeche Mode, The Doobie Brothers, Whitney Houston, Judas Priest, Kraftwerk, MC5, Motorhead, Nine Inch Nails, The Notorious B.I.G., Rufus feat. Chaka Khan, Todd Rundgren, Soundgarden, T. Rex, and Thin Lizzy. You might have a say about who goes in to the Rock Hall after all.
David T. Farr can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.