The 60s Official Site Blog

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Monday, November 05, 2007

The Rock ' N Roll Hall of Fame Is Becoming a Farce

The Rock' N Roll Hall of Fame began with the induction of its first class January 23, 1986 which included legends Chuck Berry, James Brown, Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, Fats Domino, the Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, and Elvis Presley. A great class of inductees!!!

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation was created in 1983. However, it had no home. The search committee considered several cities, including Memphis (home of Sun Studios and Stax Records), Cincinnati (home of King Records), New York, and Cleveland. Cleveland lobbied hard to be chosen, citing the facts that one-time Cleveland disc jockey Alan Freed is widely credited with promoting the new genre (and the term) of "rock and roll", and that Cleveland was the location of the first rock and roll concert. Civic leaders in Cleveland pledged $65 million in public money to fund the construction. A petition drive was signed by 600,000 fans favoring Cleveland over Memphis, and a USA Today poll which Cleveland won by 100,000 votes. The hall of fame board voted to build the museum in Cleveland.

At the beginning the Hall of Fame began with great intentions but now especially after the 2007 vote and inductions it is clear that influence from Jann Wenner, publisher of Rolling Stone Magazine has undermined the concept of the Rock 'N Roll Hall of fame by overriding the vote and allowing Grandmaster Flash to enter the Hall of Fame just because the hall doesn't have a rapper inducted. Since when does Rap music fall in the same category as rock ' n roll? The induction of Grandmaster Flash insults the integrity of current members. The Dave Clark Five made the cut by making the top five vote but these results were overridden by Jann Wenner so the Dave Clark Five did not get inducted this year and allowing Grandmaster Flash to be inducted.

Currently, groups or individuals are qualified for induction 25 years after the release of their first record. Nominees should have demonstrable influence and significance within the history of rock and roll. Four categories are recognized: Performers, Non-Performers, Early Influences. The sad part is that the original intent of the Hall of fame is being ignored. Now groups are being inducted 15 years after their first record and many acts who are better and more deserving are ignored because of personal taste of Jann Wenner and writers who don't even have a clue about the history of rock 'n roll .

The Dave Clark Five are now scheduled to once again to be voted on by the committee in 2008. There has plenty of foul play calling involved but perhaps the Dave Clark Five will finally arrive in the Hall of Fame where they deserve to be. As far as Jann Wenner, who started Rolling Stone Magazine in 1967, he needs to let the unbiased voting occur and his personal tastes be set aside or the now tarnished Hall of Fame voting will not matter at all.

Continued Criticism of The Hall of Fame

The main criticism is that the nomination process is controlled by a few individuals, such as founder Jann Wenner, former foundation director Suzan Evans, and writer Dave Marsh, reflecting their tastes rather than the views of the rock world as a whole. A former member of the nominations board once said:

"At one point Suzan Evans lamented the choices being made because there weren't enough big names that would sell tickets to the dinner. That was quickly remedied by dropping one of the doo-wop groups being considered in favor of a 'name' artist ... I saw how certain pioneering artists of the 50s and early 60s were shunned because there needed to be more name power on the list, resulting in 70s superstars getting in before the people who made it possible for them. Some of those pioneers still aren't in today — but Queen is." Money Money Money As everything else in today's society money drives the train not integrity. The honesty and legitimacy of the Rock 'N Roll Hall of Fame is at stake. I thought it was a great idea when it started but now I am not so sure.

Petitions with tens of thousands of signatures were also being ignored and some groups that were signed with certain labels or companies or were affiliated with various committee members have even been put up for nomination with no discussion at all. So perhaps money is being passed under the table? I don't know about that but this is destroying the Hall of Fame.

Another criticism is that too many artists are inducted, allowing for several lesser acts to make it in. In fifteen years, 97 different artists have been inducted. A minimum of 50% of the vote is needed to be inducted, although the final percentages are not announced and a certain number of inductees (5 in 2007) is set before the ballots are shipped. This constitutes fraud especially to those who pays the large fee to visit the Hall of Fame.

I think Jann Wenner and his cronies should let history tell them who gets in, not their own personal tastes and their monetary intentions.

Any comments? Feel free to leave them.

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  • At 4:53 PM, Blogger Lisa said…

    Thanks for your interesting point of view. I agree with what you have written and it's a shame. I hope it will not totally derail the Hall of Fame, and that the nomination process can be righted. I always look forward to hearing the year's new crop of inductees, and it saddens me to think the voting process is corrupted. Absolute integrity is needed here.

    Lisa Kelly
    at the Jersey Shore

  • At 2:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I think bands need to be recognized and inducted into the R & R Hall of Fame while they are still able to perform. The number of hits, influence on and reaction to pop culture, music, lyrics, versatility and relevance should all be considered. How about letting the fans participate in the process! I think it is a travesty that Foreigner has not been inducted. They have it all and have defined an era and are still playing. Most of their songs are so relevant: "That Was Yesterday" is so powerful and emotionally relates life experiences and choices we've all lived through. Not to mention, it rocks with drive and pulls in several genres of style. "Jukebox Hero" -- the outside looking in; the desire to play music; to be a star -- the drive that takes over our psyches. So much more -- so many more songs -- so much influence!!


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