The “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame” in the ex-industrial city of Cleveland (Ohio) is housed in an ambitious fantasy building. The architect was none other than the Chinese-American construction guru Ieoh Ming Pei, who died in 2019. The legendary entrance pyramid of the Louvre in Paris or the extension of the German Historical Museum in Berlin are also his responsibility. So cosmopolitan architecture for the (US) music business.
Since 1986, the “most important and influential” musicians, producers and personalities in the rock’n’roll environment have been chosen for the temple-like building. And thus “canonized” for eternity. A limited number of new heroes and heroines are added every year. The rules of the Hall of Fame stipulate that a recording can be made no earlier than 25 years after the release of the honoree’s first sound carrier.
A committee of music historians and biz people oversees the selection. Since it was founded in 1986, the “Hall of Fame” has only existed as an institution for around ten years, starting in the New York VIP Hotel Walldorf Astoria. In September, the “Hall” was given a permanent location in Cleveland with the fancy Rock’n’Roll Museum.
What exactly is awarded?
As laid down in the founding texts of the “Hall of Fame”, it is about the “most successful, most innovative and most important bands, singers, sidemen and producers who had ever put together a few notes”, according to the US rock online portal ” Grunge” summarizes loosely.
Since 1986, the likes of The Beatles, Bob Dylan, James Brown, Prince, Tom Petty, The Ramones, Green Day, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Stevie Nicks and hundreds more have been honored. Controversy over selection has always existed. In addition, all sorts of scandals, cheating and aberrations of taste. The intensity of the debate has steadily increased over the years.
At the moment it’s about a dispute that revolves around the disregard of various metal bands. There is also lively discussion among readers of ROLLING STONE (Germany). It’s also about the extent to which more up-to-date varieties such as hip-hop, techno or house belong in a rock temple. The jury committee of the “Hall of Fame” recently reacted with a statement that updated the in-house “diversity” preamble.
The occasion was the announcement of the nominees, which the “Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation” announced for a possible admission in the current year 2023:
- Kate Bush
- Sheryl Crow
- Missy Elliot
- Iron Maiden
- Joy Division/New Order
- Cyndi Lauper
- Willie Nelson
- Rage Against the Machine
- The Spinners
- A Tribe Called Quest
- The White Stripes
- Warren Zevon
Eight of the 14 nominees are voting for the first time, including Sheryl Crow, Missy Elliott, Joy Division/New Order, Cyndi Lauper, George Michael, Willie Nelson, The White Stripes and Warren Zevon.
“This remarkable list of nominees reflects the diversity of artists and music that the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame honors and celebrates,” said John Sykes, Chairman of the Foundation. “These artists have created their own sound that has shaped generations and influenced countless others who have followed in their footsteps.”
Metal has been very underrepresented so far
Probably due to public pressure from metal fans, Iron Maiden are once again in the preselection. In a new interview with podcast magazine Audacy, Hall of Fame President Greg Harris spoke about the “fall” of Britain’s hard & heavy veterans.
“We discussed the fact that Warren Zevon is now one of the nominees, which is a piano-playing songwriter. And on the other side Iron Maiden’s guitar attacks. For me it’s exciting – and really fun. Maiden have been nominated before. We hope internally that after the success that JUDAS PRIEST had last year, the MAIDEN boys will also be finally accepted. In any case, we are thrilled that they are on the voting slip…”
Those chosen will be announced in May 2023—and then inducted into the hallowed halls in a ceremony in the fall of 2023.