By Maggie Turkovich
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has just recently released their list for the 2017 inductee nominations. Some of the more notable nominees are Pearl Jam, The Cars, Journey and Depeche Mode. Then there are some of the more surprising possible inductees, such as Janet Jackson, Chaka Khan and Tupac Shakur. This has caused quite an uproar because these artists are not traditional rock and roll musicians.
It is true that some of the earlier inductees into the Hall of Fame are not viewed as stereotypical rock artists, but those musicians were the influencers that shaped what rock and roll is today. Currently, what is considered rock and roll is much more outlined than back in the 1950’s, the era of the Hall of Fame’s first round of inductees.
It seems that in recent years the nominating committee has been using the term rock and roll much more loosely. Artists that are considered to be part of the genres of R&B, rap, pop, and other non-rock styles have been nominated and even inducted into the Hall. Part of the reason that musicians of all types have been nominated may be due to the fact that the main criteria for nomination is simply that the artist’s first single or album had been released 25 years prior. Then 600 “experts” on rock and roll vote and decide who should be inducted, with the addition of a public vote being added in 2011.
The nominating and induction process is so subjective that it is no surprise that musicians of all kinds are inducted. It is not wrong for artists of all genres to be recognized for their achievements, but it has been noted that oftentimes different subgenres of rock are completely ignored and are outshined by performers who are not technically rock and roll. If the desire is just to celebrate the success of various musicians in the industry for their achievements in the world of music, then it should be renamed the Music Hall of Fame, seeing as the Rock and Roll part has become somewhat of a misnomer.
Only time will tell if the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will continue to induct rappers, pop artists, R&B performers, and others to the list of prestigious names of rock and roll history. If this is the case, however, perhaps the Hall’s name should be changed. The fate of real rock and roll artists now lays in the hands of a few hundred so-called experts and the general public.