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The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Beclowns Itself (Again)

Latest inductees confirm everything wrong with Cleveland-based institution

Willie Nelson got an odd gift for his 90th birthday.

The country music legend learned he finally made the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame cut.


Is there any sane argument against the singer/songwriter’s legendary status? Did the Hall’s voters need another year of Nelson above ground to finally say, “It’s time?” Did they miss his decades-worth of essential songs, tours and collaborations?

And, by the way, isn’t he a country singer, not a rock ‘n’ roller?

Absurd. All of it.

Then again, absurdity rules this Hall, which officially opened its doors in 1995. The institution is meant to honor rock legends, but through the years it’s welcomed acts whose songs soar beyond the “rock” category.

Think this year’s nominees, including Nelson, Missy Elliott, Chaka Khan and “Soul Train’s” Don Cornelius. Do any of those names scream, “rock” to anyone?

It gets worse.

Bon Jovi, the band that brought the song “Bad Medicine” into existence, is enshrined in the Hall but Iron Maiden isn’t. A more embarrassing case of exclusion comes via the so-called Pre-Fab Four.

The Monkees remain uninvited despite their outsized impact on pop music. The faux band became the real deal, reportedly outsold the Beatles at its musical peak and enjoyed musical rebirths in both the ’80s and mid-2010s.

Their wacky TV show built on the Beatles’ visual legacy and became a precursor to MTV.

And the songs! So many perfect pop moments – think “Last Train to Clarksville,” “Daydream Believer,” “Sometime in the Morning,” “I’m a Believer,” “Shades of Gray” and “Pleasant Valley Sunday.” Even the deep cuts count, and the band’s 2016 “Good Times” album delivered more essential tracks.

The Monkees - Me & Magdalena (Official Audio)

No invitation as of yet.

The same holds true for the Indigo Girls, a tireless duo with a string of killer tracks and albums. They’re one of the most beloved touring acts around, and yet they still stand outside the Cleveland Hall.

Warren Zevon, Soundgarden and Joy Division also await their induction, assuming it ever happens. Maybe Hall voters are waiting until they each turn 90, which hits Zevon the hardest since he passed in 2003 at the age of 56.


Rock & Roll Hall of Fame chairman John Sykes accidentally summed up the institution’s irrelevance via this quote to Variety.

“Sometimes it takes a major moment like Willie’s 90th birthday or, in the case of Kate Bush, music being played in ‘Stranger Things’ to shine a light on them for a lot of younger people who didn’t know who she was in 1985; they probably weren’t even born yet.”

Good thing Nelson lived to be 90, otherwise his body of work might have gotten ignored.


The Baseball Hall of Fame is special, in large part, due to the brutal barrier to entry. Some of the best players of the modern era, including Curt Schilling and Don Mattingly, have yet to make the cut. The former’s political positions clearly play a role in his omission.

Other MLB giants excluded from the Hall include Lou Whitaker, Dale Murphy and Dwight Evans. That means getting a Hall pass means something significant to the culture and the sport.

The musicians who make the Hall cut? The honor means little in the long run. Perhaps that’s why we’ve seen inductee no-shows over the years, including three-fifths of Van Halen, Paul McCartney, Axl Rose and David Bowie.

To quote Bill Murray in the classic camp comedy “Meatballs” … it just doesn’t matter.

It Just Doesn't Matter! - Meatballs (6/9) Movie CLIP (1979) HD


  1. Rock & Roll H.O.F. has lost its identity.
    It needs to rebrand itself as the Popular Music H.O.F. Done.
    Enough embarrassing itself as the sham popularity contest which it has devolved into.

  2. Meanwhile the liberal Marxists Rage Against the Machine made it in. This day in age I’m really not surprised.

  3. The entire purpose of the hall is so reactionary cranks like you can piss and moan about what is and isn’t rock and roll and how embarrassing it is that “unworthy” artists are inducted while “worthy” artists aren’t.

    It’s a tourist trap museum and you fell for it.

  4. I am a musician and love Willie Nelson, Iron Maiden, some country, a bit of pop, some rap, jazz, and a huge blues fan from Muddy Waters to Stevie Ray Vaughan. Let’s simplify this matter. The baseball hall of fame has zero players from any other sport than baseball inducted into it’s s halls. That’s the way the “Rock and roll” hall of fame should have only inducted Rock artists. Too late, so change the name to Entertainment Hall of Fame.
    Then every Joe blow that toots a whistle or something can get in as long as it’s entertaining to enough people. Thanks!

  5. Hateful article, and responses. Yeah, the RnR Hall of Fame is a joke, but why do I need to read about it?

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