Music News

Does the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Matter At All?

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You Have To Be Old To Get In

There are only two rules to getting into the museum: first and Foremost, the vague notion of having "the influence and significance of the artist's contributions to the development and perpetuation of rock and roll." Second, you have to be halfway to the grave. Yeah, you can't be inducted unless your first recording was released more than 25 years ago. 25 years? That's only five years away from violating the sacred "Never trust anyone over 30" rule.

So let's say Jack White (he's pretty rock n' roll, right?) wanted to join this league of useless congratulations. He'd have to wait until 2024, when he'll be just shy of 50. He has to have grandkids, all kinds of back problems, and budding signs of Alzheimer's and then he gets to get his award? Whether you like Jack or not, there's no doubt he's done something to the revival of rock in the past 15 years, yet the Hall expects us not to recognize this for another 12 years? What's the point?

This also means the museum is hardly definitive and entirely retrospective, which is a problem. Taking years to recognize The Yardbirds over Aretha Franklin (as beautiful and talented as she is, she's doesn't rock) is a serious error in judgment. This year's failure to recognize Kraftwerk, a band that has undeniably influenced hip-hop, pop, and EDM -- you know, the genres that are super-popular today -- in favor of Donna Summer, is idiotic. Then again, they'll likely just amend this next year, as they've always done, making the whole thing seem that much more arbitrary.

It's in Cleveland, Ohio.

Remember, this is Rock 'n' Fuckin' Roll. The coolest thing that probably ever happened so that our grandparents could get laid. Some of the cities considered for inclusion were Memphis, Detroit, Cincinnati, and New York City. They chose Cleveland. Los Angeles, San Francisco, New Orleans and Seattle were all given the finger, and they chose Cleveland.

Cleveland might have actually been a good choice because it isn't already inflated with self-importance like certain other cities, but then why did they keep holding the annual induction ceremony in New York City? Oh, maybe 'cuz Cleveland ponied up $65 million in public moola to get the Hall built there. Hope you Ohio taxpayers feel good about that mistake.

In all actuality, Cleveland isn't that bad of a town, but it seriously lacks the balls-to-the-wall oomph of a true rock n' roll city. The main excuse for this faux pas was that Cleveland DJ Alan Freed helped coin the term "rock n' roll." The Hall failed to mention his involvement in two counts of commercial bribery that ruined his career. Speaking of which...

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Troy Farah is an independent journalist and documentary field producer. He has worked with VICE, Fusion, LA Weekly, Golf Digest, BNN, Tucson Weekly, and Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Troy Farah