I almost feel that I need to preface this article before I continue. I am not some kind of music snob, nor am I somebody that believes that hard rock or metal is the only kind of music worth listening to. A quick look at my album collection and yes you will find things as extreme as Cannibal Corpse and you will find things as commercial as Green Day or Bon Jovi. Likewise when you come to genres nestled snugly away with albums by KISS and Metallica you’ll also find music from ABBA, Eminem right through to pop by Kylie Minogue and Pet Shop Boys. My Dad instilled one message into me when he started me on my musical journey and that was “There is good music in every genre, you just need to find it.”
So why the need for such a preface? Well basically because while I’m angry about some of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall Of Fame snubs I may say some things that might put some readers on the defensive about the kind of music that they listen to. It is a divisive topic so know now that I mean no offence.
Over the past twenty-four hours social media has blown up about this year’s Hall Of Fame inductees. Somehow the Dave Matthews Band managed to win the popular vote with millions of votes from the public but never actually made the final cut while the likes of Judas Priest, Soundgarden, Motorhead and Thin Lizzy were all given a royal snubbing. In fact the entire public voting system was treated as a joke this year with four out of the Top Five voted artists all missing out on actually being inducted.
When you consider that Judas Priest, Soundgarden, Motorhead and Thin Lizzy now join a list that includes the likes of Pat Benatar, Jane’s Addiction, New York Dolls, War, Rage Against The Machine, Todd Rundgren, Steve Winwood and Sting who have all been nominated but missed out on induction you begin to realise that the list of those who have missed out is almost as impressive as those who have made it.
Those artists not being in the Hall Of Fame while the likes of The Notorious B.I.G., Madonna and Whitney Houston are seems a little bit strange. After all this is supposed to be a rock ‘n’ roll Hall Of Fame while to me those artists firmly fall on the hip-hop, R&B and pop side of things. No disrespect meant to those artists but surely genre has to weigh into the decision at some point.
There is little doubt that the biggest travesty though has to be some of the bands that missed out this year. If Judas Priest, Motorhead and Thin Lizzy don’t deserve to be in the Hall Of Fame then who does? Those bands are not just some of the greatest and influential to ever exist in the rock world, they also changed the world of music forever. Let’s take a look at each band on their merits.
There is little doubt that Judas Priest are one of the greats. Since their inception in 1969 the Brits have sold over fifty million albums worldwide and, as Wacken found out a couple of years ago, are still as strong today as ever. The Grammy award winning Brits are currently completing their nineteenth studio album. Who knows maybe it takes twenty albums to land in a spot in the Hall Of Fame.
Then comes fellow Brits Motorhead. Lead by the legendary Lemmy Motorhead are considered the forefathers of British heavy metal. If there was ever a time for Motorhead to be inducted into the Hall Of Fame it is now – the band officially disbanded in 2015 after the tragic death of Lemmy. That same year saw the death of original drummer Phil Taylor while Eddie Clarke passed away in 2018 and Larry Wallis in 2019. With all founding members of Motorhead now sadly passed away this was the right time for them to rightfully find their way into the Hall Of Fame.
Last, but not least, comes Irish rockers Thin Lizzy. To many they are the band that penned the classic The Boys Are Back In Town but Thin Lizzy’s history goes a lot deeper than that. Bands such as Alice In Chains, Mastodon and Metallica have all declared that Thin Lizzy were a huge influence on them and their sound. The band also recorded twelve albums and have promised music fans that they are looking to re-form for some gigs in the future.
It might sound harsh but is it time to take another look at how artists are selected for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall Of Fame? The clear observations to come out of this year’s inductions are that it seems like the public vote counts for nothing and that artists who haven’t quite bided their time or fit the rock genre have somehow been inducted ahead of some of the true legends of the genre. The system seems broken and needs to be fixed as these snubs seem to as disrespectful as they unfair.
By Dave Griffiths