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Surely I’m Not the Only One Who’s Noticed… December 17, 2011

…that this year’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame inductees are a bunch of white dudes, Laura Nyro (R.I.P.), and Slash?  Here’s the list of the lucky few:

  • Beastie Boys
  • Donovan
  • Guns N’ Roses
  • Laura Nyro
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • The Small Faces/The Faces
  • Freddie King (although he made the “early influences” category and not the main list of “performers” — i.e. the list of people actually deemed worthy of mention as inductees on the ray-dee-oh — so I don’t really know…but even with the inclusion of King, that gives us a grand total of three inductees this year who are not white dudes.  And only one of them — Slash — is alive to accept the honor)

Listen, I don’t deny that everyone inducted this year are great artists/groups, who all have at least one song that I enjoy (even the Red Hot Chili Peppers, who I respect as artists but never really got into personally, at least have “Under the Bridge”), and honestly, it’s about damn time Donovan made the list, especially since “Hurdy Gurdy Man” is basically what Led Zeppelin would have been if they’d had an elfin Scottish troubadour as their frontman rather than the virile golden god they ended up with.  But let’s take a look, for a second, at some of the nominees who didn’t get in this year…

  • The Cure
  • Eric B. and Rakim (who I admit I’d never heard of before, but according to the Hall of Fame’s website, they were a hugely influential hip-hop act from the mid-’80s.  Shows how much I know.)
  • Heart
  • Joan Jett and the Blackhearts (WTF — they’re not already in there yet?)
  • Rufus with Chaka Khan (Rufus being the name of the band Chaka got her start in.  Which I may have been made slightly aware of during an episode of Pop Up Video, but can’t remember.  Yet again, shows how much I know)
  • The Spinners
  • War (sing it with me now, “Low…ri…der…somethin’ somethin’ somethin’…doo-doo-doo-dadoo-doo-doo, dadoo-doo-doo-doo”)
  • Donna Summer

Yeah, so the list of nominees this year was not exactly lacking in diversity between races, sexes, and genres.  So it’s really quite odd that the select few who get to be inducted make up such a homogenous group.  It baffles me that acts like Heart, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, War (which is like a bazillion years old and definitely deserves some more recognition than “those guys who did the theme song for The George Lopez Show and whom Smash Mouth did a sub-par cover of”), and even Donna Summer (some arguments against Summer have been that “her music’s not rock ‘n’ roll, though”.  However, it’s clear that the Hall of Fame defines “rock ‘n’ roll” as “popular music from the birth of ‘true rock ‘n’ roll’ in the fifties onwards”, so Donna Summer’s inclusion would not be any less consistent with the Hall of Fame’s guidelines than, say, Madonna or the Jackson 5) have yet to make it into the Hall of Fame even when they’ve all been around quite a bit longer than Guns ‘n’ Roses, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, or the Beastie Boys (to be perfectly fair, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts as a band are only a few years older than GNR and RHCP, and are actually preceded by the Beastie Boys by at least one year.  However, Joan Jett’s career dates back to the mid-70s, and yet she’s completely absent thus far from the Hall of Fame.  So with or without the Blackhearts — who are those guys, anyway? — Joan Jett is way way way overdue for an induction, people).

Not that I don’t have more to say on the issue, but if I go any further I might never get this thing posted, and anyway this Hall of Fame thing is getting dangerously close to being old news now.  And frankly, I’m getting tired of making myself into a rage monster just thinking about the whole thing.  So for now, that’s all folks!