I was having a nice week. Some new business opportunities, great parking Karma, and some good catchup calls with old friends. And I was looking forward to today. As you loyal JacoBLOG readers know, I've designated Thursday most weeks as #TBT where I get to dredge up an older post, rerun it with a new intro, and call it good.
You're getting original content today for only one reason and one reason only:
I am a hopeless sucker the day after Cleveland's Rock & Roll Hall of Fame publishes its list of new nominees for the year. Even though I know their list of honorees will piss me off, and cause turbulence on my social media pages, I foolishly write a blog post bludgeoning their system.
But it's hopeless, I know that by now. And it seems like with each passing year, the powers that be on their nominees committee get more and more outrageous. That stimulates WTF?! posts from journalists and bloggers like me, social media goes nuts, and an institution that has no right to revel in its absurd choices elicits tons of attention – not for making good choices, but for continually making absurd ones.
This year's poster girl for their inane honor goes to a remarkable woman, musician, actress, and entertainer – Dolly Parton.
She is a humanitarian. You probably remember the story she made a $1 million contribution to COVID-19 vaccine research that ended up as the Moderna shots. She's spunky, fun, talented, and a national treasure.
But she's NOT a rock ‘n roller!
Maybe even she would tell you that. Dolly was inducted in the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1999. According to Wikipedia, “she has had 25 songs reach no. 1 on the Billboard country music charts, a record for a female artist (tied with Reba McEntire). She has 44 career Top 10 country albums, a record for any artist, and she has 110 career-charted singles over the past 40 years.”
But the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame?
And then there's Lionel Richie, another fabulous, accomplished artist. But in the same list of nominees with the MC-5, the New York Dolls, Eminem, and Fela Kuti??
I get it – the Hall aspires to be about the celebration of all music, regardless of genre. But if that's the case, where is Count Basie, John Coltrane, Frank Sinatra, and Leonard Bernstein? If we're going to honor great musicians, artists, players, and singers, why draw any lines? Miles Davis is the only jazz artist to make the cut?
This institution is a living, breathing branding error. It's false advertising. And it screams the place simply has lost its compass (or perhaps never had it to begin with).
And in the bigger picture of institutions that honor their best, it makes no sense.
Would the Country Hall of Fame induct Led Zeppelin?
Would the Jazz Hall of Fame nominate AC/DC?
Would the Baseball Hall of Fame honor Tom Brady?
No, because these things make no more sense than the idiocy the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame does each and ever year – without fail. I'm not the only one out there who feels like Charlie Brown this morning.
I know frustrated rockers will at least be happy Pat Benatar (and many other women) somehow made the cut after years of being ignored. So there's that.
But the list of rockers with huge success and influence – with the hit singles and albums to show for it – have never been nominated would make your head spin.
Among others, Bad Company, Boston, ELP, the J. Geils Band, and my personal head scratcher, Peter Frampton. There are inherent biases – and politics – inside all these organizations. That's to be expected. But many of these snubs are inexplicable, arbitrary, petty, and seem to almost be calculated decisions to annoy music fans.
They're just the tip of the iceberg. The longer list would make a great radio station.
At a time when everything has been disrupted, is it too much to ask for a little sanity from the Rock Hall? A list of nominees next year that doesn't elicit WTFs and eyerolls? Even the Grammys occasionally get it right.
And oh yeah, if the Hall could release its 2023 honorees on a Friday next year, that would be greatly appreciated.
You should know that many very smart observers of music – and this institution – will take exception to my comments. Erica Banas is one of them. She is the talented and capable Senior Digital Content Editor for the Beasley Media Group. And she's a very practiced writer with a point of view. And hers is opposed to mine, which is why it is linked here below.
Like some in the music industry, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is viewed as a melting pot of music – not just limited to those you hear on rock radio stations. Erica feels strongly the “branding argument” I've made in this post is shopworn, banal, and misses the bigger point. As you'll read, she also avers the Rock Hall's eclectic nominating process has been in place since its beginnings, and she lists the first five years of inductees to make her point. And finally, she believes the “Music Hall of Fame” is a lame name – and I think she's right.
I urge you to take a few extra minutes to read Erica's post. – FJ
Here's the video announcing this year's nominees, presented by the Rock Hall's President/CEO Greg Harris:
- Radio Broadcasters Don't Know Doodly-Squat About Gen Zs - June 29, 2022
- Alexa, Can You Overcome Amazon's Marketing Debacles? - June 28, 2022
- Creatures Of Radio Habit - June 27, 2022