Cosmic Slop #12: A sort-of defence of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

By Shaun Ponsonby
Thu 09 April, 2015

As the often lamented Rock & Roll Hall of Fame readies it’s 2015 ceremony, Shaun Ponsonby feels the need to defend it’s existence. Ish. 

Originally published on Getintothis

Next week sees the 30th annual Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Cleveland. Almost universally despised by the fans of said rock & roll, any mention of the Hall of Fame in on online article is usually followed by pages and pages of comments bemoaning an evening of old people slapping each other on the back for a job well done.

In fairness, it’s no more wince-worthy than just about any other awards show you’ll ever see. If anything, it’s a bit less nauseating because it’s not pretending to be anything more. It very much is a bunch of old people enjoying a metaphorical circle jerk.

I’ve developed a habit of defending the Hall from the naysayers. Not because what they say isn’t true (most of the time), but because of some of the people who are honoured.

The dog eat dog world of the music industry leaves so many people by the wayside. As much as I sincerely don’t need to see stadium-filling megastars like Bono or Jagger saying “thank you for confirming my genius” as much as the TV network showing the ceremony does, I actually like seeing some others being honoured who don’t often get their time in the spotlight.

There are so many people who signed bad contracts, didn’t make any money and don’t get a lot of mainstream attention. All these guys really have to confirm that what they did mattered is the adulation of their peers. Someone like Bobby “Blue” Bland or The Young Rascals would probably fit into that category.

Furthermore, it’s all culturally significant. I’m willing to go along with the argument that it’s important to preserve the more noteworthy musicians of the rock & roll era for historical purposes (obviously I’m not talking literally, I’m not sure how many people would want to go into a museum and see the corpse of Liberace on display in formaldehyde).

Some of the criticisms are justifiable. One of this year’s inductees, Joan Jett, has called upon the Hall of Fame to induct more women, which they absolutely should.

But many of the other arguments strike me as utterly ridiculous. Reading comments on actual rock websites, up until last year when they were finally inducted, KISS fans seemed to be particularly vocal about their dislike of the Hall. One of their main arguments were that hip hop acts, such as Grandmaster Flash, Public Enemy and Run-DMC had been inducted into the Hall of Fame, and they shouldn’t have been because they’re not rock and roll.

Well…if we’re being pedantic, then neither are KISS. They’re glam rock. Rock & roll is Duane Eddy, Elvis, Chuck Berry et al. It may be derivative of rock & roll, but rock & roll it ain’t. If you solely want rock & roll in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame then it starts and bloody ends there. It’s pretty fucking obvious to anyone other than the Scarecrow from The Wizard of Oz that the name Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is symbolic more than anything else. The real argument is that “boo-hoo! My favourite band isn’t being honoured”.

Rock & roll means many things to many people. Hip hop, along with soul music or reggae or funk, have all been incredibly influential to the music that followed it. Are you telling me that Rage Against the Machine weren’t influenced by hip hop? That Bruce Springsteen wasn’t influenced by soul music? That The Clash weren’t influenced by reggae? That Red Hot Chilli Peppers weren’t influenced by funk? If you seriously believe that the fabric of rock & roll isn’t woven with all these wonderful genres, then please, never listen to music again. You’re an ill-educated imbecile and would probably be better off listening to Now That’s What I Call ‘Shut the Fuck Up’.

Some artists have spoken out against the concept too, often for the way the surprisingly opaque voting takes place. The Sex Pistols famously called it a “piss stain”, Ozzy Osbourne once said he wouldn’t accept a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction (until he received a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction with Black Sabbath in 2006, when he changed his mind), and Motley Crue’s Nikki Sixx, who for some reason thinks his band are lauded enough to be nominated, said that he doesn’t care about the HoF because when speaking to younger folk he finds that they consider it “a joke”.

I’m not sure how true that is. From my experience, younger folk don’t have any strong feelings about the HoF either way. Why? Because you need to be around for 25 years until you’re even eligible for induction. How many of “da kidz” are going to be excited about seeing Little Anthony & The Imperials win an award? In 25 years when the music that is important to them is being talked about, maybe things would be different.

Or maybe not. It is validation for people who have been around for a long time and weathered the storm in perhaps the most cutthroat industry of them all. Frankly, maybe some of them deserve a little slap on the back.

What I don’t get is why people hate it so much. Some people seem to feel like it’s the world’s biggest evil, and become possessed by a demon of unimaginable ire and uncontrollable malevolence over the issue. Why? It doesn’t affect your life in the slightest. Have a lie down and chill.


Transvestite 80s heavy metal band Twisted Sister are to hit the road with prog metal Dream Theatre‘s Mike Portnoy in place of the recently deceased AJ Pero. The very idea of seeing Portnoy in drag is making me giddy already. At the very least, you want a drag queen who looks like they take a bath once in a while.

Jason Derulo has announced a new album. Is he still going? I’m convinced his signing and success is a form of trolling.

Avril Lavigne said that suffering from Lyme disease has inspired her to write a Christmas album. That sentence is so bizarre that I can’t be bothered to insult it, so please feel free to finish this sentence yourself: “That is so ________________________ ”

Get well soon Joni Mitchell and BB King.