Opinion: The hall of shame

Mike Crissman

Mike Crissman

Mike Crissman is a junior newspaper journalism major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected]

Recent decisions by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, regarding which musical groups get in and which stay out, have been more disgusting than the polluted lake the museum sits next to in Cleveland.

The fact that there have been 296 inductees into the Hall of Fame and none of them are the great Canadian rock band Rush is a tragedy. The egregious omission of the guys that brought us “Tom Sawyer,” “YYZ” and countless other gems is proof enough that the so called “Hall of Fame” isn’t as credible as it claims. How many more “I Love You, Man”-like movies need to be made before Rush gets the recognition it deserves?

The museum is supposed to honor artists who have influenced the music industry through the rock genre. For the record, hip hop is not rock ‘n’ roll. Inducting acts like Grandmaster Flash and Run DMC calls the actual name of the museum into question. If it was the “Music Hall of Fame,” that would be fine, but it’s not. I enjoy rap as much as anyone else my age. “To the window, to the wall, to the sweat drop down my . . .” It’s all good. It just has nothing to do with the aforementioned genre.

I understand rock ‘n’ roll can be an ambiguous term. Led Zeppelin is rock. So is Johnny Cash. So is Bob Marley. So is Billy Joel. Rock and hip hop may both have roots in rhythm and blues; nonetheless, they are two vastly different styles of music that historically have had little to do with each other.

Something else to consider is the steady decline of rock ‘n’ roll that has been going on for years. Just by comparing past Hall of Fame induction classes to recent ones, you can actually see the deterioration of the genre as the level of talent is watered down year to year.

In 1988, Bob Dylan, the Beatles, the Beach Boys and the Supremes were all inducted together (not exactly lightweights). These days, you’re lucky if you recognize more than two artists in an induction class. Instead of making a stretch by selecting artists outside the genre, the Hall of Fame should stop snubbing its own kind and re-evaluate the real “rock” pioneers. Can I get some KISS or some Hall and Oates?

The nominees for the 2012 induction class were announced Tuesday, and there is reason yet to hold out hope. Among the potential inductees are the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Heart, Guns N’ Roses and Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. The Beastie Boys are also nominated, but the color of their skin shouldn’t give the Jewish rap group a free pass any more than Nickelback shouldn’t get in a plane crash.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers are the clear cream of the crop there. Their addition to the Hall of Fame would be a breath of funky fresh air to the heap of obscure, mediocre old guys who seem to dominate the induction classes as of late.