That place out in Cleveland has done it again. You know the one I’m talking about. I’ve pretty much sworn off mentioning the name of the place here – after all this is Real Rock News – but since that’s a bit silly, I’ll just go ahead with it.
The fact that 70’s Swedish pop stars ABBA have been given the nod for inclusion in the so-called “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame” and KISS is still awaiting their invite has reignited the debate about what kind of institution they are running out there. We’ve been down this road before, and it probably won’t be the last time.
Before I go on, it’s important to understand I actually like ABBA. At least I did back in the day when they were all over the radio and I was a young teenager. It didn’t hurt that I thought the blond one was really hot!
Be that as it may, it’s important to note that I still give a listen to some of ABBA’s hits on occasion. It really brings back memories. Classic rock is my favorite, but there are other kinds of music I enjoy as well. ABBA were quite the influential pop group back in those days, and that’s exactly my point. ABBA was clearly a pop group, and wasn’t even close to what I consider rock and roll.
Even though I’m really not a KISS fan, there is no denying that they are enormously popular, and have sold a whole lot of records. Rock and roll records.
“Hall of Fame” is an interesting name. What exactly is fame? Dictionary.com defines fame as, “widespread reputation, esp. of a favorable character; renown; public eminence.”
I’d have to say that KISS certainly justifies the association of that word with their enduring career. I may not be all that crazy about them, but they do have an enviable fan base, and they do indeed play rock and roll music. While ABBA certainly passes the “fame” test with flying colors, they don’t quite score a passing grade on the “rock and roll” test.
Each time we get word on the latest inductees into that institution, it seems like they drift further and further away from rock, and into genres that clearly don’t meet that criteria. There’s no sign that they will put an end to this nonsense, and I won’t deny that some of the non-rock artists that have been honored there are very talented, and quite deserving of recognition on a grand scale. However, not under the banner of “rock and roll.”
I think there’s a simple solution to all of this. I have no illusions that this could actually ever happen, but I think they should rename it something like “The Music Hall of Fame,” or something else that is more inclusive, if they are going to continue giving the nod to groups like ABBA while ignoring KISS, Rush, Yes, and a host of other bona fide rockers.
Isn’t inducting the likes of ABBA and Run-D.M.C. in the “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame” akin to someone opening a car dealership with a big sign out front that advertises Toyotas, and then filling the lot with Fords? Should we start calling hot dogs hamburgers? If we subscribe to the logic they are using to decide who gets the coveted invite to the “Rock Hall,” we may as well.
Although I may be the only one, I believe I will begin to refer to that institution as the “Music Hall of Fame” instead of the “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame” from now on. It certainly makes a whole lot more sense to me.