Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Should Change Its Name

With another lackluster class announced to enter its not-so-hollowed shrine, it is now fully apparent that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame should either change its name or have a class-action lawsuit filed against it for false advertising.

On Tuesday, it was announced that Nirvana, Kiss, Linda Ronstadt, Hall & Oates, Cat Stevens, Peter Gabriel, the E Street Band, Brian Epstein, and Andrew Loog Oldham would be the hall's newest members. Now, I have no intention of ever visiting Cleveland, where the hall resides, but I can't help but feel outraged by any sucker who does pay for admission, because with its current inductees, the place is an utter sham.

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It might be a hall, all the 2014 inductees might be famous, but very few of them have anything to do with rock 'n' roll. Nirvana, yes of course are as rock 'n' roll as they have ever come. Kiss inspired parents to burn records that said "Rock and Roll All Nite," which qualifies them. I'll accept Bruce Springsteen backers the E Street Band (as boring as they might be) as sufficiently rock 'n' roll. And hell, I'll even give you the Beatles manager Brian Epstein and Rolling Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham as following the rock 'n' roll tradition of stealing from their musician clients. But the rest of this sorry lot should be kicked to the curb.

Google defines rock 'n' roll as "A type of popular dance music originating in the 1950s, characterized by a heavy beat and simple melodies. Rock and roll was an amalgam of black rhythm and blues and white country music, usually based on a twelve-bar structure and an instrumentation of guitar, bass, and drums." Of course, there is more to rock 'n' roll than that. It is the devil's music. It inspires thoughts of lust and rebellion and danger. It is not the music of easy listening that the four other entrants represent.

Linda Ronstadt not only helped foist the Eagles, the blandest of bland that formed out of her backing band, but she also openly dated the governor of California. As liberal a man as Jerry Brown might be, he still is "The Man," and it is not rock 'n' roll to date "The Man."

Hall & Oates liked to call themselves Blue Eyed Soul, but they were more Blue Eyed Muzak That Your High School Guidance Counselor Would Listen To.

Cat Stevens in these Islamophobic times did do something rock 'n' roll by becoming a Muslim and changing his name to Yusuf Islam, but his folky music, as beautiful as it might be, is akin to glorified children's music suitable to be played as your toddler's lullabies.

Peter Gabriel as part of Genesis was already part of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and I accept that borderline decision. Genesis when he was at the helm was a weird art prog rock band that with their its fashion sense could upset authority figures, but Gabriel's solo career falls into two distinctly un-rock 'n' roll categories: sensitive pop music that uptight yuppies could groove their head to after a second glass of Chardonnay, and New Age world music for those who had grown tired of Paul Simon's Graceland.

Call it the Pop Music Hall of Fame or the Hall of Fame of People Who Have Been on the Cover of Rolling Stone, if you must, but if you're going to have these clowns in it, keep the good evil name of Rock and Roll out of it.

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David Rolland is a freelance writer for New Times Broward-Palm Beach and Miami New Times. His novel, The End of the Century, published by Jitney Books, is available at many fine booksellers.
Contact: David Rolland