The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is a Scam. Discuss.

Some people have had an uneasy feeling about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. To them, the concept of a hall of fame for music seems too establishment, too institutionalized, too antithetical to the rebelliousness of rock’n’roll. Others aren’t so sure about the people running the place. It seems like a closed club.  Nicholas Pell of LA Weekly is one of those folks who isn’t a RnR Hall fan.

It never fails. I write something, someone doesn’t like it, and they feel the need to seek me out and tell me about it. It’s never really surprising, even if I don’t understand it. I can barely muster the energy to tell people I know personally how much I disagree with them. When I do, I almost always regret it. My recent Green Day screed touched a nerve, as my screeds tend to do. One of the most bizarre and common objections to my dislike of Green Day is that Green Day are in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Let me explain it as if you’re 5: The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is a scam. It’s not Cooperstown with guitars. The expert committee that “inducts” people is thinking about how to get tourist dollars into Cleveland, not how to preserve a legacy of one of America’s finest homegrown art forms. Don’t believe me? Ask Gene Simmons. If you think the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is any measure of how good a band is, you seriously don’t know shit about anything.

Or just look at the extensive list of people not in the alleged “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.” Listen, I’m not holding my breath for The Dictators, Discharge or even The Smiths to make it in. But to not have Todd Rundgren, Link Wray and Roxy Music is a pretty damning indictment of the place. The first is one of the finest producers to ever produce, the second invented the power chord, and the third is more or less responsible for everything interesting that happened in rock & roll after their inception.

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Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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