No women. Not one. There is not a single female in any of the five acts to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame next year. The Cock Hall has a long history of exclusion, as I’ve written about before. But this year is the worst. MOR white-guy classic rockers Steve Miller, Deep Purple, Cheap Trick (okay, I confess, I voted for them), and Chicago over nominees Chic, Chaka Khan, and Janet Jackson. Not to mention all the deserving women who were once again passed over for nominations. When you break it down intersectionally, as this blogger did yesterday, the omission of women of color is even more egregious and depressing. Rock and Roll Hall of Shame.
The most disappointing aspect to this year’s winners is that the HoF tried. They recruited women and people of color, adding many new voters to the induction process. I know, because not only was I finally sent a ballot — 30 years after I became a professional music critic, need I point out — I was sent two! And I was asked by a board member to suggest other voters, at least one of whom received his first ballot after a similar amount of time as an extremely well-regarded Latino cultural journalist. (I should point out at this juncture that nominee Los Lobos were not inducted. Someone please crunch the numbers of Hispanic acts in the Hall of Shame. Only one act with predominantly people of color — famed misogynists N.W.A — made the cut this time.)
Someone with more time than I have needs to investigate this further. My sense is that having been launched by old white guys, the Hall is too big of a ship at this point to change direction. No amount of course correction can keep it from plunging off the edge into irrelevancy. It’s a true shame, because I was there the day the Hall opened, and I believe in honoring the important but complicated history of American popular music. But building a voting body around a sexist, racist industry is the wrong way to go about it.
I appreciate having been finally invited into the boys club. I’ll vote again, because enfranchisement is precious. But dammit, I’m ready to build my own club.
Evelyn McDonnell and Cliff Michalski at the Rock Hall Library
Librarian Andy Leach, author Evelyn McDonnell, and discographer Omid Yamini
Evelyn McDonnell speaks at the Rock Hall Library + Archives
Omid Yamini at the Rock Hall Library
I’m still processing my whirlwind weekend visit to Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Museum, Library and Archives a couple weeks ago. It was an honor to argue the case for the importance of the Runaways within those sacred institutional walls. Plus Cleveland played a pivotal role in Runaways history, as I got to discuss with journalists and fans who were there for those famous Agora shows, including writer Cliff Michalski, who I had interviewed for the book. Queens of Noise discographer and Runaways archivist Omid Yamini joined me on the podium and in the back rooms of the archives. Here are some snapshots of the wintery weekend. All photos courtesy of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Library and Archives.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame members can make reservations for my January 25 presentation in Cleveland beginning tomorrow, January 13. Non-members can reserve beginning Tuesday. For more info, visit the Rock Hall site. Runaways collector and Queens of Noise discographer Omid Yamini will be joining me for this special event.
Author Series with Evelyn McDonnell, author of Queens of Noise: The Real Story of the Runaways | The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.
via Queens at Rock Hall Info.
Alas, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame passed over Joan Jett and the Blackhearts again this year. The good news is Heart and Donna Summer will be inducted, along with Rush, Public Enemy, Albert King, and Randy Newman. That means one third of this year’s musical honorees are female, a considerable improvement over the overall numbers: As I reported in Salon last year, only one-tenth of the total Hall of Famers at that time were women. It’s particularly galling to see Rush anointed and Jett bypassed, given the Canadian band’s awful treatment of their label mates the Runaways back in the day. But Rush were able to mobilize a huge fan base. Next year, Jettheads, let’s get it together. Joan’s manager, Kenny Laguna, was philosophic in an email: “We predict 4 or 5 years of nomination. This is year 2.”
via Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 2013 Inductees: Rush, Public Enemy, Heart and Randy Newman | Music News | Rolling Stone.
Undoubtedly in response to repeated complaints about its clubbiness, or perhaps in deference to the proliferation of participatory culture in general and American Idol in particular, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum is allowing fans a vote for the first time. Tomorrow is the last day to voice your choice. Currently Rush is in first place. Yes, Rush — the same band that denied the Runways a sound check and mocked their performance from the side of the stage in Detroit in 1977. For years, fans of the overwrought Canadian trio have decried their exclusion from the Cleveland citadel. I’m sure they’re rallying to rectify the situation.
I’ve made my own public complaints about the gender divide of the Cock Rock Hall. (This Salon screed is about to be republished in the new edition of Best Music Writing.) I’m not going to tell you how I think you should vote — you can probably figure it out. I know the public vote will still play second fiddle to the official nominating sausage fest. But last I heard, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts were in fourth place. And you know I love rock and roll.
Online Fan Poll | The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.
via Last Chance to Vote for Jett.