Column: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announces most diverse nominee list yet

Ayron Rutan, Staff Writer

With 2022 just getting started, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, OH has released their nominees for this year’s inducting class, which looks to be their most diverse yet. This year’s nominees include Beck, Pat Benatar, Kate Bush, DEVO, Duran Duran, Eminem, Eurythmics, Judas Priest, Fela Kuti, MC5, New York Dolls, Dolly Parton, Rage Against The Machine, Lionel Richie, Carly Simon, A Tribe Called Quest and Donnie Warwick. 

The nominees list features artists from a number of different genres and backgrounds spanning the musical spectrum. While many praise this aspect, it’s something that rock fans have held against the Hall for a number of years. Why would the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induct non-rock artists? 

The answer to this question is simple: rock and roll has not only taken influence from other genres but birthed others, as well. Due to the genre’s massive reach, many artists who may not fit within rock’s traditional standards still earn entry into the Hall of Fame. This is particularly true with this year’s list, as it features artists rooted in Hip-Hop, Country, Pop and even Techno. This is why you see artists like A Tribe Called Quest, Eminem and Eurythmics. 

Another interesting aspect of this year’s list of nominees is the number of redemption candidates. 10 out of the 17 nominees are seeking induction after appearing on past ballots. Of those redemption bids are rock giants like Judas Priest, who helped pave the way for the New Wave of British Heavy Metal back in the early 1980s. This is the British rocker’s third appearance on the ballot, who’s widely known as one of the Rock Hall’s most significant snubs. 

Judas Priest is not the only example of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame leaving out some of the most deserving artists and bands. Some of rock’s most important figures have not just been left out, but never even nominated. Bands like Blue Oyster Cult, King Crimson and The Monkees have gone more than 25 years without a single nomination. Meanwhile, artists like LL Cool J, Beyonce (not inducted but still featuring her own exhibit) and Madonna are celebrated in the Rock Hall. 

To be clear, I am not discrediting any of the non-rock artists featured in the Hall. In fact, many of the inducted hip-hop artists are some of my favorites, including Run-DMC, NWA, Public Enemy and The Beastie Boys. While I previously mentioned the probable reasoning for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s musically diverse induction roster, I do think that if the Hall is going to feature such a lineup, they might need to change their branding. 

As a music fan myself, I am all for inclusion and diversity when it comes to celebrating music’s greats. However, as a rock enthusiast, it pains me to see Beyonce celebrated and talked about in the same conversation as greats like Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin and Metallica. It just doesn’t seem right for artists who have little to do with rock be celebrated in the same light as some of the genre’s most important and influential names. 

Simply changing their name to maybe the American Music Hall of Fame would fix this issue, but that is highly unlikely. I can only hope that rock’s greatest artists are given more credit for the advancement of the genre than those who have little to do with it. That being said, I would like to congratulate all of the 2022 nominees and I wish them the best of luck with getting inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.