Do petitions help get bands into the Rock Hall?

There are legions of fans out there who are upset that their favorite band hasn't been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame yet. Fans of artists such as Alice Cooper, Judas Priest, Journey, and even "Weird" Al Yankovic have all started petitions and websites urging the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation to induct them. But does it actually do any good? This anecdote from a former Rock Hall board member is discouraging:
During my second year on the committee, I received a petition signed by 5000 fans of the Moody Blues requesting that the group be considered for nomination. Personally I am not much of a fan, and neither, apparently, was anyone else on the committee (at least no one who would admit it). Still, I felt they were a legitimate contender for the nomination and that it was my duty to present the petition since so many people had taken a lot of time to put it together. I plunked it down on the conference table to a great roar of laughter from the assembled bigshots.

Jon Landau, Springsteen's manager, asked me if I personally was a fan of theirs. 'Not really,' I said. 'End of discussion,' he said.

On the other hand, I saw how Atlantic Records artists were routinely placed into nomination with no discussion at all, due to the large concentration of Atlantic executives on the committee. I saw how so-called critical favorites were placed into nomination while artists that were massively popular in their time were brushed off. I saw how certain pioneering artists of the 50s and early 60s were shunned because there needed to be more name power on the list, resulting in 70s superstars getting in before the people who made it possible for them. Some of those pioneers still aren't in today — but Queen is.

I was finally kicked off the committee after writing a guest editorial for Billboard in which I criticized the Hall for its insider ways.

Almost ten years later nothing has changed.
But not all hope is lost. There's a new Rock Hall Foundation head, Joel Peresman, who recently said, "I think it would be interesting to have the fans participate [in the induction ceremony] somehow," so he may be open new ideas about the induction process.

In the meantime, if you're a huge fan of Neil Sedaka, the Cowsills, Donny Osmond, or countless other artists, it's good to know that there are other people out there who share your passion.
blog comments powered by Disqus