Primary Menu

Rock Candy

Last year, we had an anonymous Rock and Roll Hall of Fame voter explain their ballot to us: this person explained how s/he became a voter, who s/he voted for and who s/he didn’t, and why.

“It’s another difficult ballot this year,” our voter tells us. “Of the seventeen nominees, I wish I could vote for at least thirteen of them. We only get to vote for five, so I’ve spent a lot of time binge-listening to entire catalogs from some of these artists. Of course, some nominees were no-brainers for me. I’ll also point out that while I’m a rock fan and have worked in the rock genre on and off for years, I don’t have a bias against artists that don’t fit into an orthodox definition of ‘rock and roll.’ I always look back to the first two induction classes, from 1986 and 1987: you had Chuck Berry and Little Richard and Elvis Presley, guys who really defined ‘rock and roll.’ But there were also straight-up soul — or R&B — singers, like Aretha Franklin and Sam Cooke and Ray Charles. And you had artists that you could consider ‘pop,’ like the Everly Brothers and the Coasters and Ricky Nelson. You even had country: Jimmie Rodgers and Hank Williams. I think that’s the spirit of rock and roll, combining all of these different types of music. I don’t have any issues with hip-hop or country artists in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I always hear people complain about that: ‘But does the Country Hall of Fame induct rock artists? Would the Hip-Hop Hall of Fame induct rock artists?’ I don’t care about that: rock and roll’s tent is wider and more diverse.”

“Anyway, last year, two of the five artists I voted for were inducted: Tina Turner and the Go-Go’s; in past years, the only artists that I voted for who were inducted were Depeche Mode (2020) and the Cure (2019). Hopefully this year, more of my picks will get in.”