Heavy metal fans around the world were throwing their bass Rickenbacker guitars down in disgust recently when the latest people to be inducted into the US based Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Rather than rock guitarists, hard-drinking vocalists or crazy drummers, the list included the recently deceased disco diva Donna Summer, more associated with sparkly clothes and glitter balls than guitar riffs and stadium concerts.
Although the name suggests that acts from the world of rock are favoured, that is not always the case. In order to be considered for entry into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, acts have to have released their first single prior to 1987. Previously, only people who were already in the Hall were eligible to vote on who should be added, but this year the general public was allowed a vote too. This may go some way to explaining Donna Summer’s success in the poll. Other acts which were added in 2012 include Heart, Rush, Public Enemy and Quincy Jones.
The main point of being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, apart from the obvious prestige, is that acts are given space and credits in the related museum, in Cleveland, Ohio. The museum complex is one of the largest in the city and contains everything and anything related to rock music and the acts in the Hall of Fame. Since the idea of a Hall of Fame first started in 1986, there have been 279 inductees, from Abba to ZZ Top. It’s one of the most popular attractions in this area of the USA, and many music fans come from all over the world just to see the history of music told through its exhibits.
Press and Media
There are many music museums around the world, but the Hall of Fame has right from the start succeeded in creating a huge media buzz around the yearly nominations, and the star-studded awards ceremony which is held in one of the best known luxury hotels in New York every spring. Although rock acts are never the sort of people to get excited about receiving award and accolades, being inducted into the Hall of Fame is the pinnacle of many people’s career, and something they all aspire to, whether they shout about it or not.
The fuss over Donna Summer’s inclusion in the Hall of Fame stems mainly from the confusion over the name. Although rock and roll nowadays refers to a specific genre of music, the ethos of the museum and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is to celebrate all types of modern, popular music, from traditional rock bands with their bass Rickenbacker to rap acts like Public Enemy and disco acts like Abba or Donna Summer. You can’t keep all of the people happy all of the time, and with a hugely expensive museum to keep running, the organisers of the event are trying to spread the appeal of the awards to as many people as possible.
Morag P writes for a wide range of bloggers on subjects as diverse as music and travel.