Every music fan has heard of it. Every year many of us lament artists snubbed, we often celebrate those inducted, but what is the Rock Hall exactly?
Is it a building or concept?
It's both really.
Launched in 1983 by a group led by late Atlantic Records boss Ahmet Ertegun, the hall started inducting artists in 1986 before it even had a physical home.
By 1993, the Hall had a physical home in a glass pyramid structure designed by noted architect I.M. Pei located in Cleveland. The city had lobbied hard to get the hall located there and put up much of the money to have it built.
The ceremonies to induct new artists each year have taken place in all of Los Angeles, New York City and Cleveland, and starting in 2017 they have alternated each year between NYC and Cleveland.
As for who gets in, a small committee is involved but it is reported that the votes of 600 "rock experts" vote on who should be inducted are also considered in the process. There are many deserving artists in the Hall, but onlookers continue to annually lament those chosen, and those not.
Some, like the Sex Pistols, have refused to attend their induction ceremony, certainly appropriate with their anti-establishment ethos.
Others criticize the hall for its omissions. Consequence of Sound published its list of the Top 20 worst snubs in December '18. Their list:
- Whitney Houston
- Joy Division
- John Coltrane
- The Smiths
- T. Rex
- Kate Bush
- Brian Eno
- Sonic Youth
- Nine Inch Nails
- New Order
- Pat Benatar
- Iron Maiden
- Nick Drake
- Depeche Mode
- Warren Zevon
Clearly, there are a few other artists missing, such as Joe Cocker, Peter Frampton, Judas Priest, Megadeth, Ozzy Osbourne and Todd Rundgren, to name just a few more but debates will rage annually as to who should be in, what constitutes rock, and other beefs about the proceedings.
All that said, most would agree it's nice to have the institution to recognize and celebrate a class of influential and accomplished artists every year, if for no other reason than to enjoy the tribute performances and often poignant acceptance speeches.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame class of 2019 includes Radiohead, The Cure, Janet Jackson, Stevie Nicks, Roxy Music, Def Leppard, and The Zombies.
Check out our gallery of music memorabilia featuring Hall of Fame inductees.