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‘Rock Was Never Just Four Guys With Guitars’

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The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has taken plenty of criticism, especially in recent years as the Hall has inducted artists from the rap and pop fields, leading some to question the validity of the Hall’s title given the broader scope of artist representation. In a chat with Joe Rock of Long Island’s WBAB, Rock Hall president and CEO Greg Harris addressed that very concern.

When Rock asked how Harris would respond to those who suggested it should be more accurately called the Music Hall of Fame, the Rock Hall president stated, “I think to get to the core of it, people like the stuff that’s closest to them, and I think they need to expand their thinking of rock ‘n’ roll. It’s a big tent.”

He continued, “Rock ‘n’ roll was never just four skinny guys with long hair and guitars; it’s always been diverse… We take that interpretation that these are all variants of rock ‘n’ roll. And I think, underneath it, it frequently gets to the hip-hop question because some people are not fans. Well, the fact of the matter is that ship has sailed. We’ve inducted quite a few artists in that canon. It’s a big tent and everybody fits under it. It’s an attitude, it’s a spirit, and that’s rock ‘n’ roll.”

One of the major concerns, especially amongst fans of heavier music, is the lack of representation for metal artists, with early metal favorites Judas Priest and Iron Maiden being passed over in recent years.

As with his recent comments, Harris stressed the importance of nominating metal bands, reiterating that a large number of acts nominated eventually get in (80 percent) even if it’s not on the first try.

“There’s no doubt that [Iron Maiden] are an impactful, influential band, and that’s why they were nominated this year, along with 15 other artists and acts, and when the votes came in, these six were the leaders. So we’re not questioning, are they an important band, are they impactful and influential,” said Harris, adding, “So everybody has their favorites; everybody has different artists that impacted them or impacted other artists. So, if you look at this list, you can make that case for all of these folks, just like people make that case for Iron Maiden.”

You can check out the full discussion between Harris and WBAB’s Joe Rock here.



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