The 2021 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction class was announced last week, but as with previous years, the debate around the artists that were omitted continues.
The big point of contention around this year’s class is, once again, the lack of heavy metal representation, especially since Iron Maiden was nominated for the first time this year.
It’s something that came up in a new interview with Rock Hall President and CEO Greg Harris who said regarding Maiden not being inducted, “There’s no doubt that they 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.”
Harris added, “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.”
Harris was then asked about a popular complaint pertaining to the Rock Hall: Since they induct non-rock acts, shouldn’t it really be named the Music Hall of Fame?
“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,” said Harris. “Rock ’n’ roll was never just four skinny guys with long hair and guitars. It’s always been diverse…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.”
As previously stated in an op-ed published shortly after the 2021 nominations, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has never been exclusively about rock music. Ever. Influence and impact have always been more important than genre, as evident from the Rock Hall’s first induction class in 1986 which included Chuck Berry, James Brown, Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, Fats Domino, The Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis Presley, Little Richard, Jimmie Rodgers and Jimmy Yancey.