FEATURE: Dreams Against the Landslide: Stevie Nicks and Janet Jackson Are Calling for More Women to Be Inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame...the Industry Needs to Listen and React




Dreams Against the Landslide

IN THIS PHOTO: Stevie Nicks has been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame twice but has called for greater recognition regarding women/PHOTO CREDIT: Peggy Sirota  

Stevie Nicks and Janet Jackson Are Calling for More Women to Be Inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame...the Industry Needs to Listen and React


ONLY yesterday...

 IN THIS PHOTO: Philip Selway and Ed O'Brien of Radiohead with David Byrne at the 2019 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony/PHOTO CREDIT: Theo Wargo/Getty Images

I was taking about the continued lack of female headliners in music and why those in a position of power need to address their ways and do something about it. I shall not repeat that subject for a bit but, just as I have been writing about festivals’ imbalance, two of music’s biggest artists have been speaking about the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and how few women have been included. As Janet Jackson and Stevie Nicks were inducted into the prestigious annals, they were standing alongside five all-male bands who were receiving the same honour. One might say that there are fewer classic female artists than me but consider those who have not been included into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. There is always talk about those who should be in and those who have been omitted. Janet Stevie Nicks has already been inducted but this time was her second occasion – not many artists can boast that. There has been long-talk about Janet Jackson being inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame but, finally, she has got her reward. This article talks about Friday’s event and why there are calls for action:

The bands inducted at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Friday night were the Cure, Def Leppard, Radiohead, Roxy Music and the Zombies. Neither Jackson or Nicks were around at the end of the evening when another Briton, Ian Hunter, led an all-star jam to All the Young Dudes. The Bangles’ Susanna Hoffs was the only woman onstage.

Jackson issued her challenge earlier.

“Rock and Roll Hall of Fame,” she said, “in 2020, induct more women.”

Nicks was already a member of the hall with Fleetwood Mac but became the first woman to join 22 men, including all four Beatles, in being honoured twice. From the stage, she told of her trepidation in first recording a solo album.

She encouraged Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, producers of her breakthrough Control album and most of her vast catalogue, to stand for recognition, as well as Questlove, who inducted her. She also thanked Dick Clark of American Bandstand and Don Cornelius of Soul Train, and choreographers including Paula Abdul”.

It is clear that the gender imbalance is not to do with quality, legacy and promise. Some say that, in order to get into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, there should be some form of Rock in the music. Is it dishonest and wrong to include an artist who is in genres like Folk and Pop? Billboard have written an article who claim artists such as Kate Bush, Dolly Parton and Kim Gordon (Sonic Youth) should be inducted. Lauryn Hill and Missy Elliott will be eligible for inclusion in years to come so one wonders whether their names will be selected. It is odd to think that so many great artists have been overlooked – Billboard talked about those who should be in by now:

The lack of gender balance was conspicuous enough that upon being inducted in 2016, Steve Miller -- one of the five all-male acts being honored -- openly called out the museum's governing body for the disparity, pointedly encouraging them to "keep expanding your vision, to be more inclusive of women.” The returns for 2017 have hardly been overwhelming: Folk legend Joan Baez will be inducted this Friday (Apr. 6), but Janet Jackson and Chaka Khan -- both having been nominated for the second time -- will not be.

IN THIS PHOTO: Björk/PHOTO CREDIT: Santiago Felipe  

Carole King. It seems near-impossible that Carole King, one of the most influential recording artists of the '70s and the woman behind Tapestry, one of the decade's most critically and commercially undeniable blockbuster LPs, could have escaped induction by now. But while the iconic singer-songwriter has been honored for the "songwriter" half of her double-billing, having been inducted along with her Brill Building teammate Gerry Goffin back in 1990, her performing career has gone unrecognized. Yes, Tapestry towers over the rest of her catalogue, but it's not like most post-Baby Boomers could name a James Taylor album not called Sweet Baby James either, and that guy got in 17 years ago.

Bjork. "But didn't Debut come out in 1993?" you might wonder. True, but despite that breakthrough album's title, Bjork's proper debut came back in 1977, when she released a self-titled album in Iceland as an 11-year-old -- making her Hall-eligible for well over a decade already. Though Bjork's artistic achievements have never resulted in world-beating sales, and her symphonic pop compositions are not easily classifiable as rock (or as anything else), her singular artistry, universal acclaim and enduring influence on the ensuing generation's best and brightest musicians should certainly have earned her a nomination by now”.

Kate Bush and Whitney Houston have not been included. Again, one can argue that, genre-wise, these artists might have done less to progress Rock than people like Radiohead and The Cure.

 IN THIS PHOTO: Whitney Houston (a big artist who warrants inclusion into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame)/PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

That is true, I guess, but one must not be rigid and too unyielding regarding sound and being narrow. I do think that Kate Bush, as a mercurial and unique artist, is perfect for induction and the same goes for Whitney Houston. Even if someone like Bush has not broken the U.S., one cannot deny her influence and impact. There are other names one can throw into the mix but, every year, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is very male-heavy. The fact that there are these omissions makes me wonder what the selection criteria is and whether white dudes in music not only make the decisions but include white dudes into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Others might say that it is not the be-all-and-end-all when it comes to music but it is an important organisation. In years to come, we will look at all the names included and will we bemoan the lack of women?! The likes of Janet Jackson and Stevie Nicks know there is a problem that needs to be addressed. I am not one of those people who feels something called the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame should only be for Rock artists. Some disagree. This article from Odyssey has a distinct viewpoint:

Bands like Public Enemy and Run D.M.C shouldn't be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame because they are not in the rock genre (though they may get a pass for collaborating with metal group Anthrax and rock group Aerosmith, respectively). If you were to go onto iTunes and look for these artists, it wouldn't be under the rock section, would it?


This is the inherent problem of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: Bands like Deep Purple, whose song "Smoke on the Water" is the first song everyone learns on guitar, are only just being nominated this year even though they have been eligible for induction almost since the beginning of the institution. To be eligible, you need to have released your first single 25 years before the nomination. This is basically the only rule in being inducted, and bands that are crucial to the evolution of the genre, such as Judas Priest and Iron Maiden, have been ignored for the introduction of newer bands such as Green Day.

That's not to say that the bands inducted don't deserve the honor. Far from it; most of the bands that have been inducted definitely have contributed significantly to music. The problem is that the nominees for the Hall are chosen by just a few individuals who may or may not have a vendetta against certain groups or artists, thus preventing them from being inducted”.

 Is it a case of rebranding the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame or having several offshoots that include other genres?! That might be extreme and many wonder whether there is any relevance or point having a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. I feel we should keep it but not be so beholden to which styles/artists we include. In any case, the lack of women is troubling and one cannot claim there is a lack of women at the heavier end of the music spectrum.

Until there is a body that recognises more genres and styles of music, should we continue to see the male dominance continue? I think many criticise the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame because it is very male-heavy and white. There are dangers when it comes to opening the borders and being relaxed regarding inclusion criteria but I do think Nicks and Jackson have a point. It is clear that there is a gender problem across music and, in every corner, the middle-aged white men are heavy and wield too much power. I do think there are few excuses for ignoring great women like Kate Bush and Whitney Houston. This article - reacting to Patti Smith’s induction in 2007 - is interesting. There are albums like Horses that have inspired Rock acts and, knowingly or not, changed a genre. Look at all the women working in other genres who have had a massive impact on Rock. I do not think we should be strict regarding eligibility into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and there are so many influential women who have not received their reward. I do hope next year is fairer and some of the big names who have not been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame get there. I wonder which other bands/names (men and women) have been denied and are due some fresh investigation. I get excited seeing big artists getting acclaim for their contribution to music but, so often, it is the men who get the biggest props – this needs to change and there needs to be greater balance. This time next year, let’s hope that some of the great women still waiting for their moment in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame finally have...

IN THIS PHOTO: Kate Bush/PHOTO CREDIT: John Carder Bush

THEIR hard work recognised...