The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame was started in 1983 by Ahmet Ertegun, founder and chairman of Atlantic Records..
Based in Cleveland, Ohio, the organization is both a museum and hall of fame that documents the history of rock music and the artists, producers, engineers, and other notable figures who have influenced its development.
Most would argue that the origins of rock music started with soul, which is likely why six of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s first ten inductees in 1986 were Black recording legends Chuck Berry, James Brown, Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, Fats Domino and Little Richard.
Eligibility for an artist to be considered starts at the 25th anniversary of their first record. Additionally, the organization’s criteria combines the influence and significance of the artists’ contributions to the development and perpetuation of rock and roll.
Over time, the term rock and roll has expanded to describe artists who’s music has impacted popular culture; so you see more artists from R&B, jazz, hip hop, country, pop music and other genres being inducted into the prestigious group of music all stars.
Last week, the 2020 inductees for the Hall of Fame were announced and included Whitney Houston, Notorious B.I.G., Depeche Mode, The Doobie Brothers, Nine Inch Nails and T-Rex.
But in the era of Time’s Up and the Grammy Awards facing backlash for their lack of promotion of female artists, it’s making people also take look at the lack of females in the R&R HOF.
Sadly, the numbers just aren’t! Overall, there are 888 inductees in the R&R HOF, but only 69 have been women!
Some of females who have been inducted include Aretha Franklin (1987), The Supremes (1988), Tina Turner (1991), Ruth Brown (1993), Etta James (1993), Janis Joplin (1995), Martha and the Vandellas (1995), Gladys Knight (1996), Bonnie Raiit (2000), Madonna (2008), Darlene Love (2011), Donna Summer (2013), Linda Ronstadt (2014), Nina Simone (2016), Janet Jackson (2019) and Stevie Nicks (2019).
The list of women eligible that have not been inducted into the Hall of Fame will shock you! Some truly impactful music greats are among those who have not been inducted despite meeting eligibility.
Females not in the R&B HOF include Dionne Warwick, Barbra Streisand, Patti LaBelle, Celia Cruz, Dolly Parton, Ella Fitzgerald, Cyndi Lauper, Mary J. Blige, Carole King, Mariah Carey, Roberta Flack, Grace Jones, Cher, Valerie Simpson, Bette Midler, Martha Wash, Gloria Estefan, Bettye LaVette, Celine Dion, Salt-N-Pepa, Chaka Khan, Sheryl Crow, Natalie Cole, Annie Lenox, Queen Latifah, Alanis Morrissette, Patti Austin, Reba McEntire, Gloria Gaynor, Patsy Cline, Stephanie Mills, Melissa Etheridge, Pat Benatar, Anita Baker and Loretta Lynn.
That’s 35 extraordinary female artists (and those are just the names we could think of) who have had substantial impact on music culture and exemplary success in their respective genre of music.
Not sure how the R&R HOF could fix their female problem. Clearly, they’ve got some work to do.
But let’s hope some of those not currently inducted will experience being added to this illustrious group of their peers and it doesn’t happen posthumously like with this year’s honorees Houston and Biggie.
WATCH the 2020 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductees Be Announced.