The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Class of 2023 inductees has officially been revealed, with Rage Against the Machine, Sheryl Crow, Willie Nelson among the nominees who have earned the nod. Meanwhile, artists such as Iron Maiden, Soundgarden and The White Stripes were again snubbed on the hard rock and metal end.
This year’s class is very light on heavy music with Rage Against the Machine being the only act many would firmly associate with hard rock or metal. This ever-widening pool of talent is part of the Rock Hall’s conscious decision to expand the definition of rock music after being scrutinized for their annual selections for years on end. Keeping in mind that the Rock Hall views rock music as “a sound that moves youth culture,” it is not beholden to defined genres, thus minting a new framework for music fans to perceive new inductees such as Kate Bush, Sheryl Crow, Missy Elliott.
Even so, it doesn’t explain the Hall’s tendency to snub heavy metal on the whole. With Black Sabbath, Metallica and, after way, way, way too long, Judas Priest, that’s it for metal’s representation within the walls of that iconic pyramid-shaped building. Heavy metal, it can easily be argued, moved youth culture in such a way that the music still defines the entire decade it ascended during — the ‘80s — making the snub of Iron Maiden even more egregious.
READ MORE: Artists Newly Eligible for Rock Hall in 2023 Who Weren’t Nominated
Similar points can be made for Soundgarden’s contributions to grunge, the youth culture movement that effectively nuked ‘80s metal into oblivion until the new millennium. Alongside Pearl Jam and Nirvana (both Rock and Roll Hall of Fame members already), Soundgarden were one of the style’s lynchpins, contributing some of the most enduring works not just in grunge, but in popular ‘90s music altogether.
Perhaps next year one of them will make it in. Though, if Iron Maiden, do, singer Bruce Dickinson may not be particularly thrilled.
In a pair of 2018 comments, Dickinson slammed the Rock Hall and expressed he wants nothing to do with it.
“I actually think the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is an utter and complete load of bollocks, to be honest with you,” the Maiden frontman said during a Q&A session on a spoken word tour, noting that his band “absolutely” deserves to be enshrined. “It’s run by a bunch of sanctimonious bloody Americans who wouldn’t know rock ’n’ roll if it hit them in the face. They need to stop taking Prozac and start drinking fucking beer,” he contended.
Even though he thinks Iron Maiden deserve to be in the Rock Hall, a month later in 2018, Dickinson declared, “I’m really happy we’re not there and I would never want to be there. If we’re ever inducted, I will refuse — they won’t bloody be having my corpse in there. Rock ‘n’ roll music does not belong in a mausoleum in Cleveland. It’s a living, breathing thing, and if you put it in a museum, then it’s dead. It’s worse than horrible, it’s vulgar.”
View all of this year’s inductees directly below. Congratulations to everyone!
All 2023 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees
Rage Against the Machine
Musical Influence Award:
DJ Kool Herc
Musical Excellence Award:
Ahmet Ertegun Award: