Ever since the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame began inducting artists in 1986, they’ve faced complaints from fans about the selection process. As you can see from the gallery below, sometimes the very rock stars the Rock Hall was created to honor joined in with the criticisms.
Often the critiques are self-serving, if justified, variations on the question, “Why did they get voted in instead of me?” But just as frequently, the artists are seeking what they consider overdue recognition for others who have influenced or impressed them.
The Rock Hall’s voters are frequently accused of being biased in favor of white male artists, with females making up less than 9% of the inducted roster as of 2023. Heavy metal and hard rock artists have long contended that the organization has been too slow to honor the legends of the genres. Judas Priest wasn’t inducted until 2022, and even then it wasn’t as part of the performing class, but as a recipient of the Musical Excellence Award.
There also appear to be different sets of rules about which individual musicians from a band get honored. When Kiss was inducted in 2014, only their four original members were named. This excluded, among others, Eric Carr and Bruce Kulick, who were both in the band for more than a decade and performed on several platinum-selling ’80s albums. On the other hand, when Metallica was honored in 2009, their list included bassist Robert Trujillo, who had at that point played on only one of the band’s albums.
“There’s a lot us artists would change about the induction ceremony and who they pick,” Joe Walsh summarized in a 2018 interview. “There’s a lot of people I don’t know why they’re in there, and there’s a lot of people I don’t know why they’re not.”
25 Rock Stars Who Have Criticized the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
HOF execs have been labeled “faceless tuxedo-wearing morons” and “spineless weasels.”
Gallery Credit: Matthew Wilkening