Monday, March 10, 2008

Controversy over Madonna's induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame....

So, Madonna is set to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and I am of two minds on this. First, let's set aside the obvious "Madonna isn't 'rock and roll'" argument. This is a straw man now given the Hall's history. If this is your argument against Madonna I won't say it isn't valid, it does have validity, but that battle was lost a long, LONG time ago.

First of all, there are some "purists" who would argue that REM (2007), Blondie (2006) or Michael Jackson (2001) aren't "rock and roll". Even for "purists" it would surely be difficult in the modern era to draw the line between "rock" and other genres. However, it's quite clear that the Hall of Fame is using a very loose definition of "Rock and Roll" and has been for some time. I don't think
anyone could convincingly argue that Grandmaster Flash or Miles Davis are "rock and roll" but both of them are in the Hall. You can't say Madonna shouldn't be let in because her music "isn't rock" once you've already let in Miles Davis and Grandmaster Flash (well, you can of course, and more power to you, but that battle's long since lost).

So then, I think of Madonna's impact on popular music, and popular culture, and I figure, sure, of course she should get in. No brainer (given the elimination of argument #1 above). Totally deserved, and I have no problem with it (don't get me started on John Mellencamp though...)

HOWEVER, then I read the list of some of the people still waiting to get in to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame:

Deep Purple, Steve Miller, Alice Cooper...

I mean, ALICE FREAKING COOPER for God's sake!!!

So, all told, my instinct is to say that Madonna is more than deserving of being in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, especially given their broad definition of "rock and roll", and considering that I'd put Madonna up there with a Michael Jackson, who's influence is such that even if they're not "rock" they probably deserve admission. Furthermore, given past precedent, it's not at all shocking that she's getting in. Not remotely. There's an argument for keeping Madonna out of the ROCK AND ROLL Hall of Fame. Surely that line was crossed back in 2000 though when Bonnie Raitt was inducted, wasn't it? (and, arguably earlier). That bridge is crossed, so I choose to live in the now.

What IS shocking though is that Deep Purple and Alice Cooper (ALICE FREAKING COOPER!!!) are not in yet. Steve Miller not being in shocks me too, and there are more still that probably would shock me as well. However, I'm not going to get too bent out of shape over an (in my mind) eminently qualified performer like Madonna getting in. It's not undeserved, imho, and I won't hold Madonna responsible for the sins of the induction committee.



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1 comment:

Jay said...

I thought the same but soon realized that Madonna has had a prolonged career and really hasn't gone away. That in my mind makes madonna deserving. The other bands noted come back every blue moon with a rehash of oldies to make pensioning easier.

Then again I am a gay guy so probably biased though I'd choose classic rock over any genre any day.