Willie Nelson’s Now a Rock & Roll Hall of Famer … and a Rock Artist Isn’t
For the second straight year, a country music icon was nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. And for the second straight year, they got in, and arguably over a much more deserving rock artist. In 2022, it was Dolly Parton who broke the country music barrier by being the first ever country music artist to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame aside from artists that had early influences on rock like Hank Williams and Johnny Cash, and without any real rock and roll credibility.
Though of course everyone loves Dolly, the concern was that she was taking the place of a more deserving rock artist, and that the induction would lead the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame down a slippery slope where all of a sudden they would find themselves in arrears for having not inducted any country artists previously. This is one of the reasons Dolly initially turned down the nomination before eventually acquiescing.
In fact, when Dolly’s name came up and she won, we all knew that Willie would be next. But do we really believe that Willie Nelson deserves to be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame before Iron Maiden? How about Soundgarden and The White Stripes? How about Warren Zevon? Or Cyndi Lauper? They were all finalists with Willie. They didn’t get in. Willie did.
Even though you want to root for your favorite country artist for any honor they might receive, it feels like Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductions should be reserved from rock and roll artists first and foremost. No different than how we wouldn’t want big popular artists in rock or pop superseding country names for the Country Music Hall of Fame, we should want to be good neighbors in country music, and recuse country artists from consideration. If by chance it’s a weak field one year and it feels right for a country nominee with perhaps some rock and roll ties to go in, only then should it happen.
Country music has its own Hall of Fame, and it’s a major institution in American music with vibrant and active participation in the arts and entertainment community. Hip-hop, pop, and other genres do not have that, and that’s one of the reasons the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has expanded to include those genres as well.
That said, there are a few reasons why Willie Nelson’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nomination makes more sense than Dolly’s did. When Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings emerged during the Outlaw era in country music in the mid ’70s, one of the criticisms of them by some was that they weren’t country, they were rock. When Texas historian Jan Reed wrote his book about the emergence of the music scene in Austin, he put Willie Nelson on the cover, and called it The Improbable Rise of Redneck Rock.
Unlike country artists at the time, Willie Nelson bucked the system and took his cues more from rock artists who recorded the songs they wanted with their own bands, which was completely counter to the Music Row system at the time which put producers in charge. After Willie left RCA, he signed with rock producer Jerry Wexler and the rock label Atlantic. Wexler produced Willie’s albums Shotgun Willie and Phases and Stages.
But still, is Willie Nelson more rock than Iron Maiden? Is he more deserving of a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction than The White Stripes? Willie Nelson’s legacy is secured in history. A Rock Hall induction is just one distinction of many. But for an artist like Warren Zevon whose influence and importance has been systemically overlooked over time, a Hall of Fame induction could be critical to finally setting his work in the proper context.
Then there’s the issue of Courtney Love’s essay that came out in March shortly after the 2023 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominees were announced. Love is Kurt Cobain’s widow and the singer for the rock band Hole. “If so few women are being inducted into the Rock Hall, then the nominating committee is broken,” Love said in part. “Barely 8% of its inductees are female. The canon-making doesn’t just reek of sexist gatekeeping, but also purposeful ignorance and hostility.”
It’s believed that one of the reasons Dolly Parton was nominated in 2022 was to attempt to address this discrepancy of female inductees. But Willie Nelson’s induction doesn’t do this. It actually comes over Cyndi Lauper, Meg White as 50% of The White Stripes, and Gillian Gilbert as a member of the British synth rock band New Order who were all 2023 finalists that failed to get in.
“As scornful as its inductions have been, the Rock Hall is a bulwark against erasure, which every female artist faces whether they long for the honour or want to spit on it. It is still game recognising game, history made and marked,” Courtney Love said.
Ironically, the 2023 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominee class had more females than ever, and Kate Bush, Sheryl Crow, and Missy Elliott all made it in with Willie Nelson, George Michael, The Spinners, and Rage Against The Machine. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is making efforts to be more inclusive to women, while there remains less women than men who feel like viable nominees.
Still, with so much rage against the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for not putting in important rock artist, and the concern for the lack of women in the Rock Hall, you just feel weird about celebrating Willie Nelson as a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer.
Just like Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson is one of the few universally-beloved individuals not just in North America, but in the world. But that’s all the more reason that an induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame isn’t necessary. Leave that distinction for important contributors like Warren Zevon, Joe Cocker, or Peter Frampton whose legacies could be cemented with an induction, acts you can’t believe aren’t in yet like The Guess Who, Boston, Motley Crue, Pantera, Slayer, Poison, Steppenwolf, and so many more. Leave it for important women like Annie Lennox, or even important country-adjacent Southern rock bands like The Black Crowes or The Marshall Tucker Band.
And now next year, the question will be for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is where is Garth Brooks? After all, he’s arguably the most popular musician of all time up there with Elvis and The Beatles. Then it’s so on and so forth from there as a cavalcade of top country artists help keep deserving rock artists out of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Of course as country fans, we’re happy for any accolade Willie Nelson receives. But no fan of any genre of music should be happy with any accolade if it comes at the expense of someone who deserves it more.
Fat Freddy's Cat
May 8, 2023 @ 11:34 am
I read an article somewhere (sorry, didn’t bookmark it) where people apparently connected with the HoF spoke of their process for choosing inductees. The emphasis seemed to be on “diversity”, for example making sure a hip-hip artist was included.
Look, if that’s going to be the approach, fine. But then stop calling it the “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame” and call it something more accurate like “Popular Music Hall of Fame”.
And the fan vote preceding the induction was a sham. The fan vote plainly had no impact on who was chosen and I’ve no intention of wasting my time with it next year.
May 8, 2023 @ 2:40 pm
I want Robert Plant in the Country Music Hall of Fame
RDB in the house
May 9, 2023 @ 7:21 am
I agree with the need for clarity of the mission of the facility. So many great rockers on the sideline. Author of this piece says Willie bucked the trend, but it was Waylon Jennings who led the way with new contract terms, using his own band and choosing his own music. He brought Willie into that direction. Waylon was a rocker first (Crickets) and should be on the list.
May 9, 2023 @ 7:42 am
Waylon is on the list. But he is not the “universally beloved” character across culture like Dolly and Willie were. After Dolly was inducted, my prediction was Willie would be next. My next prediction is Garth Brooks.
I sketched out how I thought this might go after Dolly’s induction. Waylon is on there, but it’s probably going to take a few years.
May 8, 2023 @ 11:46 am
Johnny Cash was not inducted as an Early Influence, but in the Performer category.
May 8, 2023 @ 11:57 am
He was part of the original Sun Records crew, was considered just as much rockabilly as country early in his career, and I don’t think anyone would argue with Johnny Cash being in the Rock Hall. I think a significant line was crossed with Dolly Parton into inducting country artists simply because they’re popular as opposed to their influence or contributions to the rock genre.
May 8, 2023 @ 6:38 pm
No. Johnny Cash was inducted once in 1992. That was it. As a Performer.
May 8, 2023 @ 10:29 pm
I went back and very slightly reworded that sentence to clear up any confusion. I was not trying to make a designation of how Johnny Cash was inducted. I don’t think anyone would argue that Johnny Cash had very significant influence on early rock and roll as a Sun Records artist. The point is Johnny Cash was an integral part of rock and roll. Dolly Parton didn’t, something that Dolly Parton said herself, and the reason she originally recused herself from consideration, and why she’s making a rock record now.
May 8, 2023 @ 10:12 pm
Hank Williams, Jimmie Roger’s and Bill Monroe are the early influences
May 8, 2023 @ 10:29 pm
Yeah yeah. And Johnny Cash had an early influence on Rock and Roll too, and that’s one of the reasons he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Fat Freddy's Cat
May 9, 2023 @ 6:31 am
I’m totally on board with Johnny Cash being in, although on that basis I don’t see why Brian Setzer is nowhere close to being inducted.
May 8, 2023 @ 1:08 pm
Johnny Cash was just as much a rock and roll/rockabilly Artist as a country artist for the first few years of his career, and many of his Rick Rubin albums contain music that is arguably more rock than country.
May 8, 2023 @ 11:56 am
Meaningless. No one has the interest in standards of any kind anymore. I see it in my field and across all segments of society. In popular culture thinking, being excluded is always a negative. Inclusion and trophys for all, is the way. The entire Hall of Fame has become meaningless. And at one point, I was a fan of the place. Let’s just put in everyone who’s ever sold a single song or recorded music. We can just do a mass induction and get it over with. We will add ALL genres ever invented, from Opera to Polka, Reggae, classical, yodeling etc
May 8, 2023 @ 12:14 pm
Kate Bush got in? What? Wow. No one cared about her for 30 years and then a TV show uses one of her songs and now she’s a hall of famer. What a joke.
Willie has no place there. Are they going to choose some random old country star every year now?
May 8, 2023 @ 1:14 pm
And the song that made people care about her isn’t even a rock song by any stretch. An excellent pop song, yes, but not a rock song. The hall of fame is a joke.
May 8, 2023 @ 6:08 pm
Kate’s a British icon and very much an artist’s artist. Being featured on Stranger Things very well may have put her over the top as she’s been nominated three times before. She’s esoteric and left field but there’s a legion of big time artists who hold her in high regard. Prior inductees have a vote and it’s a lock that there’s a crapload of them who voted for her this year.
Saying that nobody’s cared about her for 30 years simply isn’t true.
Non rock acts have been a big part of the institution since day one and that isn’t changing. Willie and Dolly aren’t random old country stars either. At this point, there are no living country acts with bigger cultural pull than they have, so I’m not expecting next year to have anyone nearly as big from this genre.
As to rock acts, Iron Maiden should have gone in this year. Soundgarden should go in as should Joe Cocker, Boston, Foreigner and Jethro Tull.
May 8, 2023 @ 7:36 pm
The fact that Boston is not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is a crime against music.
May 9, 2023 @ 8:14 am
Kate Bush has been a nominee for the Hall for years now. Stranger Things is obviously what pushed it over the edge for her, but she’s been a respected and acclaimed artist for decades.
The argument of whether she or any pop act should be in the Hall of Fame is debatable, but don’t act like she is just some fluke artist who got lucky. That just makes you ignorant of music history.
May 8, 2023 @ 12:56 pm
I haven’t paid much attention to the R&R HoF and definitely nothing against Willie but it is a joke. Iron Maiden as noted above has always been a bit operatic out there for me. Seems too early for White Stripes relative to others? Zevon should’ve been a slam dunk I’d have thought. Ozzy isn’t in? Bad Company, Cocker, Tull? Motörhead? Lame.
May 8, 2023 @ 1:08 pm
Knowing that the “punk” who is only famous because of her marriage was whining about the rock hall of fame not being fair made me smile.
Predictable as it is though, I’m not sure what point she has. You can tell by the nominees that there’s a diversity push…and perhaps the issue goes deeper than this one organization. Google “best rock bands of all time”. The algorithm thinks 51 out of 51 are men. The HOF 8% is better than zero’%. If you change it from “band” to “artist” it’s less than 2% women. Or maybe it’s just the way it is??Waiting for her essay on that, with bated breath.
As for Willie…yeah, it’s dumb. But why would we expect anything more?
May 8, 2023 @ 1:19 pm
I would challenge Love or anyone else whining to (without googling) name 10 female rock artists who genuinely deserve to be in the hall of fame.
May 8, 2023 @ 1:56 pm
The Breeders, The Bangles, Tracy Chapman, Meshell Ndegeocello, Martha Davis and The Motels, The Cowsills, Berlin, Natalie Merchant (formerly of 10,000 Maniacs), Melanie [Safka], the late Candye Kane.
I did not google this, and just assumed these 10 are not in the rrhof yet (I know that Patti Smith, Joan Jett (and I think the rest of the Runaways?), and Pat Benatar are already in, so I did not list them.
May 8, 2023 @ 2:05 pm
I’m not sure that list does what you think it does.
Jeff Kagourtine (pronounced like “Kaggerty”, similar to “Haggerty” [as in Patrick Haggerty]], but with a “kuh” sound at the beginning instead of a “heh” sound at the beginning. Happy Reading!
May 9, 2023 @ 8:56 pm
Can you genuinely say with a straight face that any of these artists and bands deserve to be inducted anytime soon. I’d say Tracy Chapman will be next, simply because of her race and gender, and while she is very talented, she’s not a rock singer. Maybe The Bangles as well, as there are a surprising number of mediocre 80s pop groups in the hall of fame.
May 8, 2023 @ 1:09 pm
You have to think of it as what it really is — a pop music hall of fame — or your head will explode.
May 8, 2023 @ 3:28 pm
The scary part? To be eligible for the Hall of Fame, your first record has to be 25 years old. “Tim McGraw” will reach that age in a little over eight years. I believe it’s safe to say Taylor Swift will breeze through the first round of voting with no problems.
May 8, 2023 @ 10:19 pm
Tim McGraw has passed the mark 5 years ago his debut album was in 1993, his first album to make a hit was 1994 and his major success didn’t start until 1997
May 9, 2023 @ 5:12 am
Taylor’s first record (and hit) was titled “Tim McGraw”.
May 8, 2023 @ 10:29 pm
Tim McGraw passed that mark 5 years ago his debut album was in 1993, his first hits was on his second album and his major success didn’t start until his 4th album in 1997
May 8, 2023 @ 1:10 pm
Next year someone needs to send Lawyers Guns and Money
May 8, 2023 @ 1:26 pm
I haven’t heard a single Willie Nelson played on a rock radio station in my life, and I exclusively listen to rock radio (when forced to listen to FM radio) as Country radio is garbage as we all know.
May 9, 2023 @ 2:58 pm
I can’t prove it, but I’m _sure_ I must have heard On The Road Again on a classic rock station at some point
May 8, 2023 @ 2:19 pm
Stand in the Fire cause it alone exemplifies what Rock n Roll is, was or should be at that moment in time now or then-
Master elite songwriter said it best: there ain’t much to country livin cept shit piss jizz and blood-
May 8, 2023 @ 4:06 pm
Sounds like a bathroom stall graffiti message
Fat Freddy's Cat
May 9, 2023 @ 6:34 am
That is one of the best live rock records ever.
May 8, 2023 @ 2:21 pm
Being honest, they are going to need to change the name at some point just to encompass music as a whole, because it is becoming a joke at this point they call themselves the rock and roll hall of fame and are constantly putting in pop stars and now country stars.
May 8, 2023 @ 2:43 pm
Just because an artist is rock , does not mean they deserve to be in the rock hall of fame, I would pick Willie Nelson over kid rock, cypress hill, green jelly, the gorillaz , there are alot more I could name, sorry but I think Dolly deserves to be in because she has done some pop cross over songs, sung and recorded rock songs with rock artist like Elton John,and did the STRAIGHT TALK album which was definitely not country, it was pop so I still say she deserves to be in, now Willie Nelson, I don’t know, Trigger named some real good candidates that should have Been picked, but it is their list, who knows why they picked Willie, but I look at the one thing that I would like to see, just like Dolly, maybe Willie will record a rock album if he gets inducted, I could go for that, these hall of fames, just like the opry, will nominate who ever they want for what ever reason they have, does it suck yeah, but again look at the Opry, look who they are inducting, Roy Acuff would be rolling over in his grave, if he saw how the quality of inductees have have gone down, so on that note at least the rock hall of fame is not inducting people like kid rock and Cypress hill, believe me I would take Willie Nelson any day of the week.
May 8, 2023 @ 3:41 pm
It is not a rock n roll hall of fame it’s just some sort of music hall of fame.
John J. Collins
May 8, 2023 @ 4:15 pm
Yes, there have been some questionable decisions re. the rock and roll hall of fame inductees. I would personally love to see Brian Setzer get in to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. If Joni Mitchell is in the rock and roll HoF, then certainly Brian Setzer should be (IMHO). 🙂
May 8, 2023 @ 4:17 pm
Willie has probably influenced rock bands. He is a superb writer and excellent selector of songs. He is not rock. 70s Waylon is rock. Willie is awesome and probably the most important country artist since Hank Sr.
May 8, 2023 @ 4:20 pm
ROCK AND JOKE HALL OF SHAME!
Where is Ian Andersen aka JETHRO TULL?
May 8, 2023 @ 4:20 pm
Not that I want to play devils advocate, or anything, even though I am known for doing that very thing. But Willie and Dolly, both have the credentials, in that they both recorded music of a wide and diverse background, not just country, not just rock. Willie Nelson has done almost every style of music with performers from almost every background imaginable.
The man has recorded, reggae, albums, solo albums, accompanied by his guitar, albums that bordered on the psychedelic. Willie Nelson may have started his career in country music, and always come back to it as his general area of comfort, and it’s certainly the style of music most popular with people who listen to Willie Nelson, but Colin Willie Nelson, a country artist exclusively is just silly.
No other country artist that I can think of his albums with trumpeter, Winton, Marcellus, reggae, albums, and can list under their achievements duets with Ray Charles, Snoop Dogg, and probably Bobby McFerrin, I don’t know. At this point, I would be more surprised to find out Willie Nelson hasn’t done a duet with somebody then he has.
And yeah, as other people in this comment section are suggesting, maybe the confusion comes from the rock ‘n’ roll Hall of Fame, insisting, I’m still calling itself, the rock ‘n’ roll Hall of Fame, as opposed to admitting in its name the same thing it’s already doing, which is encompassing artists from other genres who don’t have their own Hall of Fame.
If there is any artist in the history of recorded music, who deserves recognition, equal to Elvis, the Beatles, Guns N’ Roses, Miles Davis, it is Willie Nelson.
Willie Nelson is probably one of the most influential artists in all of music history, not just the history of the record in parts. He’s certainly equal in stature to Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, Sinatra, the Beatles, there is probably not a single person anywhere in the world who doesn’t know who Willie Nelson is, except that island of people who have not been contacted yet.
And there’s a chance they have legends about a man with hair of fire and a voice like Sassafras Who emerges from a cloud of smoke, speaks the divine language, and rides away in a silver chariot
But circling back to our rock ‘n’ roll, Hall of Fame, conundrum, the confusion here seems to be from people who are insisting the rock ‘n’ roll Hall of Fame stays in its lane and services rock ‘n’ roll artists, and people who are acknowledging that the rock ‘n’ roll Hall of Fame has become more of a general music Hall of Fame
As a general music, Hall of Fame, the influence of Pantera pales, in comparison, to the influence of Dolly Parton and Willie Nelson, and I would argue the influence of slayer, Megadeth, and Cannibal Corpse hardly bears mention
So I can certainly see the perspective, where Willie Nelson deserves to be recognized as a general artist, more than other artists from other genres, just on the merit of his work.
But, maybe I’m biased, because, while I am a country music, aficionado, first foremost and formerly exclusively, there are some groups From outside the country genre that I listen to pretty regularly. I happen to like Twisted Sister.
And sure, if you love the Carter family, you almost have to love the Dubliners, if you like Hank Williams, you have to love Ronnie Drew
And if you like country music, as a rule, you’ll probably like some of what is called americana, most of Bluegrass, and some of the folksy stuff where guys like David Grisman reside
And, of course, all of this hinges on defining country music
I will confess, that, by my own standards of what country music should sound like, most of Willie Nelson’s output is more americana than country. I realize that there are people who will absolutely go postal if I say it out loud. But by my own preference of country music from the golden era, much of Willie Nelson’s output doesn’t fall into the category sonically. It doesn’t sound like the Louvin brothers, it doesn’t sound like hank snow, Hank Thompson, or Webb Pierce.
I realize that that’s a very narrow definition of country music, limiting it to the sounds of the 50s and 60s as a rule. I certainly don’t argue with people who open it up to include the sound of country music through the 90s. And yeah, if you show me a Randy Travis, or a Tracy Byrd album, I certainly can’t call it anything but country. But if you were playing Tracy Byrd next to Hank snow the similarities are pretty limited.
So we can argue until we are blue in the face about how deserving Willie Nelson is it being in the rock ‘n’ roll Hall of Fame, but if the rock ‘n’ roll Hall of Fame is intent on inducting, the most influential artist in general, Music, it’ hard to argue tha t Willie Nelson is the most influential artist in any genre
And the confusion seems to be if Willie Nelson is more deserving of being recognized as a rock artist than cream , or the guess who
As a general artist, Willie Nelson’s influence is greater, but inside the rock sphere it probably isn’t
So I guess everybody’s perspective on this depends entirely on what they expect the rock ‘n’ roll Hall of Fame to be. If they are inducting artist from multiple genres to give them recognition, few artists deserves more recognition in terms of their affect on pop culture than Willie Nelson.
But if they’re trying to induct Willie Nelson, on the grounds that his influence is somehow in the spirit of other rock artists, I can see why people are concerned. This is probably the sort of thing a good mission statement would solve if the rock ‘n’ roll Hall of Fame came forward with a mission statement, and a nominating procedure that was generally accepted the way the country music Hall of Fame has.
May 8, 2023 @ 8:59 pm
Great post. I’ll admit I’m one who is just hung up on the name and I still believe there are many, many more deserving “pure” rock artists. What the hell. It’s Willie. And he’s a national (or to your point, global) treasure. Even if his music isn’t, Willie the man is absolutely “Rock ‘n Roll.”
May 9, 2023 @ 6:45 am
My hat is off to Fuzzy Twoshirts. As far as a mission statement goes, I’d hire this very talented writer on the spot. The multiple reasons for Willie Nelson to be inducted as me at the altar call if those first in doubt want to have a Revival of conviction. Rock and Roll embodies such a broad spectrum of music genres. Doesn’t all music genres have influences that helped move those musical styles into popular culture ? I will have to agree that Willie is quite so important to Music in general that there has to be a place at the table for the Red Headed Stranger. I think Willie deserves to be honoured at the head of the table I don’t give a damn what hall of fame it happens to be. To mention some favoured Willie Nelson work in my own record album collection “Stardust” is one of my favourites from start to finish. I must also mention a duet recording of one of his most popular recordings with legendary Blues Singer Francine Reed ‘Funny How Time Slips Away’ always raises the hair on the back of my neck. Besides writing ‘Crazy’ the Patsy Cline classic, Willie Nelson is so many kinds of Rock and Roll Cool that only a fool would even try to count.
May 9, 2023 @ 11:55 am
He is an overrated treasure.
edward A newton
May 9, 2023 @ 8:44 am
Remove the boy band GreenDay
May 8, 2023 @ 4:32 pm
From what is being stated on the ‘net. Willie actually led the vote.
May 8, 2023 @ 4:36 pm
Of course he did. He’s Willie Nelson. Who is not going to vote for a guy like that? You put him on the ballot, and it’s preordained. The public is not going to have some deep discussion about genre, or the long-term ramifications of this stuff.
May 8, 2023 @ 4:48 pm
You are absolutely correct.
May 8, 2023 @ 5:14 pm
It might as well be said here. Fairly or unfairly, country music is unfortunately seen as the bastard stepchild in the existence of rock and roll, even though various permutations of it, particularly honky-tonk, Western swing, and bluegrass, helped to bring it about in the early 1950’s when mixed with the urban and rural blues of the African-American community.
If one really thinks hard along those lines, I don’t think it’s inaccurate to say that Willie came by this with a body of work that would be the envy of a hell of a lot of artists, and that it transcends mere mundane genre labeling–not only in his own songwriting canon, but his covers as well (he and Leon Russell had done “Heartbreak Hotel”; and there’s also “Always On My Mind”–both of which were first part of Elvis’ repertoire).
Yes, the Red Headed Stranger deserves this accolade (IMHO).
May 8, 2023 @ 5:13 pm
Great, like other award organizations, looks like ‘diversity’ is going to take the place of merit. What a fucking joke!
‘Hey Michelangelo! When you’re painting the chapel ceiling there, make sure you place a few angels of color there in the background. And make sure you have a couple rainbow flags, and give God some eyeliner, oh, and put Adam in a dress!’
May 9, 2023 @ 2:40 pm
He actually finished 6th in the fan vote. They wanted fans to pick five nominated artists. The fan vote in order finished: George Michael, Cindy Lauper, Iron Maiden, Warren Zevon, Soundgarden, Willie. Of the fan vote ballot only 1 got in. I get your point Trig but I’m not sure Willie was what kept deserving artists out. I have a list of over 50 artists that would amaze people aren’t in the hall.
May 9, 2023 @ 2:43 pm
My reply was supposed to be after har.
David: The Duke of Everything
May 8, 2023 @ 5:43 pm
No neither Willie or dolly should be in the crock n roll hall of Fame. Even if you can somewhat say any of their music is crossover, it doesn’t mean they should be in there especially over more deserving artist. One hall is enough. Heck the Beatles as well as their members solo did some countryesque stuff. There aren’t any artist bigger than them so they should be in the country hall of Fame if you go by all this nonsense.
May 8, 2023 @ 5:46 pm
While I’m sure Willie will be gracious in his acceptance speech and performance I’m also sure this “honor” doesn’t even crack the top 10 when he looks back at his accolades and achievements (all well deserved obviously)
Country Music has their Hall of Fame, as does Motown (Detroit), Hip Hop (NYC), even Metal (CA)
None of those will ever induct a rock act and they shouldn’t, they have integrity in their honor and they, rightfully, guard the honor that goes with their inductees
there supposedly is criteria for the rock hall which is constantly put to the wayside, there is a concert/awards show that they need to sell seats for and that is their #1 priority
to you point, with so many artists that deserve to be recognized that haven’t even been nominated they should stick to rock or change their name and let someone else start a true Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
as an aside, I do believe that Willie Nelson has had more influence on the current Rock and Roll music then all the other inductees put together and that is 1 of the criteria
May 8, 2023 @ 9:42 pm
Sorry she is in there and you can cry all you want but there is nothing you can do about.
May 9, 2023 @ 9:15 am
Not sure who you meant to reply to …….
I never mentioned any female artist
May 8, 2023 @ 5:48 pm
White Stripes?! 🤣🤣🤣🤣
You talk about Rock but then go on to include pop and metal. How loose are you gonna get with with your genres when you’ve never seen Willie play.
Can’t wait to hear your take on any of the clap track nonsense these days also being county.
May 8, 2023 @ 6:30 pm
Have we met?
May 8, 2023 @ 6:52 pm
“Can’t wait to hear your take on any of the clap track nonsense these days also being county.”
Clearly you’re new here.
May 8, 2023 @ 5:51 pm
My all-time favorite who’s not in the R&R H-o-F (and who happened to be the subject of a country singers’ tribute album some years back, is Jim Croce. And I don’t really care whether they put him in or not, at this point. Croce was still a genius.
May 8, 2023 @ 6:03 pm
Bad, Bad, Leroy Brown … 🎶
May 8, 2023 @ 6:20 pm
Up The Irons
“Scream for me Long Beach…”
May 8, 2023 @ 6:33 pm
Waylon before Willie. No brainer.
Keepin’ it Country
May 8, 2023 @ 8:24 pm
Waylon is dead so of course they’ve got to put in someone who is still alive
May 8, 2023 @ 6:54 pm
Going all the way back to the inaugural Rock and Roll Hall of Fame class, Sam Cooke, Ray Charles and James Brown were soul/R&B artists and, arguably, Fats Domino as well. I don’t think they’ve ever been particularly stringent in their definition of Rock and Roll. Yes, Warren Zevon, Joe Cocker, Jethro Tull and plenty of others should be inducted. But it’s hard to say that whatever pop star they’re inducting this year isn’t worthy when so many other pop stars are already inductees. As for Willie and Dolly, better them than New Kids on the Block or somebody similar, I guess.
edward A newton
May 9, 2023 @ 8:40 am
Remove the boy band GreenDay
May 8, 2023 @ 7:39 pm
I absolutely believe Willie Nelson belongs in the Rock & Roll HOF and is more deserving that Warren Zevon, White Stripes, Cyndi Lauper or any artists you’d like to mention.
We’ve attended 11 of Willie’s Outlaw Fests since its inception in 2016. The coveted spot on the tour is the co-headliner slot. Because Willie can only play 45 min – 55 min a night, the co-headliner does all the heavy lifting. The following are the co-headliner’s we’ve seen on the Outlaw Tour:
2016: Neil Young
2017: Van Morrison
2017: The Avett Brothers
2018: Van Morrison
2019: The Avett Brothers
2019: Bonnie Raitt
2021 :Sturgill Simpson
2021: Sturgill Simpson
2022: ZZ Top
2022: ZZ Top
2022: The Avett Brothers
We are planning on attending two Outlaw Fests dates later this year and the co-headliner artists are Jon Fogerty and Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead.
There’s a lot more R&R HOF’ers touring with Willie these days than Country Music HOF’ers.
Willie’s Farm Aid Board consists of long time members Neil Young, John Mellencamp, and Dave Matthews (Margo Price was added two years ago because Young stopped attending due to the pandemic). For 35 years a country artist wasn’t on the Farm Aid board.
Willie’s 4th of July Picnics in the early years have a lot more Grateful Deads and Bob Dylans in the lineups than marquee country artists.
Go listen to Willie and Family Live and you tell me that’s not a R&R outfit.
I think Willie should have been put in the R&R HOF a long time ago on the strengths of writing the pop standards “Funny How Time Slips Away,” “Crazy,” and “The Night Life” long before he founded the Outlaw movement. Go to Wiki and review the Pop/Rock artists that have recorded those 3 songs.
And Willie has 2 Grammy wins for the best Traditional Pop Vocal Album.
If it’s by association or accomplishments, there’s nothing questionable or undeserving about Willie be inducted into the R&R HOF.
May 9, 2023 @ 10:40 am
Hoptown, as you are the patron Willie superfan of the site ( Triggerman as well) I’m not surprised you would have a spirited rebuttal. In fact you have made interesting points. It boils down to this: is the RRHOF really a Pop music Hall of Fame? If the answer really is yes, then they better add on another 5 wings to the building. No way it can accommodate such an expansive amount of artists.
I’m a dinosaur. I love categorization. I love standards. To me, an orderly and functional society demands structure. Categorization isn’t evil, at least in terms of entertainment. Willie’s great. But has he done a Rock album? Has he ever claimed to be a rock musician? I get what your saying about many of his associates. But I see that as an ancillary argument. Willie and Family Live? I’ve got the album, and don’t see it as a rock record. But if we are gonna consider him based on contributions to pop, then so be it, but let’s change the name of the RRHOF.
May 8, 2023 @ 8:19 pm
I can’t wait for the RnR HOF Class of 2024:
Color Me Badd
Ol’ Dirty Bastard
Rock n roll forever!!!!
May 9, 2023 @ 3:43 am
Monroe was inducted in 1997, Joey.
May 8, 2023 @ 9:27 pm
White Stripes and Soundgarden are a little overrated. I mean white Stripes have one really famous song and that’s it. Most of their other songs are mediocre and unmemorable at best. I find the Strokes and Muse more prolific.
I dont mind Jack White as a solo artist being inducted though. His solo projects along with his record company have done a lot of good for music.
May 8, 2023 @ 11:28 pm
John Mayall is not in the Rock Hall of Fame and all he did was launch the careers of Eric Clapton, Peter Green, Mick Taylor, John McVie, Mick Fleetwood, etc….
May 9, 2023 @ 12:04 am
Missy elliot? Should be called the rock and roll hall of S. H. I. T.
May 12, 2023 @ 2:57 am
Totally agree!!! I lost all respect for the RRHOF. I used to be so proud having it in Cleveland since I am fairly close, not any more! You could not pay me to go!
May 9, 2023 @ 12:19 am
I haven’t paid any attention to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for many years, but I’ve always understood that it wasn’t strictly limited to rock and roll. Back in the 80s, pop acts were often referred to as rock and roll, and the label seemed to be more about an attitude or perhaps just popularity.
If I still cared about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, I would wonder why The Monkees, Joy Division, Love, Sonic Youth, X, The Pixies, Los Lobos, and Björk aren’t inducted yet. I could list many more names, but I’m making a conscious effort not to care.
ps- fuck jan wenner
May 9, 2023 @ 6:46 pm
Given how popular they were (and still are), The Monkees should be in there. Pretty eclectic list you have here. X and Bjork – the Icelandic Kate Bush?
May 9, 2023 @ 2:21 am
It could be argued that Gram Parsons could be considered for the Rock hall of fame considering the influence he had on both Country and Rock. I know there has been a push for him on the Country Hall of Fame every year.
Also, why Johnny Horton is always snubbed for the Country Hall of fame is rather sad.
May 9, 2023 @ 10:15 am
I think he’s already in as a member of the Byrds.
May 9, 2023 @ 12:08 pm
Gram Parsons was not specifically inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of The Byrds in 1991. The induction that year included the five core members of The Byrds: Roger McGuinn, Gene Clark, David Crosby, Chris Hillman, and Michael Clarke.
May 9, 2023 @ 12:18 pm
No Clarence White either, then? They really need to remedy that.
weak knee-ed willie
May 9, 2023 @ 3:27 am
IMO both Marshall Tucker Band and Charlie Daniels Band are more rock and roll than Willie
May 9, 2023 @ 3:53 am
I have so much I can say. Maybe I should even write a book. I will limit my words with 2 statements. First R&R Hall of Fame should be renamed! Call it “Music Hall of Fame ” Second- Any band that could make the Classic Album ” Love Forever Changes ” By Love. Are not be in the R&R Hall of Fame. Is a embarrassed to the world of music! My favorite album. Voted many times best album of the sixties. A pure master piece of music. I have have deep roots with music. I know what I’m talking about! Thanks!
May 9, 2023 @ 4:18 am
Isn’t the problem with the nominating committee? They’re the ones putting artists on the ballot. And apparently they have some kind of vendetta against The Guess Who (who I didn’t realize WEREN’T in the HOF).
May 9, 2023 @ 6:29 am
gatekeeping country music. are there anymore pearls to clutch around here?
May 9, 2023 @ 6:30 am
The fact that Ted Nugent isn’t even nominated should let everyone know how political this R&R hall of fame is.
May 10, 2023 @ 6:04 am
is there a reason my comment about how problematic ted nugent is (by his own admission) regardless of him being conservative wasn’t allowed?
May 9, 2023 @ 6:43 am
Went to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last year stayed for less than 1 hour . What a waste of money . Could not believe the people are in who had only 1 or 2 hits but Grand Funk, Steppenwolf, Three Dog Night, The Guess Who are not in and probably never will be .
May 9, 2023 @ 6:58 am
The Rock Hall is a disaster. Insane bias among the voting block and a bizarre agenda driving most of this nonsense. I am not against any artist that gets in. Happy for all. BUT… if you can push through Jay Z, then by lord you can vote for Foreigner, INXS, J Geils Band, Three Dog Night, Jethro Tull, Styx, REO Speedwagon, Joe Cocker, etc…
As for Willie. Fine. He’s a legend. But they added him on the heels of his 90th birthday party. How convenient for all. It’s all marketing and hype.
And so I ask: when will Waylon Jennings be inducted? If you add Willie then damn right Waylon should go in as well. But again, you start adding the country legends and that’s less room for artists who are distinctly in the rock n’ roll category.
Same issue with Dolly Parton. Another icon, but c’mon. Any fan of ‘rock n’ roll’ knows the Hall is a mess. The legitimacy meter is running low, and I’m not sure it goes up anytime soon – at least not until new leadership comes in, or the old guard finally shuffles off.
Country When Country Wasn't Cool
May 9, 2023 @ 8:21 am
I guess I can see that Willie was nominated for the same reasons that Dolly was. I get it. But it seems like the past few years they are nominating based on what would make a high- rated ceremony versus who should really be nominated. I wonder if the Country Music HOF had a splashy HBO ceremony if the results might be very different there. It seems like the Rock Hall is chasing dollar signs.
I’m disappointed Cyndi Lauper didn’t make it this year, but she will soon.
edward A newton
May 9, 2023 @ 8:37 am
Please remember that as fans of the music and artists / bands, that we purchase the albums / CD’s and concert tickets. The critics who rub the HALL OF FAME doesn’t. They get the albums and CD’s for FREE!! Thier voice / vote shouldn’t count. It should be on us the fans. The ones who has the buying power. Also the HALL OF FAME needs to have rules on induction. Like the BASEBALL HALL OF FAME. If not inducted in 3 years. You are barred for life. For example. L.L. cool Jay was not voted in 7 years. So Mr/ Mrs Jan Wenner put L.L. cool Jay in himself.
May 9, 2023 @ 9:04 am
The Rock & Roll HOF was fan voted. I voted.
May 11, 2023 @ 11:47 am
The Hall of fame just started to use the fan vote a few years ago. Also the Hall of Fame uses the right to over rule. Please do your home work
May 11, 2023 @ 1:16 pm
Fm to C
May 9, 2023 @ 10:56 am
Garth? No way. Chris Gaines? For sure.
Just let DAC into the country HOF already.
May 9, 2023 @ 12:20 pm
Shania should be in the RR HOF. After all, her sound was created by good old Mutt, a rocker if there ever was one. She sure wasn’t anything country.
May 9, 2023 @ 12:55 pm
With the way the Rock Hall is inducting country artists now, there is a good chance Shania goes into the Rock Hall before the Country Hall. I would expect her to be #4 going in right after Garth Brooks.
May 9, 2023 @ 12:57 pm
I have always felt sad and disappointed that I have not made it to the Hall of Fame in my own state. Now reading all the comments and seeing all the amazing bands and artists who have not made it, and seeing so many undeserving, one-hit wonders I no longer want to go!! The HOF Board has made membership a sad joke.
May 9, 2023 @ 1:00 pm
It appears the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame is re-branding to “Whatever We Want Hall of Fame,” because it sure as hell doesn’t have a single serious thought in its collective head.
King Honky Of Crackershire
May 10, 2023 @ 4:12 am
I thought that’s what the Country Music Hall of Fame did already. I canceled it years ago for that very reason.
May 9, 2023 @ 2:44 pm
Maybe ignore the Hall of Fame and their arbitrary picking of artists and groups, that by design, is just to get attention.
They are nobodies, unlike the people they make their fame off the backs of.
Fourth Blessed Gorge
May 9, 2023 @ 5:34 pm
I will never understand how a “hall of fame” can even exist for something subjective, like art. They should just call it what it really is…”The Recording Industry Hall Of Fame”, and just say “you have to have shifted at least ___ units to gain entry”. I mean, Bon freaking Jovi is in the RARHOF, so obviously “units sold” is the main criteria.
May 10, 2023 @ 9:34 am
And yet, Rap music legend Emenan was inducted into the R&R hall of Fame ! Seriously ? Double standards !
May 10, 2023 @ 1:07 pm
I agree with the overall sentiment but at this point the rock hall has jumped the shark so many times they should just call it the music hall of fame. Cyndi Lauper ain’t rock either. Neither is Madonna or Aretha or SO many others.
I also agree that buy including Dolly Parton and Willie it does make it look like they are playing catch up on all the country music they ignored over the years.
But Willie is DEFINITELY more rock than Janet Jackson or Tupac.
David P. League
May 10, 2023 @ 5:32 pm
America had three of the biggest rock albums of all time, but they are never considered. Willie doesn’t even have one. Dolly Parton is a wonderful Country Artist, and at least one of the songs she wrote is a gigantic rock song. Next they will pick Josh Groban? or maybe Michael Bublé.
May 11, 2023 @ 10:46 am
hoss- you’re right, to a degree. mutt should be in as maybe the most influential producer (besides george martin) in rock history. AC/DC, def leppard, bryan adams, etc…he’s a hit machine. and for better or worse (insert opinion here), he single-handedly changed ‘country’ music with his work with shania. and since we’re nominating artists here, i’ll throw a band of the most influential players of all time- TOTO. and they don’t give a shit about it. jeff porcaro? steve lukather? david paich? david hungate? come on, man.
and joey-that was hilarious!! ol’ dirty bastard, indeed!! epic…
May 15, 2023 @ 4:15 am
The R&R Hall of Fame has butchered it’s own reputation by including too many artists. The Country Music Hall of Fame inducts three artists every year. It’s an ultra exclusive place, as it should be. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has no limit and the list of virtually unknown artists in it’s hall is laughable. Induction is not remotely exclusive, making much less meaningful. This article did not mention R&R Hall of Famers like Jimmie Rodgers, Bob Wills, Brenda Lee, Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis Presley and other artists who made significant contributions to both genres. Dolly was not the first country artist to be inducted as an artist either. Johnny Cash and Brenda Lee were both inducted as artists, not early influencers. Take a look at the roster of R&R Hall of Famers. I promise, more that half will be names you’ve never heard of. It will leave you scratching your head.
May 15, 2023 @ 7:19 am
wow I didn’t know Boston is not in the Hall. That’s crazy… Phish should be in too