The Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall Of Fame Knows Nothing About Hard Rock Or Heavy Metal

The Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall Of Fame’s 5 Biggest Hard Rock / Heavy Metal Snubs

I am not one for lists. They are subjective and open to arguments.

Having written that, I will still compile a few lists here and there on this site and possibly instigate something Palin-esque (Michael not Sarah.)  So, with that warning, this list concerns one of the most meaningless institutions ever created – the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame.  Who cares about who is in and who is not? I certainly don’t. The idea that you are given an award or recognized by some all knowing group of people has never excited me.  I’m sure most bands really don’t care and it makes no difference in validating their career.

Yet to legions of dedicated fans of various bands, it does matter. They start online petitions, vent in Rolling Stone or on blogs about their band not being included in The RNRHOF. Every year when the inductees are announced, newspapers, magazines, web sites, blogs and forums, receive angry reader comments about how this performer or act was undeservedly included and this band or person was once again, not enshrined.

The RNRHOF board not surprisingly has a bias against hard rock and heavy metal (not that most of the world doesn’t share this same bias.)  But I believe that hard rock / heavy metal is in most cases an advanced form of rock n’ roll and this is why lots of people “just don’t get it.”

If you don’t like it I’m not going to try and convince you. For those who are devotees, you know the bands that have been omitted. Let’s lay it out.

Presented here are my choices for the five most obvious omissions (in no particular order) to this silly institution.

P.S.- For the definitive albums list no live or compilation albums have been included though they may be worthy.

1. Deep Purple – The band that has gone through more line-up changes than a Major League Baseball All Star Game. Whether it is Mark I ,Mark II, III or IV etc. line-ups as Deep Purple fans identify each incarnation with the shifting and various members, the band has consistently put out quality music since their formation in 1968.

Guitarist Ritchie Blackmore has arguably influenced more hard rock guitarists than anyone including Jimi Hendrix and Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin. Fireball, Deep Purple in Rock and the classic Machine Head are benchmarks of the crunching riffs of all hard rock and metal that would follow. Vocalist Ian Gillan was unmatched in his prime and the rest of the band isn’t too shabby either.  Drummer Ian Paice demonstrates understated elegance every time he sits behind the kit.

As far as the one overplayed, influential song/riff – just one question- is there any rock guitarist alive today who at one time has not played Smoke on the Water?

Definitive Albums to listen to: those mentioned above and, Burn, Stormbringer, Perfect Strangers, The House of Blue Light, Purpendicular.

2. Iron Maiden – One of the only bands that has made consistently good albums for 31 straight years and they are still going strong in 2011 with another sold-out world tour.  Immensely popular with a large worldwide loyal fan base- in the USA where the band received almost no radio airplay during its entire existence, they still have managed to have sold millions of albums.  My favorite band so I’ll keep the accolades to a minimum.

Definitive Albums to listen to: All of them! (except 1994-1998 era) Especially: Iron Maiden, Killers, Number of the Beast, Piece of Mind, Powerslave, Brave New World, Dance of Death.

3. Rush – This is probably the one band that exemplifies what a ridiculous institution the RNRHOF is by their omission.  While the music they have made the last 25 years would no longer be classified as hard rock, Rush is defined by their hardcore fans by the output of their first ten years, when they rocked harder than anyone.

A magnificent trio who individually are superb musicians and as a band are so tight, that if you put each member in a different city and went “1,2,3”  simultaneously and they started to play a song, they would still be in synch hundreds of miles apart without being able to hear one another. Okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration.

Neil Peart has been a model for most modern rock drummers and subjectively is still one of the best. Alex Lifeson and Geddy Lee have been and always will be songwriters: not pop flavor of the month hit-makers.  They respect their fans and the fans have respected them.

Definitive Albums to listen to: Any album produced by Terry Brown with the 1975-1981 output being outstanding Fly By Night, 2112, A Farewell to Kings, Hemispheres, Permanent Waves, and Moving Pictures.

4. Judas Priest – In 2011 they announced this would be their final world tour. Rob Halford is the “metal god.” The core of Judas Priest: guitarists KK Downing and Glenn Tipton, with their synchronized mane shaking, head bobbing / rocking their guitars up and down in unison, inspired a whole generation of air guitarists.  Bassist Ian Hill stays so far away from the limelight that many Priest fans would not recognize him if he were to walk through an arena prior to a show.  Judas Priest is a tight and influential band that delivers the goods live and has produced definitive power metal “hits” that did get radio airplay, yet they have never been considered sell-outs by other heavy metal fans.

So many great songs and staying power for nearly forty years, they are a unique dynamo of a band.

Definitive Albums to listen to: Stained Class, Hell Bent for Leather (Killing Machine UK release), British Steel, Screaming for Vengeance, Defenders of the Faith, Painkiller.

5. Motörhead– I first saw Motörhead in 1984 at The Beacon Theatre in New York with Exciter and Mercyful Fate as the opening acts. It was the first and last time I did not wear earplugs to a concert. My ears were literally ringing for two days afterwards and I still believe that it permanently affected my hearing (not the 300+ other rock shows I have attended.)

The loudest band in the world has also probably been the catalyst for thousands of other bands. They are one of the few rock bands that have crossover appeal to punk, hardcore, blues, rock and every type of heavy metal –thrash, speed, death etc. Founder, bass player and singer Ian “Lemmy” Kilmister certainly does not need an induction into any club, but it would show that the RNRHOF is able to recognize easily one of the most influential rock bands ever.  Beyond the album and song Ace of Spades, Motörhead plays three chords, but they play them louder and faster and better than most anyone else.

Definitive Albums to listen to: Overkill, Bomber, Ace of Spades, Another Perfect Day, Inferno, Kiss of Death.

UPDATE 2014: Rush was finally inducted in 2013 and from the honorable mention list below, Kiss was inducted in 2014. Prediction: Motörhead and Deep Purple are the next two from this list that will get in soon.

UPDATE 2016: One more off the list as Deep Purple was put in albeit without Ritchie Blackmore attending the ceremony. Now that Motörhead and Lemmy (and Phil Taylor) are dead, they will almost certainly be inducted in the next year or two. Nothing like honoring dead people and bands. A day late and a dollar short.

16 additional honorable mentions for induction




Ronnie James Dio












Thin Lizzy

If you care, which hard rock / heavy metal bands should be inducted?

4 thoughts on “The Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall Of Fame Knows Nothing About Hard Rock Or Heavy Metal

  1. Tonyad Nelson

    Michael’s music blog is where those who LOVE good, independent rock and roll love to go to read about and watch videos of some really great musicians. I have Goth Shredders, progressive rockers, blues artists and just plain good Rock and Metal!!!

  2. Luke Madigan

    I highly agree with you; all of these bands are so much better than any artist that is actually in the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame, and that’s just the truth!

  3. Funkmeister

    Bands inducted into the RNRHOF should be the ones that defined an era or the genre. What about bands like The New York Dolls and Ozzy Osbourne? The list of those forgotten is limitless. Heavy metal isn’t the only genre with a plethora of the left behind. One that comes most to mind is Willie Nelson. I see Johnny Cash… but no Willie.


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