The latest Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominees have been announced. I was not upset with this year’s list, which included the Red Hot Chili Peppers and the Beastie Boys on a return ballot, along with Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Guns N Roses, The Cure, and Faces. All of those bands had some critical claim to the way that rock music was shaped. So while this year’s nominees are solid, there is still one glaring omission yet again—Kiss.
This notable omission is simply ridiculous. Not only is the Hall of Fame ignoring one of the greatest rock acts of the 20th century (for the twelfth year in a row), they are also insulting Kiss fans everywhere and, by extension, rock music fans.
Putting aside my personal biases, I decided to research the qualifications to enter the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, who makes such decisions, and how many acts are allowed to be nominated in one particular year. I wanted to learn, first hand, if Kiss truly deserves to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame.
First up is the initial qualification to be inducted into the hall. This comes from the Hall of Fame’s own website and states the following: “One of the foundations many functions, is to recognize the contributions of those who have had a significant impact on the evolution, development, and perpetuation of rock and roll by inducting them into the Hall of Fame.”
Other criteria are:
- 25 years must have passed since the release of the artists first album
- Unquestionable musical excellence
- Musical influence on other artists
- Length and depth of career and body of work
Without a doubt, Kiss meets all of these qualifications. Obviously they make the time qualification (their first record was released in 1974). They have made a significant impact on the evolution, development, and perpetuation of rock and roll. Kiss led the way for an innovative live stage show. Their live act was the stuff of fantasy before Kiss came along and showed every other band what a live performance should be like.
Then they went ahead and changed the world of music by showing how a live album should be done. Prior to Kiss bands did not release live records. It was unheard of—they wouldn’t sell. Kiss forever changed the way that music is heard and now, every band has a live record, some as their second release.
As for musical influence on other artists, let’s examine the following: Red Hot Chili Peppers have stated they were influenced by Kiss. Guns N Roses have stated that they were influenced by Kiss. Looking at bands that are already in the Hall, Aerosmith was influenced by Kiss. Metallica have stated numerous times what an effect Kiss had on their music. Van Halen was discovered by Kiss (or at least a member of Kiss). So it’s clear that Kiss had musical influence on other artists—including artists that are in the Hall of Fame themselves.
As far as “unquestionable music excellence” goes, look at their album sales. After the Beatles, no other band has more gold and platinum albums than Kiss. Obviously fans thought their music was excellent. If the rating is determined by chart position, Kiss had 10 studio albums and 6 live albums that were in the top 25 US albums. 16 albums in the top 25 is a lot more than most of the performers currently in the hall have.
Seeing as how Kiss meets all the qualifications to be inducted into the Hall Of Fame, let’s take a look at the people who are doing the nominating. What makes these people so qualified to determine who should be inducted into the Hall of Fame? Again, from the hall’s own website:
“The Foundation’s nominating committee, composed of rock and roll historians, select nominees each year in the Performer’s category. Ballots are then sent to an international voting body of more than 500 rock experts.” Performers have to receive more than 50% of the vote to be inducted and usually 5 to 7 performers are inducted each year.
Simply stated, the nominating committee determines who is put on the ballot, and that committee is made up of “rock historians.” And what, pray tell, does it take to be a rock historian? It’s not as if there is a degree in rock music history (or if there is, I’ve never heard of it). Perhaps it is safest to define a rock historian as someone who studies the history of rock music and provides abundant knowledge on the subject. If that is true, or even close, how could these “historians” not nominate Kiss for the Hall of Fame? Is this a personal vendetta? What gives?
Sadly, Kiss’ omission from The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame is annoying and confusing. How could a band with this much history, this much influence on other musicians, this much gold and platinum in their catalog, not be in the Hall of Fame? It makes no sense to me. Love them or hate them, the facts remain…Kiss is Hall of Fame material. When will the “historians” see that?
Follow RyoVie on Twitter at Twitter.com/RyoVie