25 Years of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

The Takeaway

The following is a partial transcript; for full story, listen to audio.

When Iggy Pop and The Stooges were playing tiny little dive bars around Detroit, they were anti-mainstream, edgy, anti-establishment, broke the rules about pop music, and were completely unconcerned about social manners and decorum.  Now, they may be going into a museum.  They been nominated for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and face stiff competition from the likes of Kiss, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and ABBA.

Many of the acts that started in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s will perform at New York's Madison Square Garden to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

It's been 25 years since the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame opened its doors to the music-loving public ... or at least, the music-loving public willing to travel to Cleveland. Some of the most famous acts in rock and roll history have been inducted into the Hall of Fame over the years. But as music sales decline with the advent of digital records and music piracy, how is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame holding up? 

Andy Langer, music critic for "Esquire," looks at the music recognized by that institution and how it's faring in the age of the MP3, and whether or not the newest nominations present an accurate picture of rock music.

"The idea of the the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is to document, archive, and create a narrative history of rock and roll, and I think for a lot of the early years, absolutely.  They had 50 years to choose from when they started this 25 years ago.  You had Elvis, you had Chuck Berry, you had Ray Charles.  Now they are up to Metallica and Grand Master Flash ... It needs to cover a lot of ground; there is always going to be debate."

There are many groups qualified to be in the hall of fame, and their exclusion is fodder for many music-lovers to debate.

Langer says, "I'm from Austin, Texas.  Stevie Ray Vaughan is one of the top five greatest guitarists of all time, and pretty much agreed-upon as such, but he's not even on the ballot.  It is a bizarre system of who gets on the ballot and who doesn't.  There has been accusations that they are just trying to build the best television show possible.  In a lot of ways, I think that might be true."

"The Takeaway" is a national morning news program, delivering the news and analysis you need to catch up, start your day, and prepare for what’s ahead. The show is a co-production of WNYC and PRI, in editorial collaboration with the BBC, The New York Times Radio, and WGBH.

More at thetakeaway.org

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