Back in October, a list of artist were announced as possible contenders for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame including Jane’s Addiction, Janet Jackson, The Cars, The Zombies, and Chaka Khan — but the artists that came out on top of the nominations were Pearl Jam, Tupac, Electric Light Orchestra, Yes, Journey, Nile Rodgers, and Joan Baez. Baez is the only woman to be inducted in 2017.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has come under fire many times for their lack of female presence over the years. Since 1983, a group of musicians and industry professionals have met to induct new members to “recognize the contributions of those who have had a significant impact on the evolution, development and perpetuation of rock and roll.” The requirements for eligibility are that the artist must have released a record 25 years prior to their induction and “have demonstrated unquestionable musical excellence.” However, only 37 female artists have supposedly met this criteria. Carole King has been inducted for her songwriting, but only along with her ex-husband and songwriting partner Gerry Goffin. She has not yet been inducted on her own as a performing artist. And out of all the executives, managers, and producers inducted none have been women. The hypocrisy only grows with many of the male inductees being multiple recipients. Jeff Beck, Neil Young, Paul McCartney, and Paul Simon have been honored for their work as a solo artist and in a group. While many female artists like Stevie Nicks and Carole King aren’t given the same opportunity.
Over the next decade, a large percentage of the upcoming nominees are women including Annie Lennox, Melissa Etheridge, Sheryl Crow, and Tori Amos. All of whom are and were innovators in music during the ’90s. Hopefully, with the growing list of possible female inductees, the committee will finally be forced into recognizing the women that deserve the honor.
Having Baez inducted in 2017 is another small victory for women in the music industry. She released a statement earlier on her win:
“I never considered myself to be a rock and roll artist. But as part of the folk music boom which contributed to and influenced the rock revolution of the Sixties, I am proud that some of the songs I sang made their way into the rock lexicon. I very much appreciate this honor and acknowledgement by the Hall of Fame.”
For the official release of inductees visit rockhall.com/class-2017-inductions