CLEVELAND (TND) — Every year, when the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame releases its list of nominees to be potentially inducted into the annals of rock history, the moment raises a perennial question: what is "rock and roll"?
This year, fans and critics of the Hall are wondering how artists like Mariah Carey, Cher, Sade, and Mary J. Blige count as "rock and roll."
Tell me again, [when] Mary J Blige, Mariah Carey and Sade were played on which rock radio stations?," wrote X, formerly Twitter, user @TraceyRosen, in a reply to the announcement. "Quit pretending and just rename it the music hall of fame or something.
The Hall of Fame, based in Cleveland, Ohio, released its list of potential nominees for its 2024 induction ceremony Saturday. The full list featured Mary J. Blige, Mariah Carey, Cher, Dave Matthews Band, Eric B. & Rakim, Foreigner, Peter Frampton, Jane's Addiction, Kool & The Gang, Lenny Kravitz, Oasis, Sinead O'Connor, Ozzy Osbourne, Sade, and A Tribe Called Quest.
The mix of late 1990s rock and hip-hop, 1970s and 1980s pop rock, pop divas and the prince of darkness (Ozzy) sparked a myriad of reactions online: from those pleased with the diversity of the choices and others criticizing the artists they struggled to see as fitting in rock history.
When country music queen and pop culture icon Dolly Parton was nominated in 2022, another flashpoint for the Hall's history, the institution argued that its definition of "rock and roll" was less a matter of specific stylisting genre markers like distorted electric guitars.
From its inception, rock and roll has had deep roots in rhythm & blues and country music. It is not defined by any one genre, rather a sound that moves youth culture," the institution wrote that year.
The Rock Hall has faced myriad criticism over the years for its dearth of progressive rock, heavy metal and punk and alternative artists that are not widely popular. A commenter on X noted that Jethro Tull has never been nominated despite the group's longevity and influences.
The final list of inductees will be released in April and the induction ceremony will be televised on ABC and stream via Disney+ later in the year.
Fans can vote on a ballot of the nominees online, the winner of the fan ballot will receive a single vote in the election process.