Courtney Love calls out 'sexist' Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

8 months ago 2

Only about 8% of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees are women.

WASHINGTON — Courtney Love is calling out the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for a history of misogyny and a lack of women among its inductees.

In a Friday op-ed published in the Guardian titled "Why are women so marginalised by the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame?", the former Hole singer and guitarist writes of getting into music "to write great songs and have fun." 

But, she said, "what no magazine or album could teach me or prepare me for was how exceptional you have to be, as a woman and an artist, to keep your head above water in the music business."

Love points out a history of women overlooked by the Hall of Fame, including Big Mama Thornton, who paved the way for Elvis but is still not an inductee herself. 

"When the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame started in 1983, you would have thought they might want to begin with Sister Rosetta, with those first chords that chimed the songbook we were now all singing from. The initial inductees were Chuck Berry, James Brown, Ray Charles, Little Richard, Sam Cooke, Fats Domino, the Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis Presley; not a woman in sight." 

Love pointed to this year's list of nominees, which includes more women than ever, including Kate Bush, Cyndi Lauper, Missy Elliot and more. But, she noted, even for a powerhouse artist like Bush -- whose "Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)" made a resurgence in 2022 after a feature on "Stranger Things" -- it's her fourth time on the ballot. Her first nomination was in 2018, despite becoming eligible in 2004, and she still has not been inducted.

 "Never mind that she was the first woman in pop history to have written every track on a million-selling debut," Love wrote. 

Love criticized the Rock Hall of Fame's nominating board, which contains 22 men and only nine women. Voters, made up of musicians and industry bigwigs, are 90% male, according to music historian Evelyn McDonnell

"The Rock Hall’s canon-making doesn’t just reek of sexist gatekeeping, but also purposeful ignorance and hostility," she added.

The Hall of Fame may be a "boomer tomb," Love wrote, but being inducted can affect an artist's ticket sales and offer life-changing opportunities. But most of all, the Rock Hall "is a bulwark against erasure, which every female artist faces whether they long for the honour or want to spit on it," Love wrote.

Sharing the article on Instagram Friday, Love wrote that the Rock Hall could "GO TO HELL IN A HANDBAG."

Love's essay follows an Instagram post last week, which she captioned "So over these ole boys" in response to a tweet from author Jessica Hopper pointing out that only 8.48% of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees have been female, adding "#fixtherockandrollhalloffame."

In response to the essay, Chrissie Hynde, frontwoman for The Pretenders and a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee in 2005, weighed in on the topic and didn't pull punches.

"I don’t even wanna be associated with it. It’s just more establishment backslapping. I got in a band so I didn’t have to be part of all that," Hynde wrote. 

She didn't want to return to the U.S. for the ceremony but did so for her parents. 

"It’s absolutely nothing to do with rock ‘n’ roll and anyone who thinks it is is a fool," she added.

If anyone wants my position in the rock ‘n’ roll Hall of Fame they are welcome to it. I don’t even wanna be associated...

Posted by Chrissie Hynde on Friday, March 17, 2023

Inductees for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's class of 2023 will be announced in May. 

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