Joan Jett fans love rock'n'roll again. After years seeing the veteran rocker snubbed by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, news broke Thursday that Joan Jett and the Blackhearts are on the list of nominees for the Cleveland museum’s Class of 2015. Jett joins Lou Reed, Nine Inch Nails, the Smiths, Sting, Green Day, NWA and more than 10 others whose induction will be voted on by music-industry types and the general public.
If anything, the nominations are notable for the decided lack of outrage they have generated. Although there have been some grumblings from heavy-metal fans wondering when Motley Crue and Judas Priest will get their just deserts, most of the online chatter Thursday has been positive. Green Day loyalists have already retweeted a call to vote for the band more than 500 times. And fans of Lou Reed, who passed away a year ago this month, have been posting well-wishes to his posthumous Facebook page.
It’s an awful lot of goodwill for an organization that is often accused of being too snub-happy, or too secretive, or simply-tone deaf to outside criticism. Which raises the question: Is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame finally listening to its critics?
In fact, it has been listening for at least the last few years. In 2013, for instance, Rush was finally inducted into the Hall, after years of complaints from fans who believed the snub was nothing more than a reflection of the founders’ – including Rolling Stone magazine’s Jan Wenner -- personal music tastes. Moreover, the museum opened up voting to the public two years ago amid protests about its notoriously secretive selection process.
Kiss, another act that had long been passed over, was inducted this year. The April ceremony -- which bolted Cleveland for Brooklyn’s Barclays Center -- notably featured the surviving members of Nirvana playing some of their biggest hits with women rockers like Jett and Kim Gordon taking the place of Kurt Cobain, who committed suicide 20 years earlier. That ceremony was seen by many as a redemption of sorts for the image-challenged Rock Hall.
Perhaps the museum’s founders had no choice but to pay attention to what critics were saying. Revenue for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum Inc., the nonprofit organization that runs the Rock Hall, has been steadily declining. According to tax records, the organization brought in $34.3 million in revenue in 2010. The following year, that number dropped to $24.4 million. And in 2012, the last year on file, the group brought in only $19.2 million.
Of course, there will always be those who feel the whole idea of a formal “Hall of Fame” is simply inconsistent with the rebellious spirit of rock music. If you count yourself among them, never mind the bollocks. Just read about that time the Sex Pistols subbed the museum by calling it a “p--s stain.”
Otherwise, check out the full list of the 2015 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominees here.