Chrissie Hynde Says the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Has ‘Absolutely Nothing To Do With Rock & Roll’

Chrissie Hynde
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Chrissie Hynde
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Photo Credit: Raph_PH / CC by 2.0

Chrissie Hynde writes a dismissive Facebook post about the Rock Hall on the tail of Courtney Love’s scathing op-ed review of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame institution.

For some artists, recognition by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is an honor symbolizing their achievement as a musician. But for Pretenders frontwoman Chrissie Hynde, the whole thing “is total bollocks.” On Friday, after Hole frontwoman Courtney Love posted a scathing op-ed review of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame — which followed her Instagram carousel about it earlier in the week — Chrissie Hynde took to Facebook to share her thoughts on the institution.

“It’s just more establishment backslapping,” wrote Hynde. “I got in a band so I didn’t have to be part of all that.”

The singer says that when she learned her band was being inducted into the class of 2005, her heart sank.

“I knew I’d have to go back for it as it would be too much of a kick in the teeth to my parents if I didn’t,” she explains. “I’d upset them enough by then, so it was one of those things that would bail me out from years of disappointing them.”

Aside from Neil Young’s generous induction speech, Hynde says the “whole thing was, and is, total bollocks. It’s absolutely nothing to do with rock n’ roll, and anyone who thinks it is is a fool.”

Courtney Love’s Guardian op-ed criticized the Rock Hall’s lack of female representation, stating that just 8.48% of inductees are women and that only nine women are seated on the organization’s nomination board. Love also noted the astounding length of time for some legendary women musicians to be nominated or inducted, in addition to some glaring omissions she points to in calling into question the “ol’ boys club.”

“If so few women are being inducted into the Rock Hall, then the nominating committee is broken. If so few Black artists, so few women of color, are being inducted, then the voting process needs to be overhauled,” writes Love. “Music is a life force that is constantly evolving — and they can’t keep up.”

Love notes that more women were nominated this year than at any other time in the organization’s 40-year history, including Kate Bush, Cyndi Lauper, Sheryl Crow, and Missy Elliott. However, Kate Bush is on her fourth nomination but didn’t make it onto a ballot until 2018, after the Hall of Fame’s co-founder and Rolling Stone magazine founder Jann Wenner was inducted in 2004.

“Never mind that she was the first woman in pop history to have written every track on a million-selling debut,” says Love of Bush’s The Kick Inside, released in 1978. “A pioneer of synthesizers and music videos, she was discovered last year by a new generation of fans when ‘Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)’ featured in the Netflix hit Stranger Things. She is still making albums.”

“The Rock Hall has covered itself in a sheen of gravitas and longevity that the Grammys do not have,” Love adds. “Particularly for veteran female artists, induction confers a status that directly affects the living they are able to make.”

“The Rock Hall’s canon-making doesn’t just reek of sexist gatekeeping, but also purposeful ignorance and hostility,” Love concludes. “If the Rock Hall is not willing to look at the ways it is replicating the violence of structural racism and sexism that artists face in the music industry, if it cannot properly honor what visionary women artists have created, innovated, revolutionized and contributed to popular music — well, then let it go to hell in a handbag.”