The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame had another chance this year to show that it does indeed recognize the influence and cultural impact of heavy metal by inducting one of the most impactful rock bands of the last 40 years, Iron Maiden.
Few were surprised that the organization blew another chance to flip the longest-running narrative against it, but many were downright upset — most notably KISS co-founders Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley.
Simmons tore into the Rock Hall in a pair of Tweets Thursday, calling the organization "a sham not to include Maiden. Disgusting!"
He added that the Hall should be "ashamed of themselves" for shutting out Rage Against the Machine for the second year in a row.
Stanley dragged the Rock Hall in late-April — long before the 2021 results were revealed — over Iron Maiden's continued exclusion. Maiden has been eligible for induction for 17 years.
"Regardless of whether it matters to them, Maiden not being in the [Rock Hall of Fame] is INSANITY," Stanley wrote at the time. "Regardless of who is writing in or not, the Committee must induct them. They have helped spawn an entire genre of music. What else do you need to do??"
Iron Maiden opened for KISS in 1980, and the two bands have more or less shared a gigantic global fanbase ever since.
Simmons and Stanley have been sharply critical of the Rock Hall in the past, mostly stemming from what they perceived as disrespectful treatment during their 2014 induction. Stanley has said the band was treated like "uninvited guests" during the ceremony and was never given a schedule or even passes to move freely about the event.
Members of Iron Maiden have repeatedly derided the Rock Hall when queried about the organization and the band did not publicly address its lack of inclusion in the 2021 Rock Hall class.
Frontman Bruce Dickinson once referred to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame museum as a "mausoleum in Cleveland."
"I'm really happy we're not in there and I would never want to be there," Dickinson said. "If we're ever inducted, I will refuse — they won't bloody be having my corpse in there."
For what it's worth, Dickinson's longtime friend and New Wave of British Heavy Metal contemporary Rob Halford of Judas Priest feels differently. Halford has repeatedly lobbied for Judas Priest to be inducted, saying it's important that heavy metal be properly represented at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame alongside other great artists.
Rock Hall President and CEO Greg Harris addressed the relegation of hard rock and heavy metal in a recent interview, suggesting the number of heavy rock nominations suggests a breakthrough is near for the genres.
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