Rock Hall CEO Optimistic More Hard Rock Acts Will Be Inducted Soon

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame will begin to correct some of its most egregious omissions in the next few years, predicts the organization's president and CEO Greg Harris.

Harris asserted in a recent radio interview that the Rock Hall celebrates "all forms of rock 'n' roll," including heavy metal, despite little evidence so far to support that claim.

Heavy metal artists make up a preposterously large portion of the Rock Hall's notable omissions list, despite the genre's far-reaching influence and commercial vibrancy. Heavy metal architects Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Motörhead both missed the cut in recent years, despite more than two decades of eligibility each.

The Rock Hall has only ever inducted two metal bands: Black Sabbath in 2006 and Metallica in 2009. Sabbath had been eligible for nine years before getting in. Metallica had been eligible for three years. Rage Against the Machine and Soundgarden were both denied induction in recent years after their first-ever nominations.

Getting nominated is the biggest step towards induction, Harris explained, before noting that "over 80 percent of [nominees] eventually do get inducted. So it's really a question of, let's keep nominating them, let's get 'em on the ballot and let's get it out to the voting body. This [2021] ballot had 16 artists on it ... they just can't all go in."

That said, several more genre-defining hard rock/heavy metal artists, including Ozzy Osbourne, Ronnie James Dio, Megadeth, Slayer, Mötley Crüe, Pantera, Alice In Chains, Bad Brains and TOOL are still waiting for their first nomination.

Harris defended the Hall's record on metal, using Def Leppard (inducted in 2019) as an example. But few would agree with that characterization, including Def Leppard frontman Joe Elliott, who has long disputed the metal label. He argues that Def Leppard is simply a "rock band" that was saddled with the heavy metal label because it came up in the '80s.

The 2021 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees were announced Wednesday. This year's class include the Foo Fighters, The Go-Go's, JAY-Z, Carole King, Todd Rundgren and Tina Turner.

One small indication of progress on the heavy metal front is that late-guitar icon Randy Rhoads will be honored at the October 30 induction ceremony with the Hall of Fame's 'Musical Excellence Award.'

Photo: Getty Images

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