Lists

10 women who should be in the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame leaves us with the same feeling every year; arbitrary, anecdotal, and completely outdated. To be eligible for inclusion, an artist or band must have released their first single or album at least 25 years ago.

The 2020 class includes Depeche Mode, The Doobie Brothers, Whitney Houston, Nine Inch Nails, The Notorious B.I.G., and T-Rex, as well as veteran rock journalist, producer and artist manager Jon Landau. As you can see, it’s a boy’s club of a business.

rock & roll hall of fame women

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame has, unsurprisingly, fallen flat again this year. Breaking away from the so-called inclusive class, here are 10 women who deserve an induction. 

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is, unsurprisingly, overwhelmingly white and male. A grand total of one woman was been nominated this year; the pop singer Whitney Houston who died in 2012. Three women were up for induction this year on a list of sixteen potential Hall-of-Famers. Pat Benatar, four-time Grammy Award winner, didn’t make the cut and Rufus featuring Chaka Khan, eligible since 1999, was left out after the fourth time.

The Hall, founded in the early 1980s, has received sharp criticism over the years, addressing their poor record of including women. Last year Janet Jackson addressed this issue in her speech: “2020 — please induct more women.” According to one count of the 888 people who have been inducted over the hall’s history, just 69 of them have been women, which is less than eight percent.

For the most part, art made by women still don’t seem to make the cut (the last Oscars are a good example), so we thought we’d make a list of ten women we consider worthy of the Hall-of-Famers canonisation. Of course, it’s far from being an exhaustive list.

Dolly Parton

Despite eight Grammys, a career that spans several decades, and a significant influence on Southern women — all American women, really — Dolly Parton is still not part of the Hall of Fame. Hank Williams has been canonised, so why not Dolly?

Grace Jones

Everyone, from Madonna to Björk to Beyoncé to Lady Gaga has been inspired by her visual identity: a distinctive androgynous appearance, New Wave style, and bold features. Grace Jones is a style icon, disco queen, avant-garde rocker, Bond girl, and provocateur.

Nobody tells Grace Jones what to do.

Björk

The Icelandic experimentalist’s first album as an adult, Debut, was released in 1993, so it was pretty close to this year’s cutoff. 

Even if her music is often described as anything but rock (from electronic, to pop, and avant-garde music – but that hasn’t stopped the Hall recently), Björk is a singular and influential artist of the late twentieth century.

The Go-Go’s

The Go-Go’s rose to fame during the early ’80s and were the first, and to date only, all-female band that both wrote their own songs and played their own instruments to top the Billboard album charts.

The band marked the era with their debut album Beauty and the Beat, paving the way for a host of other iconic American acts.

Tina Turner

Well, Tina Turner is already part of the Hall of Fame, but not alone. She was sharing the spotlight with her abusive ex-husband, Ike. Tina Turner may just be one of the greatest living performers, crossing racial lines and overcoming violent oppression, never compromising on her stardom.

Cyndi Lauper

We all know Girls Just Want to Have Fun, but Cyndi Lauper’s legacy is far greater than that. She tackles subjects like self-pleasure, freedom of thought, action, and self-determination. Plus, she is behind the Goonies’ music.

Cyndi Lauper has won pretty much every music award there is — Grammys, Emmys, Tonys, VMAs, AMAs, Billboard — except the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Chaka Khan

Self-described ‘alpha chick’, Chaka Khan is considered the queen of funk. With Chaka Khan on vocals, Rufus were an immediate sensation: she had both a hell of a voice and a raw stage presence.

Now 65, Chaka Khan has had a career in music for over 50 years. She has won 10 Grammys and has been nominated twice for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, but never inducted.

Barbra Streisand

Given her achievement of selling 150 million of albums worldwide, it would be hard to dispute Barbra Streisand’s right to be ranked among the all-time greatest female artists.

And when she sang Send in the Clowns targeted squarely at Trump at New York City’s Madison Square Garden, we were not-so-gently reminded that some legends are legendary for a reason.

Sade

It’s easy to forget that Sade remains one of the most successful, lucrative artists of the past four decades. She’s sold over 50 million records worldwide, with five of her six studio albums certified three times Platinum in the United States.

Sade has always refused to compromise or let the industry meddle with her art, and her critical acclaim lets that show. 

Pat Benatar

A solo rock-pop act who has empowered females through her work (Treat Me Right, Love Is a Battlefield) and who has never cared about political correctness.

Remember her Hell is for Children, decrying child abuse? It was bold. Pat Benatar was a favourite among fan voters this year, but didn’t make the cut. If anybody is worthy of a vote into the 2020 class, it’s her.