Courtney Love says Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame can “go to hell in a handbag” unless it honours more female and Black artists
Courtney Love has reiterated her call for more female acts to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame, while highlighting that there are also “few” past inductees of Black origin.
The Hole vocalist recently took to social media to respond to an article titled ‘Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame celebrates women who rock’, which had been shared by author and journalist Jessica Hopper.
“Do they tho?” Hopper wrote. “719 inductees to the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame, only 61 are women. That’s 8.48 per cent. C’mon @rockhall, it’s FUCKING GRIM BRO when yr doing worse than women-artists-on-country radio numbers (10 per cent) and women headliners at major music festivals (13 per cent).” She went on to share a host of supporting evidence in a lengthy thread of tweets.
Love subsequently quote-tweeted Hopper’s post, writing: “[Hopper] DOES THE MATH! 37 years in existence & women make up 8.48 per cent of inductees out of 719.”
The singer attached a screenshot of a text she had sent Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl about his own induction to the Rock Hall, and how he should “hold the seats of Tina Turner and Carole King, both who have been eligible for over 30! years each”. Grohl has been inducted into the hall twice: with Nirvana in 2013 and Foo Fighters in 2021.
“ELIGIBILITY is 25 years after 1st release,” Love added, noting how Foo Fighters “were nominated 4 secs later”.
Today (March 17), the Guardian published an article written by Love titled ‘Why are women so marginalised by the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame?’, in which the star expanded on her issues with the hall.
Recalling the first Rock Hall in 1983, she explained how Black singer Sister Rosetta was omitted from the list of inductees that year, and how there was “not a woman in sight”. Love went on to note that the hall was “publicly shamed into adding [Rosetta] in 2018”.
“Big Mama Thornton, whose recording of Ball’n’Chain also shaped this new form of music? Still not in,” she continued. “Today, just 8.48% of the inductees are women.”
Love then turned her attention to this year’s Rock Hall nominations, which were announced last month. She said the list – featuring the likes of Kate Bush, Missy Elliott and Cyndi Lauper – “offered the annual reminder of just how extraordinary a woman must be to make it into the ol’ boys club”.
“More women were nominated in one year than at any time in [the Rock Hall’s] 40-year history,” Love wrote.
But she said there was “no guarantee” of Bush “being a shoo-in this year”, despite her being a “visionary” who was “discovered last year by a new generation of fans” when ‘Running Up That Hill’ featured in Stranger Things (the song later saw a huge surge in streams and broke chart records).
Later, Love noted how it took over 30 years for the Rock Hall to induct Nina Simone and Carole King. She also said that Chaka Khan – who’s been eligible since 2003 – has not yet been inducted. “For all her exceptional talent and accomplishments […] Khan has not convinced the Rock Hall,” she wrote.
“Linda Ronstadt released her debut in 1969 and became the first woman to headline stadiums, yet she was inducted alongside Nirvana in 2014. Most egregiously, Tina Turner was inducted as a solo artist three decades after making the grade alongside her abuser, Ike.”
Love explained that nine of the 31 people on the nominating board are women, with Rock Hall voters being 90 per cent male.
Additionally, Love said “it doesn’t look good for Black artists”, writing: “The Beastie Boys were inducted in 2012 ahead of most of the Black hip-hop artists they learned to rhyme from. A Tribe Called Quest, eligible since 2010 and whose music forged a new frontier for hip-hop, were nominated last year and again this year, a roll of the dice against the white rockers they are forced to compete with on the ballots.”
She also acknowledged the recent online controversy surrounding a male journalist’s criticism of Meg White’s drumming ability. The musician could be inducted into the Rock Hall as one-half of The White Stripes in 2023 (the duo’s first year of eligibility).
“You sense that if voters could get Jack White in without her, they would do it today,” Love wrote.
The Hole singer said that the hall’s nominating committee is “broken” if it is unable to recognise “so few women”, adding: “If so few Black artists, so few women of colour, are being inducted, then the voting process needs to be overhauled.
“Music is a lifeforce that is constantly evolving – and they can’t keep up. Shame on [US network] HBO for propping up this farce.”
Love concluded: “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 honour what visionary women artists have created, innovated, revolutionised and contributed to popular music – well, then let it go to hell in a handbag.”
The Class of 2023 will be announced in May, with the induction ceremonies due to take place in the autumn.
Last year’s Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame inductees were Eminem, Duran Duran, Dolly Parton, Lionel Richie, Carly Simon, Eurythmics, Judas Priest and Pat Benatar.
Earlier this year, fans of the late singer Aaliyah campaigned for her to be inducted into the Rock Hall.