Authenticity And The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

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“In the 1980s, arguments about the Rock Hall reflected many people’s discomfort with the insider mood of those dinners and the idea that pop music (and especially rock) could support an elite at all. The squabbles shifted in tone in the 1990s. The idea of authenticity was big then, as punk, hip-hop and indie rock rose in influence; so was the romance of the rock underground.

Today, the arguments have shifted again. Pop has replaced rock as the ruling force within contemporary music, and instead of seeming inauthentic, the Rock Hall appears too focused on authenticity. Pop is all about mixed-up fun — it’s multicultural, global and novelty-obsessed. (It’s also feminine, and its return to dominance makes one long for more female voices and faces in the Hall.) Its champions don’t care much about tracing the legitimacy of inheritance. They open their arms to every stray sound and shiny star.”

Ann Powers at the LA Times on The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame


Seth Fischer’s writing has twice been listed as notable in The Best American Essays and has been nominated for The Pushcart Prize by several publications, including Guernica. He was the founding Sunday editor at The Rumpus and is the current nonfiction editor at The Nervous Breakdown. He is a Dornsife PhD Fellow at USC and been awarded fellowships and residencies by Ucross, Lambda Literary, Jentel, Ragdale, and elsewhere, and he teaches at the UCLA-Extension Writer’s Program and Antioch University, where he received his MFA. More from this author →