The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ‘fan vote’ is a joke

Bon Jovi, Rock Hall

Bon Jovi has been nominated for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, next year.

Creating the illusion that rock fans have some input into who goes into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the institution started, five years ago, an online “fan vote,” in which anybody can vote for up to five candidates a day.

Bon Jovi is currently leading this year’s poll, with more than 450,000 votes. The Moody Blues are in second place, with about 367,000. Following them are Dire Straits, The Cars, Judas Priest, Eurythmics and 13 other candidates. Voting ends Dec. 5, and the inductees will probably be announced about a week later.

What most people voting in the fan poll may not know is that winning it does a nominee virtually no good. The five top vote-getters are put on a single ballot, which counts no more than a ballot submitted by one of the hall’s regular voters — according to the hall’s web site, “more than 900 historians, members of the music industry and artists.” It’s unlikely, of course, that that single vote will put a candidate over the top.

Now, it is true that the first five winners of the fan vote — Rush, KISS, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Chicago and Journey — did in fact win induction in the general vote, over the last five years. But there is no guarantee that this will happen every year. In fact, it’s going to be very interesting to see if Bon Jovi gets into the hall after, presumably, winning the fan vote this year (their lead seems pretty insurmountable). Jon Bon Jovi has said he believes that some hall executives have some kind of vendetta against him.

Is it possible that hall voters keep an eye on how the fans are voting, and take that into account when casting their own ballots? I doubt it. I mean, it might have some slight effect, but this would not seem to be a major factor, either.

So if you’re a Bon Jovi fan … by all means, vote.

But just keep in mind that the band could win — and then lose, anyway.

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17 thoughts on “The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ‘fan vote’ is a joke

  1. The Hall is a business…. don’t they realize how DEVOTED Bon Jovi fans are? Get them in the hall then do a special exhibit on the top floor just if the band, like you’ve done for so many series and bands before! Fans will come in droves! I myself have been to the Hall and will only EVER go back for a Bon Jovi exhibit.

  2. Is there any other Hall of Fame which has fan voting? Certainly not the various sports halls. There have been fan voting techniques for the baseball and basketball all-star games, which often resulted in manipulated results, from 7 Cincinnati Reds being voted to start the baseball game (ahead of Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, etc) to Yao Ming beating Shaq thanks to mass Chinese voting.

    There has been a lot of commentary (notably by KISS) that the Rock Hall voters are elitists, but if the Hall is meant to honor not the most popular, but the very best, a fan vote is no more appropriate here than it would be for the Oscars, which also tends to nominate few box office smash hits.

    • Agree fan voting is problematic for a hall of fame. But if you’re doing it, it should mean something. For the Rock Hall, fan voting has so little impact it’s practically meaningless.

  3. Well this should show them that we mean business then. Yes there is someone in the hall executives that does have it out for Bon Jovi that’s why I thought they were having the fan vote. To see if they were worth the shot to let in so as you see they are in the lead so far ahead that if they aren’t put in there is going to be such an out cry it won’t be funny. And their subscriptions will be going down like 450,000 way down. It really isn’t fair because they were eligible years ago and so many have been inducted before them. I don’t even watch it anymore it’s not even worth my time even when there is someone I want to see. I don’t care anymore. That’s is just how dishearten I am over this whole thing because they are so unfair with this. And I’m not the only one that feels this way. You want us back then get Bon Jovi into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame where they belong.

  4. I understand what your perspective…either make the fan vote actually count for something or don’t do it. My own problem with it is that white, male, baby-boomer friendly classic rock acts always dominate these polls. It’s very tough for other sub-genres: early rock like Link Wray, R&B like Chaka Khan or The Spinners, modern artists like Radiohead or Green Day, and alternative acts like The Smiths or The Replacements, and certainly rappers like LL Cool J or 2pac, to make much headway. Look at the top 5 right now…Bon Jovi, The Cars, Moody Blues, Dire Straits, Judas Priest– all five fit the “White, male, classic-rock artists who peaked in the 70s or 80s” mold. There’s nothing wrong with being white, or male, or a classic rocker– but the wide story of rock and roll has so much more breadth than that, and covers so much more ground in terms of genre, style, and influence.

    Ultimately, I’d be in favor of scrapping the fan poll entirely, and maybe finding some other way to get people involved in the Rock Hall. Maybe allowing fans to record testimonials about their favorite artists’ impact on their lives, or something…

    • I don’t know if it’s really fair to bring race (black vs. white) into it. Some genres that are predominantly white (heavy metal, prog) have been as overlooked as genres that are predominantly black (hip-hop, reggae). And the Hall seems more open to blues and R&B than country, for some reason. I mean, Willie Nelson should be in before Bobby Womack, in my opinion.

      Similarly, I don’t know that you need to say “male” in “White, male classic-rock artists who peaked in the 70s and 80s.” I mean, virtually all of them were male, anyway. Can you think of any hall-worthy female classic-rock artists from the ’70s and ’80s who haven’t been inducted yet?

      • Race should not be brought into it, otherwise, we could also legitimately claim “reverse discrimination”. We could claim age discrimination. And probably every other type of discrimination that exists. If the voting members are supposedly elitists, they don’t act like it, look at their choices. They have reasons for voting the ridiculous way they vote, the public has yet to figure it out. I will never go to the Hall of Fame based on the way it votes AND on the way it displays exhibits. How do they decide that one band gets 3 feet of exhibit space, and another group, 10 feet? How do most of the groups that get nominated even get nominated? Is this HOF for A, B, or C level performers? They need to do more to accommodate the fans’ desire to honor the best, or we should totally SHUN them and refuse to support them in any way, shape, or form, — they are the Hall of Shame.

  5. There’s a moment at the end of Jersey Boys when the original Four Seasons are reunited and inducted into the RnR Hall of Fame, and one of them says, “Nobody can take this away from us, because this is from the people!”

    At the time, I had no idea what he was talking about. I still don’t. It’s a good thing Jan Wenner and Dave Marsh like male falsetto.

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  7. The so called rock n roll hall of fame lost all credibility years ago by nominating non rock n roll acts like Madonna and numerous rap artists. This only proves that their committee members are grossly ignorant about what rock n roll even is.

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