This past summer The Husband and I made our first pilgrimage to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. I will admit that we had ulterior motives in making the five hour drive around the lake that didn't involve visiting the shrine, but while we were there we knew that we needed to finally see the place. It was a fantastic experience and one that I would gladly repeat again and again. A music lover's paradise. One of my greatest thrills during our trip to the Rock Hall was viewing the remarkable exhibit set up to honour Women Who Rock. It was like Cleveland knew I was coming and designed a special showcase just for me. We spent hours perusing and listening to all of the greats. It was pure joy.
We finally made our way into the screening room to view the film that honours all of the hall's inductees. I enjoyed it thoroughly, but was tremendously dismayed at the dearth of women who have actually been inducted into the hall. Did you know that while the Rock Hall has been open since 1983, it took until 1987 for them to induct their first woman, Aretha Franklin? There have been 619 total people inducted and only a handful of them women, some of whom were members of bands that were ushered in collectively like The Mamas and the Papas or Fleetwood Mac.
So I need to ask the question, "Where are the Women"? Where are the likes of Heart, Pat Benatar, Linda Ronstadt, Carole King (as a performer), Cyndy Lauper, Donna Summer, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, The GoGos, Janet Jackson, or The Carpenters? And this is just a list of the obviously missing. How does a group like the Red Hot Chili Peppers make it this year and not the Wilson sisters who paved the way for them? One might start to wonder if a gender bias exists in Cleveland?
Look it is obvious that rock and roll has traditionally been a guy's game, but women have forced their way into the picture and can no longer and should no longer be ignored. These omissions are neon-lighted slights that need to be corrected. Will they also ignore Melissa Etheridge when she becomes eligible next year? Travesties!
While we wait and hope for these errors to be corrected, we can and should acknowledge the great Laura Nyro who made the cut this year as the ONLY woman inductee. In the meantime, if you have a chance to get to the Rock Hall to see the Women in Rock exhibit I highly recommend it. It is on display until February 2012.