Women Rock ... But Not According to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, located in Cleveland, annually recognizes musicians who have had a significant impact on rock and roll. Performers become eligible 25 years after the release of their first record. To date, of 296 inductees only 40 have been women or had female members. Melissa Spencer is trying to change that.
This year Joan Jett (and the Blackhearts) along with Heart have been nominated for induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Melissa, with her Women in the Hall Campaign, is working to spread the word about this year’s nominees and raise awareness in hopes of getting other influential female musicians nominated and inducted.
To kick off the campaign the group created a float for the Cincinnati Northside 4th of July parade and took to the streets. Their float emphasized the work of Joan Jett, Pat Benatar, Heart (Ann & Nancy Wilson), Linda Ronstadt, and Cyndi Lauper, among others. Spurred on by songs like “Crazy on You” by Heart, Melisa and the group connected with the parade goers and rallied support.
“What we discovered, as we fed them information, as best we could is that if they weren't outraged that Heart wasn't in they were outraged about Joan Jett or Ronstadt or Benatar,” Melissa noted. She continued on to describe an interaction between her and another parade participant. “One favorite moment from the parade: I saw one of ‘The Floaters’ say to a woman I'd say was in her mid-to-late 50s ‘Only 10% of the inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame are women.’ Before the woman could comment, what I assumed was her 6-year-old-ish grandson asked her, ‘where is the Women's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?’ She said, ‘Well, why would it be separate?’ ... and gave me a look that was the final confirmation that a campaign was underway.”
Although the group is small it has support and it’s growing. You can find out more about Women in the Hall on their Facebook page.