Last week, metalheads were dumbfounded to learn that seminal heavy metal act Iron Maiden were snubbed by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Among this year’s 15 nominees, Maiden were believed to be a shoo-in given their massive legacy of sonic excellence and the regard their show across the globe; their omission in turn raised the question as to why countless heavy metal acts — including Judas Priest and Motörhead — have been left out of the Rock Hall time and time again. Now, the organization’s CEO Greg Harris has publicly defended Iron Maiden not getting inducted this year.
Speaking to Long Island’s WBAB, Harris said, “There’s no doubt that [Iron Maiden] are an impactful, influential band, and that’s why they were nominated this year, along with 15 other artists and acts, and when the votes came in, these six [Foo Fighters, Jay-Z, Tina Turner, THE GO-GO’S, Carole King and Todd Rundgren] were the leaders. So we’re not questioning, are they an important band, are they impactful and influential.
“Of those that have been nominated throughout history, over 80 percent of them have been eventually inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame,” he added. “So everybody has their favorites; everybody has different artists that impacted them or impacted other artists. So, if you look at this list, you can make that case for all of these folks, just like people make that case for Iron Maiden.”
Given that rapper Jay-Z was inducted this year, another question posed to Harris was whether or not the organization should change its name to the Music Hall of Fame. “I think to get to the core of it, people like the stuff that’s closest to them, and I think they need to expand their thinking of rock and roll. It’s a big tent. Rock and roll was never just four skinny guys with long hair and guitars; it’s always been diverse… We take that interpretation that these are all variants of rock and roll. And I think, underneath it, it frequently gets to the hip-hop question because some people are not fans. Well, the fact of the matter is that ship has sailed. We’ve inducted quite a few artists in that canon. It’s a big tent and everybody fits under it. It’s an attitude, it’s a spirit, and that’s rock and roll.”
This year’s induction ceremony will take place at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse in Cleveland, Ohio on October 30th. Fans can hear it live on SiriusXM, or watch it on HBO and HBO Max at a later date.
Words by Chris Krovatin