Growing up in America, you learn to appreciate all forms of music without having to lump all styles into any one descriptive designation. Serious, eclectic or street music need not have one social source. The respect therein is to allow for a separation of taste and a democracy of choice so that consumers can identity with sounds that they like and not have to play into the fan peer pressure or zeitgeist consensus of what's popular, trendy or current.
While inspirational themes of music are pretty much the same regardless of genre, the audio correlation of what is hip or cool is not, since gatekeeper critics of American music would have us believe that only urban, grunge, or downbeat sounds of minor key tonality qualify as the best rock 'n roll. These same arbiters of what is acceptable to hear all too often leave out the ear candy of soft rockers who substitute melody for beats and hooks for sampling.
There is this attitude in the music biz that easy listening rock music is somehow inferior to the loud hard stuff. Under a psychiatric definition, this is a headcase study of sonic depression more befitting a one trick pony of mad or sad music as opposed to something with more bright balance or subtlety. This way of thinking is why many 70s soft pop rockers from America to Bread and a lot of 80s arena acts from Journey to Toto are not in the Hall of Fame.
Granted, rock has its roots in R&B, soul and country western. But to limit the scope of quality worth celebrating or worthy of immortalization is to practice musical fascism. Some people's heads are wired to zone into music that is light and uplifting, others prefer to listen to what makes them feel moody, empowered or confrontational. This is why rock 'n roll has a reputation identity with the misfit, the anti-hero and malcontent as the ultimate party music.
That's all well and fine to appease rank and file fans. But if we limit cherished sacred sounds of rock to the latter, that would make us a lowbrow land of downer souls with no musical direction except to drown our sorrows in or get wasted on hard listening. Without emotional creative balance, art is less colorful and inclusive and becomes more about niche attitude than pastime entertainment. To like all of rock isn't kind to be cruel or hip to be square.
By split hair induction of far too many crossover stars from distinct musical islands like jazz, rap, etc., the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame has strayed from the true nature of rock, lost credibility and jumped the shark. While it salutes the bohemian, the obscure, the unsung, lesser known, miscategorized or undeserving, missing multitudes of iconic acts of narrow-minded judgment are ignored and their contributions segregated from fair demographic recognition.
One could surmise that KISS's renewed nominee chances in the 2014 voting may or might spell a forgiving shift in the process of picking and choosing who is a legendary rock 'n roll band. But then again, that would be more of a capitulation to fan demand than an acquiescence of critical leeway. Pioneers will always get their just due and hard cookie cutter journeymen will join them. But as long as all rock sounds lack equal induction, something is wrong.
Cleveland as the birthplace of rock put small town America on the world map. But taken in context, it is a city of US averages and not elitist affectation. Without MOR rock, populist ballad and anthem favorites in between to even out the tally of those honored, the R&R HoF will always be a popularity contest for effete snobs more in tune with what is base measured than major key lead. All rockers must be included, not just bad boys and bad asses.