Kiss’ Gene Simmons Thinks These Artists Don’t Belong in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame might be the most controversial institution related to classic rock music. During an interview, Kiss’ Gene Simmons said many of the artists inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame do not belong there. Here’s a look at some of the artists he feels should be excluded — and some of the classic rock artists he thinks deserve recognition there.

Peter Criss, Ace Frehley, Gene Simmons, and Paul Stanley of Kiss in front of a wall
Peter Criss, Ace Frehley, Gene Simmons, and Paul Stanley of Kiss | Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Kiss’ Gene Simmons said this aspect of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is ‘killing’ him

Love it or hate it, the name of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is a misnomer. Many of the artists honored there aren’t really rock artists. To some fans, it’s nice to see their favorite artists recognized, even if they don’t make rock music. However, other fans feel the establishment should honor rock artists exclusively.

According to Stereogum, Simmons criticized the inclusion of rappers in the Hall of Fame. “You’ve got Grandmaster Flash in the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame?” he said. “Run-D.M.C. in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame? You’re killing me! That doesn’t mean those aren’t good artists. But they don’t play guitar. They sample and they talk.”

Madonna’s “Like a Virgin”

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He then discussed the inclusion of Donna Summer and Madonna in the Hall of Fame. “Donna was my next door neighbor for many years, I knew and liked her, she was on my solo record,” he said. “But if you asked Donna, ‘What kind of artist are you?’ do you think she would say ‘rock?’ If you asked Madonna, ‘What kind of artist are you?’ do you think she would say, ‘Oh, rock!’ So what the hell are they doing in the Hall of Fame?”

Why Nirvana and Amy Winehouse supposedly don’t belong in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

Simmons feels bands and solo artists don’t belong in the Hall of Fame if they only had a few hit albums. For example, Nirvana only released three studio albums before Kurt Cobain’s death, so Simmons thinks Cobain doesn’t deserve the honor. In a similar vein, Amy Winehouse only released two studio albums before her death, so he thinks she’s unworthy of the Hall of Fame. For context, Nirvana has been inducted but Winehouse is not currently eligible for induction because an artist’s debut album needs to be 25 years old for them to qualify.

Amy Winehouse’s “Rehab”

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Who Kiss’ Gene Simmons thinks deserves to be there

During an interview with HLN from 2012, Simmons said a lot of bands inducted don’t belong there either. However, he cited a trio of artists who have been inducted who supposedly belong: Elvis Presley, The Beatles, and The Rolling Stones. He said he was considering buying the Hall of Fame and leaving the Elvis, Fab Four, and Stones material intact.

Kiss was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2014. Simmons clearly has some criticisms of the institution. However, that didn’t stop him from getting inducted.

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