Why the Monkees Aren’t in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Despite its name, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame honors artists of all genres — but not the Monkees. Monkees member Peter Tork feels one celebrity publisher has excluded the Monkees from the Hall. Micky Dolenz opened up about his feelings about the Hall as an institution.

The Monkees
The Monkees | Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

The Monkees’ Peter Tork on an ‘abuse of power’

Some classify the Monkees as a rock band whereas others see them as a bubblegum pop band. However, this is irrelevant when it comes to the Hall. Rock, soul, pop, rap, and R&B artists have all been inducted into it. The Hall honors everyone from Little Richard to Nine Inch Nails to ABBA — but not the Monkees.

Tork feels one businessman is responsible for the Monkees’ exclusion: Jann S. Wenner. Wenner is a founder of Rolling Stone and a founder of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Few non-musicians are as associated with music as he is. 

Jann S. Wenner at a podium
Jann S. Wenner | Mike Coppola/Getty Images

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Tork told PageSix that Wenner overrode a vote and excluded the Monkees from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Tork said Wenner made this decision on a whim. Why?

Supposedly, Wenner wouldn’t allow the Monkees to get inducted into the Hall because they didn’t play their own instruments. Tork wasn’t sure if he felt his band deserved a spot in the Hall, however, he thought Wenner’s actions constituted an “abuse of power.”

“I’m a Believer”

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Is Wenner truly the reason the Prefab Four can’t make it into the Hall? It doesn’t seem Wenner publicly commented on the controversy. However, Billboard reports an anonymous member of the Hall’s committee said Wenner “has completely taken over.” In addition, the committee member called the Hall “The Jann Wenner Show.”

Mickey Dolenz on how the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is like a country club

The Hall is designed to honor musical excellence — something which certainly is subjective. The Monkees have sold many records, but the Hall isn’t primarily focused on popularity. Dolenz opened up about his feelings about the Hall. 

The glass exterior of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame | Lesley Ann Miller/WireImage

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“I don’t want to sound flippant, but I never cared one way or the other about that — or about frankly any other accolades or awards,” Dolenz told Billboard. “I’ve never been one to chase that stuff, ever. My greatest thrill was winning an Emmy in ’66. But the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is, like, a private country club, and ‘We’re not gonna let in who we don’t want in our club.’ It’s their prerogative. So I’m not going to chase it.”

Although Dolenz isn’t concerned over getting inducted, some Monkees fans have campaigned for the Prefab Four to get into the Hall. “I’m very, very flattered that the fans have done petitions and written letters and pushed as hard as they can,” Dolenz said. “That kind of devotion is as good as getting in [the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame], really.” The Monkees may get into the Hall someday. Regardless, they’ve earned the sort of fan devotion that makes a band last through the years.