Gene Simmons: 'Pop, Hip-Hop Don't Belong in Rock and Roll Hall of Fame'

Iconic rocker slams acts who don't "sing or write."

Ultimate Guitar

Kiss frontman Gene Simmons has spoken out against pop and hip-hop acts being allowed into the hallowed Rock and Roll Hall of FameGigwise reports.

The iconic shock-rocker and Kiss are themselves to inducted next month alongside the likes of Nirvana, but has slammed the institution and "back room politics" for previously allowing artists such as Run DMC, Madonna and Donna Summer a place.

"They can run their organisation any way they'd like, but it ain't rock!" Simmons told Radio.Com. "You've got Grandmaster Flash in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? Run DMC in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? You're killing me! [It] doesn't mean those aren't good artists. But ... They sample and they talk. Not even sing!"

He added: "If you don't play guitar and you don't write your own songs, you don't belong there."

When asked about the inclusion of acts such as Donna Summer in the Hall, Simmons replied: "Donna was my next door neighbour for many years. I knew and liked her, she was on my [1978] solo record. 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!'... [Soon they will] get the Boston Pops Orchestra to be inducted!"

Kiss, Nirvana, Peter Gabriel, Cat Stevens, Linda Ronstadt and Hall & Oates will all be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on 10 April, 2014.

97 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Hard to argue.
    KISS is a glorified boy band from the 70's who can barely play their instruments. I'd rather see Public Enemy and the Beastie Boys in the RRHoF than KISS. Just one guy's opinion.
    But they're NOT rock. I mean it doesn't even make sense to induct artist from another genre into a hall of fame for rock.
    It all depends on what you think qualifies as "rock" and what doesn't. If you're in the mindset that rock music stopped evolving with the classic bands of the 1970s and that any music that isn't a (reasonably close) copy of that music is NOT "rock" then yes, Gene Simmons is right. I'm in a different school of thought. I think that so much has happened with rock music since the rise of punk rock, hip hop and metal that term "rock" is pretty much pointless unless you're talking strictly nostalgia; Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones and Aerosmith are OBVIOUSLY rock bands, right? What about Sonic Youth? The Red Hot Chili Peppers? Radiohead? Nine Inch Nails? Are THEY rock bands? Rock music has changed and evolved so much over the last 5 decades that unless the RRHoF starts disqualifying any band that pushed the genre in new directions... There won't be any more "rock" bands left to induct - turning the RRHoF into a frozen museum with zero modern relevance... which is already happening.
    Ok, to put it this way, Rock music is any music that feature predominately a guitar, bass, and drum sound. Rock music tends to be of a faster tempo in 4/4 time. However keyboard instruments such as synthesizers and pianos are not uncommon and many bands have experimented with the sounds of guitars through effects such as octavers, tape echos, distortion, and chorus pedals. Fusion genres are also popular such as rap rock, blues rock, and folk rock. Bands inducted into the rock and roll hall of shame should have had a significant impact on the genre and fall into the above description. This does not limit bands such as the Chili Peppers, Radiohead, or Sonic Youth because each of those bands could be described as such.
    So are the beastie boys rock? They have songs that are only the instruments you named? I just don't understand why you all would want to limit praise and admiration of good music to what you think is "rock" It's so limiting to put your label on it. I guarantee those guys at the rock hall know a hell of a lot more than all of you guys.
    Yes, the Beastie Boys are rock. The feature music that id predominately guitar, bass, and drums. My description does not rule out fusion genres such as rap rock as I stated above.
    well put chrisp I look at the term rock n roll as an attitude or as corny as its sounds sticking it to the man and any music that influences people to rock whether they are playing instruments or not rrhof does suck but your right they know more about music as a whole then the people that visit this site, also everyone hates gene and talks shit on him all the time then he says something that's his usual bullshit and everyone agrees with him, this article is no different from what he usually says... by the way kiss ****ing rock
    You should run the RRHF because just like haven't a clue.....
    you should be pope. you're out of touch and irrelevant to the matter
    They induct groups like public enemy because the lyrics, the music, attitude, spirit, etc. Is rock n roll it doesn't have to sound a certain way to rock
    yeah, I think it does. rap is rap and rock is rock. Gansta rap has a lot of attitude, so does eminem, but he is not rock.
    I love how the best comments in this thread are being downvoted and the ignorant ones read, "+55"
    Are you upset because people are not mindlessly bashing Kiss like you expected?
    Its just something you have to deal with when most of the people are all still in grade school
    Maybe they're Roll music, not Rock, so they could still belong in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
    it used to be called rock and roll .people see rock and think -bands that play down tuned screaming stuff.
    I have to disagree because they have some very nice guitar solos in their songs. I guess Ace Frehley and Bruce Kulick are the magic sauce of the band.
    I completely agree with what he's saying. I mean, I really like Grandmaster Flash, I think his music is great and really well thought out, but it just ISN'T rock. I think Gene was actually very respectful when he gave his reasoning, too. He said how it doesn't mean they're not good artists. He's completely right. There should be a "Pop and Hip-Hop" Hall of Fame, because they don't belong with the Rockers...
    I like Pop, and I love Hip hop. But I completely agree that they don't belong in the Rock and Roll hall of fame. Says it there right in its name. 'Rock and Roll'
    If you look at the criterion for submission, they honour acts/artists who have been influential in rock and roll and/or its subgenres... So hip-hop acts like Public Enemy, for instance, who were the inspiration for later rock bands like Rage Against the Machine (who obviously incorporated rap into their music) have every right to be in the Hall.
    Why does this get downvoted?
    Because whether you influenced it or not doesn't make you someone who deserves to be inducted out of the thousands who rock it harder than some influence. I'll put it this way for everyone who really doesn't understand what that means: There's an annual Wine Hall of Fame award presented to the best tasting wine. Although all the submissions were wine, because some of these nominated wines used the same delicious grapes, the grape distributor won this year. Not only will the wine-makers compete against each other from here on, but with the grape distributors as well - which is some absolute bs for the hard-working wine-makers.
    That seems like a logical fallacy based upon the naming of the rock and roll hall of fame. They have laid out their criterion for submission and that allows for bands like Run-DMC and Public Enemy to be admitted for being incredibly influential on future rock bands. If you don't like it then quit paying attention. Everybody knows that these kinds of awards are shit anyways.
    Because not really rock a matter of fact I don't know what it is but its definitely more Rap than Rock....
    You're right, but then the generaly quality of a band becomes part of the criteria. Run-DMC and Public Enemy (imo) are infuential enough to meet the HoF requirements, but they're also good bands. Nobody will say that in 30 years (or sooner if he dies) when Justin Bieber gets his induction for having influenced lots of girls to cut their hair and slit their wrists. Nobody will agree, but he'll get his induction, because he's influenced the direction rock music has taken merely by annoying everyone to the point where dad-rock is cool again, and a good pop musician follows the trend, so more rock music makes it to the Top 40s. But then I might be talking out of my ass just for the sake of arguement
    Gene Simmons runs his mouth about literally everything, but I mean, on the other hand it is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
    He's right, but i don't agree with any hall of fame that includes Kiss anyway.
    TaVO Gene Simmons didn't write or sing "I was made for lovin you"
    "I Was Made for Lovin' You" is a song by American hard rock band Kiss, originally released on their 1979 album Dynasty. It was released as the A-side of their first single from the album, on the B-side was "Hard Times". Taken from the Wikipedia article. Edit: You're right! apparently Gene Simmons had nothing to do with this Kiss song (I read the complete article).
    Paul Stanley wrote it.
    Yep, another member of the same band. No one member wrote all of the songs. Having a single writer/composer leads to a limited sound and short term band. (Eggs all in one basket.) And to the folks saying Kiss was a 70s boy band... All popular bands of the past could be called some modern day moniker. Think hard about this: Today's rockers have built upon what has come before. Without these influences I dare say we wouldn't have today's rock.
    Kiss doesn't belong in the a Rock Hall of Fame, either. They're just a bunch of no talent circus clowns.
    Who cares about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame anyway?
    Appearently Mr. Simmons does, and a lot too. Even though he claims that he doesn't. Oh the irony.
    I don't really think "they sample and they talk..." is a very good way to sum up the incredible amount of talent and intricacies that go into making good hip hop. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is bullshit anyway, music isn't really that cut-and-dried.
    Who says you have to sing to be in rock? Is Steve Vai not Rock? Eric Johnson not rock? This will always be classic 80s rock to me
    Better guitar lines than some things you here today.
    Why did they bold Cat Stevens? He writes his own songs and plays guitar. Gene's criteria = met. Also, CAT STEVENS DESERVES TO BE IN EVERY HALL OF FAME EVER BECAUSE
    I think Gene Simmons is nothing more than a greedy, money, hungry slut, but he hit it on the head with this one folks. It is the " Rock and Roll " Hall of Fame , not Hip Hop, Rap, or Pop, HOF ! Acts like Madonna, ABBA, Public Enemy, Run DMC , etc, do not belong in there.
    So by this logic your telling me I can't induct Football players into the Hockey Hall of Fame???!??!
    He's right. Guy's a conceited ******* but he's right about this one. I just wish we could acknowledge it behind his back without letting him know so he wouldn't get to see an ounce of the public backing him up. Cause it'd go to his head too. That said, there really does need to be a separate thing for different genres. I know people like the Rock and Roll hall because it's already institutionalized, but it's time to branch out.
    Elvis was shit at guitar and he wrote not a single of his songs. All of Gene Simmons arguments are now void.
    Hate on Kiss all you want, back in the 70s they wrote good stuff and inspired countless guitarists. Gene is quite the doucher though. Being all about money puts you in the same spot as those who don't write their own music in my eyes.
    This is like the first thing I agree on with Gene Simmons
    Says the guy whose most known song is obviously a disco tune (I Was Made For Lovin' You). Although he's got a point there. As good as these artists are, this ain't the Grammy's, this is supposed to be focused on Rock And Roll and any subgenre spawn of it. But also lets not forget that the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame is nothing but a joke and has always been biased by sales and money rather than music, it is no surprise that the Sex Pistols declined this a couple of years ago.
    Most known song? Nah, that would be Detroit Rock City or Rock and Roll All Nite. Or if you want a Gene Simmons specific song, God of Thunder.
    New generations yes. A lot of people from older generations hate that tune, or remember kiss for the earlier records. It happens in our generation as well. People like metallica's ride the lightning, hate everything that came out 20ish years later. One example, but there are many..same shit. Earlier kiss records have very nice riffing and is imo pure rock n roll.
    You may be right. I have never really liked Kiss. That explains why my knowledge of the band is really limited.
    Right on the money. They were considering inducting artists like LL Cool J this time around as well. The hell kind of requirements does the RRHOF have for them to consider people of other completely different genres?
    He's right they don't belong in the ROCK n roll HOF. They can get their own ghetto hall of fame.
    I agree, though I'm having difficulty with his statement saying that "if you don't play guitar... you don't play rock." I don't think an entire genre should be defined by one sole instrument.
    I agree with what he's saying. I love a bit of Pop every now and then and I definitely love Hip Hop, but it doesn't really belong in the RNRHOF.
    Groups like Run DMC have influenced todays music throughout its genres and deserve to be part of RRHF since their innovative and groundbreaking legacies resound even in rock these days.
    There is no rock being produced these days....Run DMC's only ground breaking was sampling Aerosmith...
    I don't get it, unless you're saying that an artist must be 100% rock to belong in the category then... that's a really shitty standard lol. Run-DMC had a Rock song, so if that song gets recognized and they get recognized they belong there just the same.
    Some rappers had a "rock and roll" attitude and even tried to make a difference in society, while Gene Simmons became the biggest businessman in the industry. Tell me, which one sounds more rock and roll?
    You know, becoming a businessman doesn't take away anything Gene has done in the past when it comes to rock and roll. Good for him for expanding his horizons, being a rockstar doesn't mean being stupid like many people believe. Dave Grohl is just as much a businessman as Gene, he's got tons of investments outside music and also markets Foo Fighters incredibly well, but you don't see people complaining about him. Life is not black or white. People grow up, mature, learn and change. It's all part of being a human being.
    Dave Grohl has also made good music consistently. He hasn't just ridden on the coattails of some decent-ish music he made back when his hair color didn't come out of a black dye bottle.
    Dave Grohl has also made good music consistently. He hasn't just ridden on the coattails of some decent-ish music he made back when his hair color didn't come out of a black dye bottle.
    Ironic how everyone defends Gene for growing out of the rock and roll attitude. But when a modern band like Arcade Fire or the Black Keys shows up on this site, everyone pulls out the "where are the real rock stars?" excuse and bashes them for being too tame and not having an "attitude". People can't only use that excuse when it's convenient.
    Second Rate
    The second one. These days Rock musicians are such caricatures with their textbook left wing political views and poorly informed anti-business tirades that being an outspoken advocate for open markets and investment is a far greater act of rebellion than being a thumb sucking middle school communist. Oh, and having a "rock n roll attitude" does not make one a rock musician. Gene Krupa's lifestyle was pretty "rock n roll," but you'd be stretching the truth to call any of the music he performed rock. To pinhead... the quality of Dave Grohl's music is debatable. In the opinion of this listener... for every one good song he writes, far more of them are complete pablum because for every "All My Life" (that is the title isn't it?) and "Monkey Wrench," You have a "For All the Cows" and "Learning to Fly." I'm not the biggest fan of Kiss, but their first two lineups have released far more songs i've enjoyed than the Foo Fighters have.
    so who cares hall of R&R cucks, and all those money grabbing ex-rockstars are so incredibly uninteresting, why can't UG just STOP sharing these contentless articles.
    Bad Kharmel
    I don't think its so much that groups that stretch the definition of "rock and roll" don't belong in, so much as I think the induction process is messed up, you have problem with who's in it when its missing others that clearly should be, why have they inducted Paul McCartney something like five times and never got around to deep purple, why are rappers in it before classic rock, why is Kiss inducted the same year as Nirvana it just confuses everyone
    He's right but I also think KISS shouldn't be in there either. Drop the makeup and you got a crappy rock band not exactly pioneers of sound
    Everything Gene Simmons says these days gets autocorrected in my head to, "I'm bitter about the fact that everything I've done since the mid 70s is complete crap and no one pays attention to me anymore."
    What about Kid Rock or Linkin Park?
    Linkin Park should be inducted just because they were/are a face of a genre and time period in rock music, plus they have had immense success and while they changed their style its hard to say they sold out, they just changed
    I somewhat agree. There are many artists who don't belong in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the fact that they aren't rock artists makes it an even bigger deal. However, I can't argue with Michael Jackson or Run DMC being in there. Michael Jackson is one of the greatest artists of all time in any genre while Run DMC are pioneers of the hip-hop genre. The Rock Hall should be reserved for the most legendary and influential artists. If only pop and hip-hop artists like MJ or Run DMC were in, I doubt there would be a complaint. My issue with the Hall of Fame isn't with who's in. It's about who isn't. The fact that artists like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, and Deep Purple aren't in is a disgrace.
    The RRHoF is a joke, it'd be nice to quit hearing about this trash on UG.
    Well, he's right. We can all discuss the merits, good or bad of Kiss or even Gene Simmons but that is a different subject entirely to the RnRHOF.
    The Rock n Roll hall of fame isn't just for Rock. It's incorrectly named but it's designed to hail those who have been important in music history. If it was only for rock then there would be no Beatles, no Black Sabbath, no Public Enemy...all those bands write their own music and play instruments but are not rock. Gene Simmons isn't even that great of a musician so he's got no real ground to stand on other than being a greedy poser who is only famous due to a bit of makeup
    If Run-DMC and Public Enemy are in the Rock & Roll Hall of fame for their contributions to the genre, I have to ask when is Aerosmith and Anthrax getting into the Hip-Hop Hall of Fame for their's? If you want it to be the Music Hall of Fame, that's fine: change the name and start an actual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. If not, keep the acts from other genres out. They have their own halls, they don't need to be in this one.
    I agree. If it is called the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame then it should only be filled with Rock and Roll. It's not the Rock, Rap, Pop, Dubstep, Flamenco, Spoken Word, Movie Soundtracks Hall of Fame.