About the time when the Rock of Roll Hall of Fame nominees begin to be mentioned each year, I start wondering what it must take, exactly, in order to be on that list. Now mind you, I don’t think enough about this to actually look into it – it’s just one of those things my mind fleetingly recognizes, and meanders past. I believe there’s some sort of voting, probably a promotional response to getting nominated…perhaps a little payola on the side (how dare I suggest such a thing!)…well, I think you get the idea. Invariably though, I will briefly think to myself “What does rock and roll really mean these days though?” Is there actually a categorical description?? There probably is, and no – I’m really not going to research it and report back. No time. The point is, I do wonder about what is really considered rock music, and in that same moment, I’ve wondered about pop music and how it fits into the puzzle.
Well think no more, music fans. As it turns out – and going back to my opening declaration, I’m not sure how I could have missed this (Maybe there’s a blog back there somewhere that I wrote about this very thing….but I doubt it.), but there is actually a pop music hall of fame. I’m sure you’re as shocked by this as I am. Even better, guess where this fantastical, magical place is located in all of the planet. Go ahead, make a guess. I’m pretty sure you’re gonna be way off…unless of course you’ve been better about following the news than I.
*clears throat* America’s Pop Music Hall of Fame is located in none other than Canonsburg, Pennsylvania. More on the America bit later.
I’ve studied quite a bit about American Music History – everything from Tin Pan Alley to Hip Hop. I wouldn’t say I’m an expert by any means, but I have definitely taken more than my fair share of coursework in the area (thanks to that music minor in college). I just couldn’t remember Canonsburg being a pop music mecca. I was so wrong. Apparently Canonsburg, with it’s population of just 12,000 – had quite a history of producing pop stars. Six of them, in the 1960’s: Perry Como, Bobby Vinton, and the Four Coins – and collectively these stars had over 200 chart hits. So there it is. Live and learn for another day.
This year, the top 25 nominees have been announced. Voting is taking place now, and will end on October 31. The induction will be in December. The list includes The Monkees, Dionne Warwick, The BeeGees, Elton John, Chicago, The Carpenters and many more. There are many artists who would have never been included in the RRHOF and yet deserve a marked place – even with all of the politics involved – in music history, so here they go.
Originally, I’d questioned the point of calling it America’s Pop Music Hall of Fame. I mean, pop music isn’t just an American thing by any means. Elton John, for instance, was not born here in the US. But, he is the third most successful artist in the history of the American charts. So I guess that gives him his free pass to being nominated…I mean, third most successful and all. Can’t overlook that, right? So the whole point of it being “American” (which I still find a little off putting to the rest of the world) is that in order to be nominated, the artist/band/etc should have been a success on the US charts, and hey – Pennsylvania is located in the US, and dang it, it was their idea anyway.
Given the age range of the nominee list, it would appear that we’ve got a while before we get to the point where pop bands/artists/etc from the decade I love most will begin to be nominated, but I’m curious to see where this will go, and where the dividing line between the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Pop Music Hall of Fame will reside. In my view, it does tend to blur quite a bit as time goes on…but what do I really know? I’m just a fan.