Chrissie Hynde Slams Rock Hall

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Chrissie Hynde (in an undated photo from the artist's Facebook page)

Chrissie Hynde (from her Facebook page)

Chrissie Hynde has slammed the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, describing it as having “nothing to do with rock ‘n’ roll.” The classic rock legend’s blast appeared on her Facebook page today (March 17, 2023), a few days after the anniversary of the Pretenders’ 20015 induction. “If anyone wants my position in the… Hall of Fame they are welcome to it,” she wrote. “I don’t even wanna be associated with it. It’s just more establishment backslapping. I got in a band so I didn’t have to be part of all that.”

Hynde’s salvo followed an editorial penned by Courtney Love that appeared in The Guardian earlier that day. In the piece, headlined, “Why are women so marginalized by the rock & roll hall of fame?,” Love noted that just 8.48% of the inductees are women. “It took the Rock Hall 30-plus years to induct Nina Simone and Carole King. Linda Ronstadt released her debut in 1969 and became the first woman to headline stadiums, yet she was inducted alongside Nirvana in 2014. Most egregiously, Tina Turner was inducted as a solo artist three decades after making the grade alongside her abuser, Ike.

“The Rock Hall recognized Pearl Jam about four seconds after they became eligible – and yet Chaka Khan, eligible since 2003, languishes with seven nominations,” she wrote. Tongue firmly planted in cheek, she added, “All is not lost, though – the Rock Hall is doing a special program for Women’s History Month on her stagewear.”

Hynde was an American from Akron, Ohio who was living in London in the 1970s. By day, she had a job at the British weekly music paper, New Musical Express. By night, she was performing with a variety of rock bands.

In 1978, at 26 years old, Hynde met the individuals who would become Pretenders: drummer Martin Chambers, guitarist James Honeyman-Scott and bassist Pete Farndon.

Their 1980 self-titled debut featuring their cover of The Kinks’ “Stop Your Sobbing,” “Mystery Achievement” and the hit, “Brass in Pocket,” was a smash, entering the British album charts at #1 and reaching the U.S. top ten. It wasn’t obvious, though, that this English-American band would become a classic rock force.

Related: Pretenders are on our list of songs that defined new wave

In her March 17, 2023, salvo on Facebook, Hynde also wrote, “I was living a happy life in Rio when I got the call I was being inducted. My heart sank because I knew I’d have to go back for it as it would be too much of a kick in the teeth to my parents if I didn’t. I’d upset them enough by then, so it was one of those things that would bail me out from years of disappointing them. (Like moving out of the USA and being arrested at PETA protests and my general personality).

“Other than Neil Young’s participation in the induction process, the whole thing was, and is, total bollocks. It’s absolutely nothing to do with rock ‘n’ roll and anyone who thinks it is is a fool.”

Related: Listings for 100s of classic rock tours

Pretenders were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on March 14, 2005, by Young, who generously referred to them as a “great influence” on him. Said Young, in his remarks at New York’s Waldorf Astoria: “I’m very honored to talk a little bit about the Pretenders, who had a great influence on myself and my band, Crazy Horse. When we couldn’t figure out what to do we used to put on those records and listen to them. This is one of the greatest rock ‘n’ roll bands that ever lived. They went through all of the heartache that rock ‘n’ roll is built on.  They lost two members and they never gave up.  They kept going. Chrissie is a rock ‘n’ roll woman; she’s got it in her heart. She’s gonna be rockin’ ’til she drops. I love her.”

At their induction ceremony, Pretenders performed “Message of Love” from their 1981 follow-up album.

Hynde was born September 7, 1951. When Pretenders tour, tickets are available at Ticketmaster and here.

Best Classic Bands Staff
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9 Comments so far

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  1. Mac Timred
    #1 Mac Timred 18 March, 2022, 22:10

    Thanks so much for sharing this. The next vid is their acceptance speech, which is also perfect. I bought the first album the month it was released, and saw them live in NYC in 1980.

    Reply this comment
  2. JOAN
    #2 JOAN 18 March, 2023, 06:25

    I have played The Pretenders music over and over. Always loved them. Chrissie Hynde has written the truth. Not just Chrissie but many other well known musicians have written how “THE ROCK’N ROLL HALL OF FAME” has nothing to do with Rock. Who needed this? They will never get all the Artists that create, and especially the Bands that have been in the trenches, for many years. Alot longer than flash in the pan bands. Fine wine and water are two different things. I grew up in music of the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s onward. And there is a difference in music fans. I have history. I know who is who. I don’t need Anyone to tell me this. Just as the Rock Hall will never capture the real Rock And Roll, Nor these artists that don’t like the corporate structure of it. Induction sounds weird. Who gave them authority to say such and such an Artist deserves to be in it when others are left out?

    Reply this comment
  3. JCB
    #3 JCB 18 March, 2023, 08:27

    Chrissie quote ” Linda Ronstadt released her debut in 1969 and became the first woman to headline stadiums, yet she was inducted alongside Nirvana in 2014.” That says it all. Paul Rodgers, considered one of top 3 front men of all-time, has never even been nominated after he and his various bands have sold 125 million albums. Free’s first album came out in 1968. That is beyond shameful that Eminem got in his first year of eligibility, Paul’s been waiting 25 years for even a nomination. Disgusting and sad.

    Reply this comment
  4. Da Mick
    #4 Da Mick 18 March, 2023, 11:20

    No surprises here in any respect. Chrissie just calling it out for what it…..isn’t. And while I can relate to and agree with what Courtney is saying. her distain sounds more like sour grapes because she WANTS for herself and other actually deserving women rockers to be in. That doesn’t really jibe with what Chrissie is saying. Sorry, but just because they’re both women and both complaining about the Hall doesn’t make them good companions for the same piece, as they’re essentially complaining about it for opposite reasons.

    Reply this comment
  5. Carter Burger
    #5 Carter Burger 18 March, 2023, 11:44

    Chrissie ain’t lying. Which is why we love her.

    Reply this comment
  6. Ace
    #6 Ace 18 March, 2023, 12:43

    I saw the Pretenders open for the Who in April 1980. Hell of a great concert!

    Reply this comment
  7. Chuck the Duck
    #7 Chuck the Duck 18 March, 2023, 13:03

    Right on Chrissie Hynde, many deserving women of “Rock and Roll” have been ignored by what has become the Rock and Roll Hall of Shame. Same goes with many other Rock bands, the Guess Who is one that comes to mind, come on man, if anyone says the Guess Who wasn’t an influential rock bad doesn’t even know what rock music is about and unfortunately there are many, many more. The Induction of rap, hip hop and even old school country artists prove the powers that be are out of touch with the artists, fans and Spirit of Rock music. Sadly this institution has turned into something that is unrecognizable to any Rock music purist. All the great, shunned, Rock music artists, women and men, should band together, many have, and call out this sham of an organization. The ” Real Rock and Roll” Hall of Fame, sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?

    Reply this comment
  8. Sheldon Harvey
    #8 Sheldon Harvey 19 March, 2023, 09:16

    Two words for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame…JETHRO TULL

    Reply this comment
    • James mack
      James mack 20 March, 2023, 08:33

      Tull for sure! And what about ELP or Blue oyster cult…too many have been ignored that deserve to be in as opposed to some lame ass rap group or country singer…pathetic

      Reply this comment

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