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Five Female Rockers Snubbed By Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

The six inductees to the 2020 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame were announced last week. Of the six, Whitney Houston is the only woman inductee.

According to music writer Evelyn McDonnell, less than 8% of the members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame are women. The lack of women is so severe that Janet Jackson, upon her induction in 2019, charged the institution to “induct more women.” 

Clearly, the Rock Hall failed to listen to Jackson.

 So, here’s five female rockers with an excess of creative contributions to the Rock and Roll genre who have gone consistently unrecognized for this huge honor.

Pat Benatar

Though one of the 16 nominees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year, rock and roll icon Pat Benatar was not selected to be inducted into the 2020 class, despite six platinum records and groundbreaking hits like “Love is a Battlefield”. Beyond her hits, she’s a nine-time Grammy nominee for best female rock vocal performance with four consecutive wins in the category.

In the age of MTV, Benatar’s music video for “You Better Run” premiered during the network’s infancy and her powerful voice and style would go on to become a staple of the network. Though her career in the 1970s and 1980s cemented her as a rock icon, she continues to tour today and has just finished a 40th-anniversary tour.

Dolly Parton

Since the start of her career in the 1970s, Dolly Parton has revolutionized the way the world saw the women of country music and the music industry at large. An eight-time Grammy winner, Parton has boasted hits like “Jolene,” “Coat of Many Colors,” and “9 to 5,” all of which she wrote herself. In fact, 2020 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Whitney Houston’s smash hit “I Will Always Love You” was originally written and performed by Parton and was covered by Houston for the film The Bodyguard.

With 44 Top 10 Hit albums and 54 Top 10 Hit singles on the Billboard Country Charts throughout the duration of her career, Dolly Parton’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is long overdue.

Mary J. Blige

With this year’s induction of rapper The Notorious B.I.G. and powerhouse vocalist Whitney Houston, there’s no real argument against the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul’s inclusion in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Rising to prominence throughout the 1990s, Mary J. Blige has maintained an impressive R&B career to the modern day and is just coming off the wildly successful Royalty Tour alongside rapper Nas.   

With 31 nominations and nine Grammy wins, Blige is a proven, decorated musician with a long history of success and 41 Billboard Top 100 hits, including 2001’s “Family Affair,” which peaked at number one. She has been eligible for nomination to the Rock Hall since 2017, but has yet to be considered, despite her prestigious career.


Though she began as half of the duo Sonny & Cher, Cher has made a name for herself as a solo artist. Active since the 1960s, Cher has continually topped charts at least once every decade with most of these number-one hits coming from her solo career. Her most recent hit is “You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me” from 2010’s Burlesque.

Having already won an Emmy, an Oscar, and a Grammy, Cher has certainly proven to be an artistic force of nature. With a long history of chart-topping, number one singles since the 1960s, it’s only fitting that Cher adds an induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to her many accolades.

Courtney Love/Hole

Though many have tried, no one comes close to demonstrating the ups and downs of rock and roll better than Hole frontwoman Courtney Love. Of course, for Love, the ups are wildly successful albums with one meriting a perfect 10 rating on Pitchfork, and while the downs are accusations of using heroin while pregnant and being considered one of the most hated figures in rock and roll.

In the 1990s, Hole was one of the leading bands to bring grunge to the mainstream, and the most successful with a female lead singer. Though some believe Hole’s success was solely due to the influence of Love’s late husband, Kurt Cobain of Nirvana, many credit the band’s success to Love’s powerful lyrics, larger than life personality, and musical ingenuity, featured prominently in songs like “Doll Parts” and “Celebrity Skin”. If bands like Soundgarden have been considered for the Rock Hall, then Courtney Love’s Hole definitely deserves a nod as well.  

Featured Image by musicisentropy on Flickr

Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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