Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Rock Hall Empty without Skynyrd Bid

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Rock Hall Empty without Skynyrd Bid

Article excerpt

Byline: Charlie Patton, Times-Union columnist

Ozzie Smith, who will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame this afternoon, is the latest winner in what author Bill James has called the "politics of glory."

Smith was a great baseball player. But, as Jacksonville rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd has demonstrated, being great isn't always enough.

Skynyrd, a band that created two of rock's enduring anthems, has been eligible for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame since 1999. That it hasn't made it yet almost certainly is a result of politics, or at least cultural bias.

"They are too regional," said Marley Brant, author of the recently published Freebirds: The Lynyrd Skynyrd Story. "People view them as a regional band made good. They haven't made rock 'n' roll aristocracy."

But for those who do recognize Skynyrd's significance, there is another problem. The band is too defiantly Southern to appeal to the taste-makers who guard the gates to the cultural pantheon.

It's difficult to get information about the Hall of Fame induction process. Officials at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland refer all questions to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation in New York, which has no e-mail address or listed phone number. The Hall of Fame Web site does describe the process: A committee of rock 'n' roll historians choose nominees and ballots then are sent to about 1,000 rock experts. Inductees must receive at least 50 percent of the vote.

The choices always are controversial. In December 2000, The New York Times reported that Courtney Love was so incensed by the list of 2001 inductees that she demanded the hall return all memorabilia associated with her late husband, Kurt Cobain, and his band, Nirvana.

"How dare you fools not put Lynyrd Skynyrd, Patti Smith or AC/DC in your Hall of Fame," she wrote in a telegram. …

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