Rush and the Runaways set aside their differences and meet at the bar to discuss their respective chances for induction...
In January, 2010, I started a website at blogspot.com called "The People's Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame". Soon after, I set up a page on Facebook, which I linked to the blog so that people could have easier access to what I was doing there. I even wrote about it here at Pop Krazy. The idea was to create a fan-based alternative to the perennially controversial Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, OH.
I came up with a list of nominees and asked people out there on the web to pick up to ten and who ever got named on more than half the ballots would become the first members of the People's Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame. For that first election, I used a cut-off date for eligibility of 1960, just as the Cleveland hall of fame had done in their first election back in 1986, setting the mark for eligibility at 25 years following an artist or group's first release. After that January election, in which we placed seven immortals as the inaugural class, we had our second election in February, moving the eligibility year up to 1961. The plan was to go month to month as the Cleveland hall did from year to year, and after about two years worth of hardcore grass-roots fan voting, we could be "caught up" to the other hall of fame and have a nice alternative canon to the one selected by industry insiders.
At that point, the fans could have their say annually, side by side with the big museum in Cleveland. We wouldn't have the fancy sponsorships or endowments that the "rockhall" had, but we'd have the sanctity of open, public, democratic elections - any inductions or snubs that were controversial would have at least been as a result of the will of the people.
Well, the idea was going along pretty well eight and a half months in. Our elections were netting between 150 and 250 ballots a month, and had over 3,000 followers on Facebook, rapidly approaching 4,000. Voters from across the globe had voiced their choice, and we were well on our way to establishing that People's canon that I had originally envisioned. Until one day when I logged into my Facebook account and found that our page had been removed for alleged violation of someone else's intellectual property.
After the September Facebook Massacre... a new beginning...
Facebook didn't tell me who claimed intellectual property rights over The People's Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame. I can't say with certainty who it was, but with the Cleveland hall's big publicity push surrounding their new crop of nominees on the horizon, I had my suspicions. The main website over at blogspot was still up and running, we were in the process of our September election at the time, and we finished it by inducting seven more legends. But the loss of our Facebook page proved devastating. It was a direct line to nearly 4,000 rock 'n' roll fans around the world, and the principal point of contact between the People's Hall and most of our past voters.
I vowed to carry on, tweaked the name of the hall in hopes of avoiding any potential conflict with similarly named institutions, set up a new page on FB, and set forth to run our next scheduled election for the month of October. With the original page, I would post a list of new nominees on the blog, link to it on FB, and within hours we would usually have around two dozen early ballots already posted on our wall. By the end of the polling, hundreds of fans had voted. But in the October election, we got about two and half weeks in, and I had still received less than 20 ballots. It was then that I decided to pull the plug on the People's Hall. But I'm not pulling the plug to walk away. No way.
Cleveland's newly released 2011 nominee list is a fresh reminder of why the People need a pantheon that they, themselves have selected. No, I'm not walking away, I'm re-booting. We're going to create a people's hall that provides a democratic, populist contrast to the establishment hall. But instead of the month by month/year by year method that we originally used, we're going to take a different approach, one that will allow fans the opportunity to select from across all eras of rock 'n' roll history. We're still recognizing the 25 year rule, setting it currently at 1985, and throughout the rest of 2010 and over the course of 2011, we will build a hall of fame selected BY the people, and FOR the people.
How it's going to work: Three lists of nominees for our initial election have been posted on the People's Hall blog. Each 100-name list represents a different era. I'm calling them the "Oldies Era" (up to about 1964), the "Classic Rock and Soul Era" (mid 60s through early 70s), and the "Modern Era" (mid 70s through mid 80s). Fans can pick up to 50 names from each list. The top 20 vote getters from each list, as well as anyone else named on more than 50% of the ballots counted, will join our initial crop of People's hall of famers.
This is a bigger undertaking than any of our previous elections, both for the fans, who can select up to 150 different names, and for me, the guy counting them all. We also will need to make a bigger push to get the word out since we don't have those 3,000+ people out there on Facebook getting every post delivered to their personal news feed anymore. That's why this first election will be scheduled to be open for two full months after I post the nominees.
After that first group of inductees, which will be at least 60 different artists/groups, we will have five more follow-up elections over the course of the coming year. These will be a bit simpler. Instead of breaking up the ballot three ways, there will simply be one single 100-name ballot posted each time, combining artists from all eras. We'll schedule two months of polling for these as well, and by the end of the year, we will have selected at least 160 hall of famers. The Cleveland hall, heading into their 2011 announcement, currently have 169 inductees in the performer category, so we will have pretty much "caught up" to them in time to switch to annual elections beginning in 2012.
Oh,... and we're back on Facebook, look us up!