The news that Cleveland's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will induct the Swedish pop group, Abba into its annals in 2010 has been greeted with both kudos and dismay. Though the band has enjoyed a recent revival thanks to the popular Broadway (and Hollywood) musical "Mamma Mia!" based on its greatest hits, does the band which defined Europop belong in the same echelon as AC/DC or The Clash? (Watch a report about ABBA's success)
It's a defensible choice: We can all agree that "of course ABBA isn't rock and roll," but "what does 'rock and roll' really mean?" asks Linda Holmes on NPR's Monkey See blog. Contrary to what some might believe, the Hall of Fame is not exclusively reserved for hard rockers; rather "it is a pop hall" representing artists of all genres, even those who have "nothing to do with rock and roll." So, "an institution that has already thrown open its doors to Ricky Nelson has nothing to fear from ABBA" finding its spot.
"Yes, ABBA belongs in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame"
ABBA? Seriously? Admittedly, "the Hall has already perverted its own premise" with earlier picks, says David Hansen at City Pages. While the Scandinavian foursome is "not a bad band," responsible for "competent and influential and catchy" tunes, if "it ain't rock and roll" it should be left out.
"Stooges, ABBA to rock Hall of Fame"
Consider the bigger picture here: "The old boundaries around rock" are being broken down not by the ABBA selection alone, but by the entire 2010 inductee class, says Ann Powers in the Los Angeles Times. With the exception of the Hollies, the rest of the picks — The Stooges, Genesis, and Jimmy Cliff — are "unlikely third parties" that nevertheless merit recognition. Instead of wallowing over how rock is gone, consider how this "all bodes well" for an institution "that grows more interesting with every violation of its own rules."
"Now I wanna be your dancing queen: Is the Rock Hall embarking on a new era?"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Diagnosing the Home Alone burglars' injuries: A professional weighs in
- How academia's liberal bias is killing social science
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- How to make the ultimate grilled cheese
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- Why Pakistan won't hunt down the terrorists within its borders
- George W. Bush 'ran the country like a cable network,' and other political insights from Chris Rock
- How I lost all my money
- 10 things you need to know today: December 21, 2014
- How Wall Street is chipping away at reform
Subscribe to the Week