Cleveland’s iconic Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is home to so much more than just rock and roll.
Rock Hall inductees span genres from blues, gospel, hip-hop and R&B, to the true rockers.
You have N.W.A, Aretha Franklin, Elvis Presley, Marvin Gaye, Led Zeppelin, U2 and so many more inside those hallowed halls.
But one genre that some say has been overlooked the most is country music.
“It’s interesting because country music and rock and roll have always existed sort of side by side,” said Jason Hanley, vice president of education and visitor engagement at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. “Country is one of those important roots to the beginning of rock and roll.”
You’ll find hints of country inside the Rock Hall; Johnny Cash being the most famous inductee. There are also artifacts in the roots of rock areas.
But big names you may think would already have a home as inductees are missing: country superstars like Willie Nelson, Patsy Cline, Dolly Parton and Garth Brooks.
“Will somebody like a Willie Nelson or a Garth Brooks every get inducted? I don’t know, we’ll have to wait and see. but I will say this: it’s possible,” Hanley said. “Anything could happen.”
Case Western Reserve University professor of music Daniel Goldmark said he gives his students an assignment each semester to defend someone who’s inducted into the Rock Hall — or make a case for someone who isn’t inducted.
Goldmark said oftentimes, the debate over who should be in and who shouldn’t isn’t about the musician’s talent as much as it is about the style of music.
“What I feel they’re arguing about is not that is or isn’t rock and roll, it’s that it’s a certain kind of popular music,” Goldmark said. “But ‘Popular Music Hall of Fame’ doesn’t have the same ring, right?”
The Caliber Band is one of Cleveland’s most popular country music acts, playing around town for the last two decades. Lead singer Bobby Lee said he doesn’t mind country musicians not being in the Rock Hall because they have their own Country Music Hall of Fame down in Nashville.
“I think it should be more rock-oriented myself, but that’s just my opinion,” Bobby Lee said.
Hanley said it seems the younger generation of country musicians may have a better chance of getting inducted into the Rock Hall of Fame because of their crossover appeal — think Taylor Swift or Brad Paisley.
“I think you could see them one day, maybe, potentially getting inducted in the Rock Hall,” Hanley said.
There are 11 musicians who have been inducted into both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Country Music Hall of Fame.
They are: Jimmie Rodgers, Hank Williams, Chet Atkins, Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, The Everly Brothers, Bill Monroe, Bob Wills, Brenda Lee, Floyd Cramer, and Sam Phillips.
Below is a list of all Rock Hall Inductees who have roots in country music:
• Bill Black
• Bill Haley
• Bill Monroe
• The Blue Caps
• Bob Wills
• Brenda Lee
• Buddy Holly
• Carl Perkins
• Chet Atkins
• The Crickets
• The Comets
• D.J. Fontana
• Duane Eddy
• Eddie Cochran
• Elvis Presley
• The Everly Brothers
• Floyd Cramer
• Gene Pitney
• Gene Vincent
• Hank Williams
• Jerry Lee Lewis
• Jim Stewart (non-performer)
• Jimmie Rodgers
• Johnny Cash
• Les Paul
• Ray Charles
• Rick Nelson
• Sam Phillips (non-performer)
• Scotty Moore
• Spooner Oldham
• Wanda Jackson
• Woody Guthrie