Popular music halls of fame as institutions of cultural heritage

Authored by: Raphaël Nowak , Sarah Baker

The Routledge Companion to Popular Music History and Heritage

Print publication date:  May  2018
Online publication date:  May  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138237636
eBook ISBN: 9781315299310
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter discusses popular music halls of fame as institutional sites of cultural heritage. Halls of fame differ from other cultural heritage institutions (such as popular music museums) in that their mission statement not only includes the preservation of cultural heritage, but also gives a significant role to the consecration and celebration of certain artists. Halls of fame engage in the process of selecting what is considered ‘best’, and to do so draw on the process of induction. Halls of fame inductees are therefore celebrated for playing a particularly significant role in the history and development of a certain type of popular music. However, the process of induction is very controversial, and the critics highlight how this practice betrays the meaning of popular culture and even sanitises it. We note in the chapter that hall of fame institutions actually vary in terms of profile, and that therefore the criteria upon which the process of induction is based are also quite different from one site to another. We argue that popular music halls of fame preserve and celebrate popular music that is rooted within a particular cultural time, and which largely corresponds to the post-Second World War era and the Baby Boomer generation.

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