Why Aren’t They In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame: Lenny Kravitz

If you grew up as a fan of rock & roll in the nineties and oughts, there are likely a lot of Lenny Kravitz songs you know.  Perhaps you know his work with other labelmates like Sheryl Crow or Mick Jagger in songs like “You’re An Original” and “God Gave Me Everything I Want.”  Perhaps you know his pop hits, or his alternative or mainstream rock hits, or even his dance hits, not all of which are equal.  Although Lenny Kravitz is not one of the more obvious snubs for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, he does represent someone who continues to make notable and worthwhile music and whose career as an album musician for the period of nearly two decades was greatly successful and deserves to be recognized.  When one thinks of songs that combine a sense of brash confidence along with a great deal of sultriness and sexiness, Lenny Kravitz’s songs do the trick. And although this is not recognized, his music has long had a decidedly political edge.  That is not something that I have always agreed with (since our political views are quite different), but it is something that is notable and something that the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame has tended to honor in the past.

The Influence Of Lenny Kravitz

The influence of Lenny Kravitz can be figured from a variety of sources.  For one, Kravitz has long been respected by other artists, including those he has collaborated with (like the aforementioned Sheryl Crow and Mick Jagger).  For another, Kravitz’s influence extends beyond music and moves at least into film and fashion, where one can appreciate his fondness for scarves and his blending of fashion and acting interests in the Hunger Games series and also starred in movies like The Butler.  It is hard to find lists of younger musicians inspired by Lenny Kravitz, but for those with African-American background who wanted to grow up to be guitar heroes, Kravitz is an obvious inspiration given the rather limited success of blacks within Rock & Roll compared with their success in rap and R&B.  An artist like Kinna, who obviously aims at rock, would appear to be inspired at least in part by Kravitz’s approach.  Half-Jewish and Half-black, Kravitz has long straddled interesting borders through his passionate playing, his devotion to progressive politics, and his devotion to abstinence, all of which makes him a distinctive figure within the rock & roll scene.

Why Lenny Kravitz Belongs In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame

When looking at why Kravitz belongs in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, the most obvious thing to look at is the quality of his musicianship as well as the sustained popularity of his albums.  On the album side, he has sold about 40 million copies of albums, and his first seven studio albums and his only compilation album so far have been certified at least gold (Let Love Rule, Mama Said, Are You Gonna Go My Way?, Circus, 5, Lenny, and Baptism, along with his 2000 album Greatest Hits, respectively), and of those albums three have been certified multi-platinum.  Although he has not had a huge amount of hit singles on the popular chart, he still has managed to have multiple top 5 hits on the pop, alternative, mainstream rock, and even dance charts with songs ranging including 2018’s “Low,” to earlier songs like “Let Love Rule,” “Are You Gonna Go My Way?”, “Rock And Roll Is Dead,” “Fly Away,” and “American Woman” alongside other successful hit songs like “Again,” “Stillness of Heart, and “Dig In.”  He even won four straight Grammy awards from 1999 to 2002 for best male rock performance [1].

Why Lenny Kravitz Isn’t In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame

It’s hard to say why Lenny Kravitz isn’t in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.  To be sure, a lot of his music and approach have a certain throwback appeal to them, and at the beginning of his career he was a bit of a Prince wannabe, but he has long managed to combine a diverse set of musical influences and approaches and some undeniable guitar chops to make him worthy of induction.  Whenever the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame gets around to inducting the best rock acts of the late 1990’s to early 2000’s, Kravitz will be among the most deserving of the mall, if he is not already.

Verdict:  Put him in while he’s still able to perform at a high level for it, as he’s got plenty of songs that would sound great in Cleveland.

[1] See, for example:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lenny_Kravitz_discography

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lenny_Kravitz

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in History, Music History, Musings and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Why Aren’t They In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame: Lenny Kravitz

  1. Catharine E. Martin says:

    He has a sound uniquely his own. That should be a prerequisite. I believe, as you do, that he influenced more than just music. He has a mellow groove about him that makes any song his own. His take on “American Woman” was singular. It’s an almost metallic Caribbean style that wends its way into the rock and rhythm–a blues-like sound that one has to sit up and take notice of.

    • Yes, that’s right. I happen to love his cover of “American Woman,” and he’s still making great music. If you haven’t heard “Low” from 2018, it’s well worth checking out.

  2. Linda Mersch says:

    Lenny is most deserving of being inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

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