Why Aren’t They In The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame: Rage Against The Machine

There are few groups for whom the biblical adage that if one lives by the sword one dies by the sword applies more than is the case for Rage Against Machine. Widely praised for their fiery political rhetoric, the chief knock against Rage Against The Machine as an act is that they stopped making music just at a time when their brand of leftist political activism would have been most appreciated. Having released four popularly successful albums between 1992 and 2000, they have released no studio albums, missing the entire period of George W Bush’s presidency, to say nothing of Obama and Trump after that. While their music has been an inspiration to later acts and the various members of the band have remained active, the band did not have enough rage against the machine to record albums in a time period where political trends would have made for a great deal of credibility with others of their ilk. So it is that instead of hearing new songs from the bands, young people who wanted to vent their hostility against the politics of the time were left playing their old songs on Guitar Hero and similar games. Rarely has a band been more widely derided for the music they did not make rather than the music that they did make, and rarely has the irony been as humorous as is the case here.

The Influence Of Rage Against The Machine

With their brand of fierce musicianship and political edge, Rage Against the Machine is considered to be a precursor to the Nu Metal sound of the early 2000’s that picked up just after the band broke up. Considering the importance of Nu Metal, and the continuing fondness of people for the songs that Rage Against The Machine made, their continuing relevance on music is solid. Besides their serving as a vital link between 1990’s alternative rock and the dominance of Nu Metal in the early 2000’s, the influence of Rage Against The Machine has survived through the musical projects of the band’s members, including most notably Audioslave, where most of the band, except for the lead singer, made more successful albums with Chris Cornell as the lead. It seems striking that Rage Against The Machine was able to work together with other groups for quite a bit of time though the lead singer himself seems to have had a lot of fights with others. And while the internal drama of the band prevented them from making more music together and recording any music during their periodic reunions, clearly a lot of others have been inspired by their music.

Why Rage Against The Machine Belongs In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame

One of the aspects of rock and roll music that is very important to critics is the question of politics. Rage Against Machine clearly had the leftist politics that many would-be cultural gatekeepers appreciate. The issue is that the band broke up, largely due to internal drama, before a particularly rich period where lower taxes and American involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq would seem to be tailor-made for the band’s eviscerating approach that was ultimately not to happen. The band’s record, though, is pretty clear. Only one song from the group even managed to hit the Hot #100, a late single in “Guerrilla Radio,” but every album the band released, including their covers album, went at least platinum, and two of their albums went triple platinum (the fourth went double platinum). That is itself enough of a body of work to demonstrate their success, especially when combined with their influence. What has held them up so far is that so many people wanted much more from them than they ended up giving.

Why Rage Against The Machine Aren’t In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame

Interestingly enough, Rage Against Machine has failed to enter the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame mainly because the band did not release any leftist activist musing during the presidency of George W Bush. Over and over again, that is what I have heard held against this band, demonstrating that when a band has made its reputation on ferocious politically charged works, that not delivering the goods in an obvious time is viewed as a serious weakness for a band’s credibility.

Verdict: Put them in, and make them perform together when they get inducted. That is torture enough, apparently.

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 American History, History, Music History and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s