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Axl Rose Joins Sex Pistols, Ozzy Osbourne in ‘Hall of Fame Open Letter’ Club

John Lydon
Evan Agostini, Getty Images

You don’t often hear of artists refusing to be inducted into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame, but Axl Rose, who did just that with a much-publicized open letter yesterday, is not the first to turn up his nose at this exclusive offer.

Up until now, the most famous, public and scathing rejection came in 2006, as the Sex Pistols were being inducted into the hall. The group did not attend, and Pistols frontman Johnny Rotten posted a note on the group’s website staying “Next to the Sex Pistols, rock and roll and that hall of fame is a piss stain,” going on to say, “We’re not your monkeys, we’re not coming. You’re not paying attention.”

Rotten’s note was very critical of the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame’s financial motives as well, suggesting the band could have “fame at $25,000 if we paid for a table or $15,000 to squeak up in the gallery,” in an apparent reference to the fee requested from the hall for attending the ceremony.

2006 just might have been the biggest year to date in terms of trouble-makers being inducted. Black Sabbath were also on the honor roll that year, despite the fact that front man Ozzy Osbourne had written an open letter of his own to the organization approximately seven years prior, telling them:

“Just take our name off the list. Save the ink. Forget about us. The nomination is meaningless, because it’s not voted on by the fans. It’s voted on by the supposed elite for the industry and the media, who’ve never bought an album or concert ticket in their lives, so their vote is irrelevant to me. Let’s face it, Black Sabbath has never been media darlings. We’re a people’s band and that suits us just fine.”

Ozzy obviously ended up having a change of heart with respect to Sabbath joining the hall of fame, appearing at the 2006 ceremony with his Black Sabbath band mates Tony Iommi, Bill Ward and Geezer Butler.

Much like the Sex Pistols, Axl and the rest of his former Guns N’ Roses bandmates are going to be honored at this weekend’s big ceremony whether they like it or not.  The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame issued a statement today stating that the singer was being inducted come hell or high water.

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