Heart Struts Rock New and Vintage in Bethlehem, Pa.
Heart Struts Rock New and Vintage in Bethlehem, Pa.

Two former members of Heart are suing the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for using their likenesses in promoting the 2013 induction ceremony even though they were not inducted. 

Bassist Mark Andes and drummer Dennis Carmassi and were members of Heart from 1982-1993, during which the band staged a comeback with all four of its Grammy nominations and ten of its 20 Top 40 hits including “These Dreams”, “Alone”, “All I Wanna Do is Make Love to You” and many several others. But when Heart was inducted into the Hall of Fame, it included only the bands’ original lineup from the 1960s and ‘70s and Andes and Carmassi were not included. 

Heart's Ann and Nancy Wilson Reflect on Rock Hall Induction

Now Andes and Carmassi are suing the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame because their likenesses and the songs they performed were used to promote Heart’s induction. The duo’s complaint states that when fans and fellow musicians offered them congratulations for their success, they were “humiliated” to explain “that they were inexplicably not chosen for induction.”

The complaint states: “Plaintiffs are not asking that defendant Rock Hall induct them into the Hall of Fame. Instead, this is an action to protect the rights, reputations, and likenesses of Mark Andes and Dennis Carmassi through the causes of actions false light invasion of privacy, misappropriation of name and likeness invasion of privacy, injurious falsehood, libel, slander, and right of attribution falsification of rock and roll history for Defendants’ wilful and unauthorized use of Plaintiffs’ images and likenesses."

According to the complaint, following the Dec. 11, 2012, announcement Heart would be inducted into the Hall of Fame but that Andes and Carmassi were not, they wrote a letter to the institution asking for an explanation and defending their role in the band’s success. It states Hall of Fame CEO Joel Peresman responded the next day stating, “We have a group of people who are very focused on these things and collaborate on the various areas of their expertise. As we do every year we went very carefully over all of the history and the members of Heart that were are [sic] being inducted besides Ann and Nancy [Wilson] were the ones everyone felt should be inducted. I am sorry if these others feel this isn’t right but this is the final decision of our committee.”

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From there, images including Andes and Carmassi’s were used on the Rock Hall’s biography page for the band including the band’s 1985 self-titled album's cover art. Founders and main members Ann and Nancy Wilson asked the Hall to reconsider its decision to exclude Andes and Carmassi given that they “were in the band when it garnered several Grammy nominations and their biggest commercial success”. But the Hall refused to change its decision. The complaint sites a Billboard article and video in its exhibits, as proof of Ann and Nancy Wilson’s desire that Andes and Carmassi should have been admitted. 

Speaking at the 2013 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Red Carpet, Ann Wilson said of Andes and Carmassi, “They should be here. They really should be here.”

Andes and Carmassi are seeking compensatory damages for all losses, treble damages on all trademark claims, punitive damages and exemplary damages.

The complaint states: “Although induction to the Rock Hall is normally a positive thing, to be knowingly and/or recklessly placed in such a position by Defendants is highly offensive to a reasonable person when being placed in that position requires having to continually correct the record on an issue of such personal importance.”

The Rock Hall has not yet responded publicly to the lawsuit’s charges. 

The matter of which band members are inducted into the Hall of Fame has been a continues source of controversy for the organization. Recently, Kiss refused to perform at its award ceremony because only its original members were being honored.