Here we go again…
Today, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced artists who will be eligible for induction in 2012. These nominees will be presented to voting members, and typically 5 acts are chosen for installation.
Recent years offered up some pretty schmaltzy inductee choices that allowed Madonna and Abba, hard rock and roll, to sneak into the Cleveland-based hall’s doors.
Let’s look at the list while providing some very high-level comments. For a complete description of the nominee’s “accomplishment,” look at the official press release.
- Beastie Boys
- The Cure
- Eric B. & Rakim
- Guns ‘N Roses
- Joan Jett and the Blackhearts
- Freddie King
- Laura Nyro
- Red Hot Chili Peppers
- Rufus and Chaka Khan
- The Small Faces/The Faces
- The Spinners
- Donna Summer
Overall this is a terrific list of some genuinely worthy nominees. Not only are many natural rock and roll, but several were also hugely influential, which is generally the primary yardstick the RRHOF applies to induction.
Four shoe-ins here.
Guns ‘N Roses. I don’t know what to say if you need an explanation here. “Appetite for Destruction” is one of the finest debut albums in Rock and Roll history containing several songs that will be in eternal rotation wherever rock music is played – I am thinking Hell. I think all these guys were on heroin at some point – not a requirement for induction, but it helps…
Beastie Boys. “License to Ill” was a watershed for rap and marked the crossover from rock to rap and arguably helped further bring hip-hop to the mainstream. The Rock and Roll Hall already acknowledged the migration of R&B and Soul to rap with Run-D.M.C and Grandmaster Flash. These guys were trendsetters, and “you gotta fight for your party, right” is hip-hop that rocks!
Heart. OK, they may have damaged their reputation with their ’80s output of future karaoke hits. Please don’t hold that against them. No one can argue that these two Seattle-based chicks rocked better and harder than any other female-led band… except The Pretenders. Put on “Magic Man” or “Barracuda” – with that tremendous original band, speak for themselves.
Freddie King. Clapton, Beck, Stevie Ray Vaughn, and hundreds of other blues-based players were influenced by this wonderfully fluid and soulful player. The RRHOF write-up says King is part of the “DNA of the blues,” and they are spot on. Listen to “Hideaway” or the “The Stumble” – despite sounding incredibly similar – the authentic blues riff is all there. Such a shame he died so young.
After those acts, I am not sure who gets in—going down the list.
The Cure. Dudes who wore makeup were not so great. But they are one of the few new wave bands whose songs still sound great today. Too lightweight for the hall. This nomination makes some hall haters put on their mascara.
Donovan. Those 60’s hits were groovy beyond belief. Always sound great wherever they pop up today. He was never in the league of Dylan or other singer-songwriters of that era in terms of influence, but he sold many records and was at the center of all the action hanging with the Beatles and Stones. Plus, he is such a nice guy no one will want to deny his entry and hurt his feelings. It may be the best chance for the fifth nominee.
Eric B. & Rakim. Ask any hip-hop aficionado; these guys are dope. If the Hall wants to one day let in Jay-Z, these guys have to get it. Long shot for 2012.
Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. Because the voters fear Joan will kick all their asses if she doesn’t get in, she stands a chance. The music, though – “Bad Reputation!”
Laura Nyro. Hitmaker for Three Dog Night and The 5th Dimension? Are that Rock and Roll? Alert – David Geffen “discovered” her. That may get her in.
Red Hot Chili Peppers. These guys rock, but not enough, as they have been passed over.
Rufus with Chaka Kahn. Chaka Kahn may be the most important name in the history of female singers. Not sure that the Stevie Wonder penned “Tell Me Something Good” is enough to qualify. Rufus was the launching pad for “the world’s most recorded drummer,” JR Robinson however…
The Small Faces/The Faces. If one song qualifies as an act for the hall, not sure “Stay with Me” is good enough. It’s a good song, but I prefer “I Love Rock and Roll.”
The Spinners. These guys might have a better chance at being number 5 than Donovan. More hits and maybe even better songs. Plus, the O’Jays induction might have cleared the way.
Donna Summer. I have gone on and on about why she should be in. She passed over several years now; maybe this will be her year. Perhaps the disco affiliation is too much. Opening the door for KC and the Sunshine Band getting in and the massive global vomiting that would ensue might hurt her chances.
War. The variety and range of their tunes are incredible. Influential for sure. Maybe next year.
So there you go.
And, of course, the snubs remain that piss all the RRHOF haters off. KISS, Chicago, Moody Blues, Rush, Frampton, Journey, Boston, Jethro Tull, and on and on… You’re never going to please everyone.
All in all, a pretty excellent and deserving list.