With so many radio & television personalities in the music industry tossing out their public discontent about the shenanigans that the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame gives us each and every year; I felt that it was high time for the PiercingMetal Blog to offer a take on this as well.
To start I would like to thank the committee that sits on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame judging panel for once again providing amusement and numerous levels of argument from the fans of Hard Rock, Classic Rock and Heavy Metal music by offering up a list of nominees that are bound to set people on their ear. I will admit this to you readers very early on because one of my main points of disdain with the Rock Hall comes from their continual oversight of the band KISS who are not only my favorite group of them all, but are also a band that has been eligible for inclusion for about thirteen years. If you don’t know the skinny on how groups become eligible, here is a brief on the process:
The Criteria: Currently, groups or individuals are qualified for induction 25 years after the release of their first record. Nominees should have demonstrable influence and significance within the history of rock and roll. Four categories are recognized: Performers, Non-Performers, Early Influences, and Sidemen (as of 2000). However, fans have no input concerning who is nominated or elected to the hall.
There you have it. It’s kind of simple to see isn’t it and maybe this is why KISS as a band is not in the Hall. Have they influenced anyone or offered any significance up for Rock and Roll music as a medium? Of course they have and while originally influenced by the likes of Alice Cooper and the New York Dolls, the guys in KISS showed you just what you could do with a Heavy Rock show and how successful an identity can become. To my knowledge KISS has never even been nominated once. It’s almost as if someone who sits on the controlling board of the committee has a personal vendetta against the band. Alright, I can keep going on this for awhile, but shall stop so I can examine a little bit more of the the current list of nominees.
The rundown of the 2012 Nominees for the “Esteemed Hall” include: The Beastie Boys, The Cure, Donovan, Erik B. and Rakim, Guns ‘n Roses, Heart, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Freddie King, Laura Nyro, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Rufus wth Chaka Khan, The Small Faces/The Faces, The Spinners, Donna Summer, War.
Once you have shook your head and composed yourself we can continue as I go over which ones I think are okay in my book and why some of the other choices are a little less than worthy of induction at this particular time. I know that this will very likely piss some people off but let’s face it, every music fan has their own personal list of who is better than the next and if this happens to spark some debate or raises questions about the overall process then so be it. At the end of the list I will tally up the “Yays” against the “Nays”. Let’s get down to business.
The Beastie Boys: Even though I realize and remember the popularity that The Beastie Boys had with their “License To Ill” album and recognize the fact that they were once a kind of Hardcore Punk band, but in the end they were largely known as a Hip Hop group and I don’t consider Hip Hop something that should be in the “Rock and Roll” Hall of Fame. It’s as simple as that and I am not being closed minded here.
The Cure: The British Rock/New Wave band The Cure are a good band but like many are finding their best years behind them. That is not the question here however and more of do they belong in the Rock Hall. For me the view is that “yes, eventually, but not right now”. The New Wave great Billy Idol is not yet in the Hall and that makes no sense.
Donovan: I was too young to fully appreciate the talents of the Sunshine Superman when he was the most active so I will leave this one alone.
Erik B. and Rakim: Clearly this is a Hip Hop act and my statement on this still holds true. “Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame” not “Rock and Rap Hall Of Fame”. We already have Run DMC in the Hall and Grandmaster Flash and the committee doesn’t seem to care that this is breaking the mold they have set up. I guess we can count on Sugar Hill Gang, 2Live Crew, Tupac or Biggie next year huh? Mind you I am not adverse to a Hip Hop Hall of Fame. Perhaps someone should get moving on that idea for good measure. Let the Rap fans scream when Anthrax gets nominated for that Halls process 🙂
Guns ‘n Roses: I loved the GnR stuff since I first heard them with their “Live ?!*@ Like a Suicide” EP that someone I knew had taped. I never managed to locate a real copy when it was around back then but did get the classic “Appetite” release when it came out and still have it to this very day. The thing is while I consider Guns to be one of the true great Rock bands of our time I felt that other bands belonged in the Hall before them. Maybe in a couple of more years but right now not too much.
Heart: The same applies for Heart in my humble opinion and while this might get some people crazy on me and turn a few barracudas loose in terms of comments, the very sound that Heart was doing was the end result of numerous influences who are not yet in the famed Hall. The Wilson sisters are amazing at what they do without a doubt but like the Guns nomination just above I feel that some other acts need to be recognized first. The ladies might have been around a little longer than one that quickly comes to mind and that is Pat Benetar. To me, Pat had no less than three songs to every main hit by Heart and while I would love them to be in the place, please take your place in line.
Joan Jett and the Blackhearts: She might not give a damn about her bad reputation but she has to like being nominated for the Rock Hall. I had a lot of love for the original Joan material that she worked so hard at with Ricky Byrd and the other members of The Blackhearts. This was a good choice for me. When I learned of Joan being on the potential nominees list, I dug into one of my old cassette boxes for a homemade “best of” that I made so long ago. Of course I then realized that I did not connect the tape deck to the main stereo properly when I put it all together and forgot to address it. Sigh. Guess I will just listen to “I Love Rock and Roll” on CD now.
Freddie King: I don’t know enough about the Bluesman Freddie King so shall offer up no opinion on his contributions to music. I will say that he is cited as being one of the “Three Kings of Electric Blues Guitar” if you are to follow what his Wikipedia entry says about him. His nomination comes decades after his passing in 1976.
Laura Nyro: Nyro was one of the many talented songwriters that came out of the historic Brill Building. I am certainly not going to question one who penned material and hits for bands like Three Dog Night, Blood Sweat and Tears and the 5th Dimension. Sadly, Laura also is a deceased nominee and passed away in 1997.
Red Hot Chili Peppers: Personally I have never been more than a casual fan of the RHCP and if not for my close friend Joe would likely have started to listen to them much later than I did. I felt that their earliest material was the most profound and important stuff in their career and like many others bands are long past their prime. However, inclusion in the Rock Hall before bands like Jane’s Addiction get in, no way, I am sorry but just no.
Rufus wth Chaka Khan: Rufus was the Funk band that gave us singer Chaka Khan and I know less than nothing about them since I was not listening to Funk music at that time. I was a wee lad back then but I did enjoy the “Tell Me Something Good” song. It was solid I guess but does this make them more of a worthy inclusion into the Rock Hall than the late great Rick James?? I hardly think so.
The Small Faces/The Faces: When I mentioned this particular nomination to a friend of mine he was surprised as the two groups are very different from one another in terms of their musical output and influence. As the Small Faces they were a Mod band that featured Steve Marriott on vocals (who also rose to greater fame in Humble Pie) and Ronnie Lane. The Faces was more of a combining of the now defunct Small Faces and the Jeff Beck band and was something Psychedelic. I think that each deserves a nomination on their own merits and not as a part of a package deal.
The Spinners: Motown stuff makes very much sense. Moving on.
Donna Summer: The Queen Of Disco in the Rock Hall? Come on guys, what are you smoking and can you please send over a little bit of it for those stressful nights at the PM.com Command Center? I was not behind Madonna’s inclusion in the Rock Hall and kind of feel the same about the polyester suits and the Disco movement.
War: This was never a band that I followed in any sense but I did love their songs “Low Rider”, “Spill The Wine” and “Why Can’t We Be Friends”. I have to admit that the latter I heard the most from the parody song “Mr. Jaws” because I am vintage and it intrigued me. These three tunes from the Funk Rock band were probably the ones that put them on the map most at the end of the day. I am still not sure what made the committee interested in them beyond this.
From this list of nominees I count about four complete no’s with Beastie Boys, Rufus and Chaka Khan, Eric B. and Rakim and Donna Summer. For me their sound and style and the stuff that made them musically relevant was just not Rock and Roll. The bands that I felt were possible good inclusions but just not yet amounted to four as well with Guns, Heart, RHCP and The Cure. These are good bands but other groups belong in the Hall and being honored before they are added. Like I said earlier, this is just my opinion on this. You will possibly disagree. The rest I am okay with based on not knowing 100% what led to the choice or by being in full agreement with them. Remember, they only choose a few of these nominees out of the whole batch and not the entire lot of them.
Being fair there are some groups that I find important to my own musical mind who are now finally in the Rock Hall and these artists include Alice Cooper, Van Halen, Metallica, Black Sabbath and Pink Floyd. Despite this we need to face facts for a moment because the list of omissions of note is an incredible one. The first ones I can come up with are KISS, Rush, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Deep Purple, Motley Crue, Bon Jovi, Poison, The Sweet, Yes, Emerson Lake and Palmer, Motorhead, Billy Idol, Cheap Trick, and many, many more. All of these groups are not only favored personal choices but also are very important to the very fabric of Rock music as we know it and these I am sure that most will agree upon. I will let you readers offer more insight onto some of them in the comments area.
As I said when I started this piece the idea was just to toss the views into the blog for our readers to enjoy and possibly bicker about because if there is one thing a Rock fan is, and that is passionate about our music. As a journalist running a web resource like PiercingMetal for almost seven years it is wise to participate in the news of the musical day. Since I hardly think I will see the day when more of my Metal favorites will ever make the cut such as Motley Crue, W.A.S.P., Slayer, HIM, Nightwish and hundreds upon hundreds more, I have to wonder if a Metal Hall of Fame can ever happen. If it does, please put it in a place like NYC or LA. I promise to visit and blog about its existence when you do.
Check out their official site for past inductees: http://rockhall.com/