Thursday, September 24, 2009

Rock N' Roll Hall of Fame Nominees for 2010

The usual R&R Hall o' Fame nominee nonsense begins again. Another list of obvious and questionable contenders. Never know what the 500 person voting committee will do.

There are certain folks past and present (Seymour Stein, Ahmet Ertegun) who have held a lot of influence and have gotten perhaps some less deserving people in while other, more seminal, artists remain shut out. Alice Cooper, The Stooges, The New York Dolls not in Hall, but Percy Sledge and Ritchie Valens are? I am always baffled by exactly what the criteria is to get into this goofy museum. It seems having the right lobbyists helps.

Would love to see such cult-ish types as Love and The Zombies in there, but I am probably dreaming.

The list:

KISS -- Love em' or hate em', they should have been in there long ago.

Genesis-- Same as above.

Stooges-- The godfathers of punk not in Hall, but Sex Pistols and Ramones (both directly influnenced by Iggy and co.) are? C'mon, dummies!

Laura Nyro -- Great songwriter. Cult-ish type artist who is certainly worthy, but not exactly rock and roll. If she makes it, then where is Harry Nilsson?

The Chantels -- Output is pretty slight, even by girl group standards, though they are credited with being R&R's first great female group.

The Hollies -- Great and underappreciated 60's pop group who had tons of hits. If they make it, well deserved.

Donna Summer -- This is disco or R&B, but the "Rock and Roll" moniker hardly seems to apply for this organisation. Miles Davis is in there, for god sakes! Miss Summer certainly sold a ton of disco records in her time.

ABBA -- Again, not what one would call Rock and Roll, but considering they have sold more records than anyone but the Beatles and the fact they cranked out a string of pop classics that for better and worse continue to influence pop music, they should be a shoo-in. If Madonna is in there, then ABBA should definitely be in there.

Red Hot Chili Peppers -- This one may ruffle a few feathers too, but they have had a 25 year career of critical and commercial success. I know, there are those who hate them with a passion, but I have liked some of their stuff and the musicianship from Flea, John Frusciante and Chad Smith is phenomenal. Now if the voting committee can just forget about the socks on cocks episodes or some of Anthony Kiedis' raps, they should be in there.

LL Cool J -- WTF. Another example of the East Coast bias of this organisation. How many rap acts are you going to include in this thing? And if I had to pick 5 or 10 of them for inclusion, I don't think Ladies Love (who has had his moments) would be one of them. Grandmaster Flash and Run DMC are in. Wouldn't The Beastie Boys or Public Enemy be the most obvious next choice?

Darlene Love -- Great girl group singer. Not sure she has accomplished enough to get in, but you never know.

Jimmy Cliff -- This would make reggae artist number two in the hall behind you-know-who. If called upon to induct another reggae artist,would not be my next logical pick. That would probably be Toots & the Maytals. He had a few gems in the early 70's and helped to popularize reggae on an international level, but I just don't think his work warrants inclusion here.

Why should we care? It is a tourist trap that celebrates a populist history of,well not even rock exactly, but popular music of the last 50-odd years. I would like to check it out some day,but would never make a special trip to see it. Strange to see such vibrant music reduced to a stuffy museum exhibit. Does not take into account all of the glorious one-offs or notable but not best-selling acts that have made the music so interesting over the years.

Still, it is nice to see the music taken seriously and some of those old timers commemorated somehow. You and I know Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis and so on,but future generations may need some guidance. Will they be looked upon with the same interest or relevance that such legandary but mostly forgotten Baseball Hall of Fame players as Pie Traynor or Tris Speaker are today? At least the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame members have something that will endure and can be experienced:their music.


  1. Kiss is a no brainer here. Love 'em or hate 'em, they have had a huge impact on Rock-n-Roll and an enduring career.

    Similar with ABBA. How many bands have songs that everyone knows and sings 30+ years later. My kids sing Dancing Queen and I promise you I never have played ABBA in my house. Ever.

    Genesis. I see the argument.

    Stooges. No, but Iggy Pop should be.

    Laura Nyro. No.

    Chantels. No fucking way.

    Hollies. Nope. Too many covers and not enough original compositions. Honestly, they were a hit largely because every Brit band was a hit at that time, not because they were unique.

    Donna Summer. Despite being the subject of some of my earliest "young boy and older disco singing woman" fantasies, no.

    RHCP. Too soon.

    LL Cool J. Um, no.

    Darlene Love. no.

    Jimmy Cliff. Yeah, probably.

  2. STOOGES: I agree with JB and disagree with Morgan. I don't think you can exclude the Stooges from any R'n'R Hall of Fame worth it's salt. Yes, Iggy was the spearhead of the Stooges and had occasional brilliance and success (commercial and critical) as a solo artist. But the template that the Stooges as a whole created has resonated throughout multiple generations. In a just world, the Stooges should be a lock.

    Jimmy Cliff: That's a tough one. As much as I like reggae in general and some Jimmy Cliff in particular, I'm not sure reggae artist belong in a R'n'R Hall of FAme. Still, reggae, especially the "classics" of which Cliff represents, had a huge effect on many R'n'R artists, so it could be argued that Cliff et al did change the sound of R'n'R (for better or worse, probably both).

    RHCP: Agree with both JB and Morgan. I think it is too soon, but ultimately, I think they should be in there, despite the fact that I think they are not nearly as good as they should be (or people think they are). I like some of their stuff a lot, I hate a lot of their stuff, but as JB inferred, they have had a long career and have been very influential (again, like the reggae, for better or worse, probably both).