Friday, October 5, 2012

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 2013 Nominees

Whoo! Now this is what I’m talking about. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Central Committee For Rock and Roll Affairs has come up with a ballot for the class of 2013 that is the strongest they have had in years. Out of the 15 nominees, there are only three that I think are borderline, and even those at least can have good arguments made in their defense. As always, I can still nitpick here and there (and yes, I will, but at the end of the post). As a reminder, artists are eligible 25 years after their first single or album release. First, let’s take a look at the nominees, then I’ll give you my prediction and I’ll give you my ballot that I will be submitting, followed by some closing comments.

You read that right. I have a ballot this year. My voice will be heard. And so can yours. OK, it is a very tiny, tiny voice, and more a symbolic gesture than a vote that will really make a difference, but I still appreciate the gesture. At the Rockhall website, when you vote in their poll, this year the results will be tallied and submitted as one “fan ballot” that will be counted alongside the other 500 ballots. Hey, I like it. I can participate in a small way at least. The other 500 or so ballots come from prominent music critics, industry insiders and all current Rockhall inductees (I seriously question whether B.B. King really should be judging the impact of The Cure, as would have occurred last year, but that is the subject of earlier and I am sure later posts).

But here are the nominees and some brief thoughts on each:

Chic: This is their 7th nomination, so the Committee clearly wants to keep pushing them. With Nile Rodgers’s illness, there may be some urgency to get them inducted before he passes on. They were great, important dance music innovators. I’d have no problem with their eventual induction, but not gonna happen with this class.

Deep Purple: Up to this point, one of the most egregious omissions. Shockingly, this is their first nomination. The Committee has shown hostility towards certain genres, and hard rock/metal is definitely one of the most underrepresented in the Hall. Their induction would go a long way in moving the ball for hard rock and for rehabilitating the Hall as far as some of the glaring omissions go. Like them or not (and I'm lukewarm on them at best), they were one of the pioneers for hard rock.

Heart: I was surprised that they did not make it in last year with their first nomination. They help to fill out hard rock and get more women in the Hall, two goals the Committee should be jumping to fulfill.

Joan Jett & The Blackhearts: I dig Joan Jett. How can you not? She is the ultimate rocker chick. That being said, I think she is on the bubble as far as being Hall-worthy.

Albert King: One of the last essential bluesmen still on the outside looking in (I'd also like to see Sonny Boy Williamson II inducted). I have a feeling that Albert will get the shady Wanda Jackson / Freddie King treatment. That is, being nominated, not making the vote cut, and then the powers that be slide him in anyway in the "Early Influence" category, even though his most influential work was done during the rock era, not before. It's a BS move, although Albert definitely deserves a spot in the Hall.

Kraftwerk: So pleased so see these electronic pioneers get another shot. They were nominated once before awhile back. First and foremost, the Hall should honor the pioneers.

The Marvelettes: Not that familiar with them. "Please Mr. Postman" is their best known tune. Not getting in this year anyway.

The Meters: Great New Orleans soul/funk pioneers, but in this weighty class, I think their induction is probably the least likely of any of these candidates.

Randy Newman: Yes! Yes! Yes! And yes! Zimmerman aside, of course, I think that Randy Newman is the most interesting singer-songwriter that the 60's and 70's produced. His chances are good. The trend lately has been to get one singer-songwriter in per class (Tom Waits, Laura Nyro, Leonard Cohen...all recent inductees. Randy is the man and better than all of those.)

NWA: Pioneers of West Coast Gangsta Rap, I'm all for their induction. And I'd LOVE to hear Ice Cube's speech. But with someone else also in this nominee list (see two below), I think NWA will probably have to wait.

Paul Butterfield Blues Band: LOVE this band and I think they were so innovative in an early period. I don't think they have a chance in hell of getting inducted in this class, though. That's a shame. East/West is absolutely brilliant.

Public Enemy: The consensus, and I agree with it, is that Public Enemy are the surest thing in this group of nominees. While I personally prefer NWA, Public Enemy definitely needs to be inducted for their injection of the political into rap. Flava Flav's speech will also be entertaining.

Procol Harum: This is a marginal pick. I'm glad that they are getting to some prog, but come on. Yes, King Crimson, ELP, ELO and the Moody Blues are yet to be nominated (ever), and the Central Committee in all of its wisdom are offering up Procol Harum?

Rush: I don't think there has been a louder chorus of outrage for any other band's snubbing. As the years have gone by, it seems more and more absurd that Rush had not even been nominated. Well, finally the Committee relented and gave them a shot. I'd be shocked if they did not get in with ease. This at least insures that the performances at the ceremony will kick ass.

Donna Summer: Here is the rare case where the Committee is right and the voters are wrong. This is her 5th nomination, and add to that her death earlier this year, she's got to make it this time. I'm not a fan of disco, and neither are the voters, apparently, but come on. She wasn't the "Queen of Disco" by accident. If you are the "King" or "Queen" of any genre of popular music, your Hall credentials are pretty strong. She had a boatload of hits and was a leading force in the genre. It is just a shame that she did not get in while she was here to enjoy it.

The trend has been five inductees per year, although last year it was six (I think mainly due to the fact that they really wanted the Small Faces/Faces to get in, who were probably just outside the top five in voting).

Anyway, if it is six again this year, my prediction is:

Deep Purple
Randy Newman
Public Enemy
Donna Summer

And Albert King getting slipped in as an Early Influence

If that is the case, that is a really strong class. If I had my choice and I were King of Rock, my six would be:

Deep Purple
Randy Newman
Paul Butterfield Blues Band

NOTE: On the Rockhall site, they only let you vote for five.

Hard rock, metal, prog, the entire decade of the 80's...all are still woefully underepresented. My shortlist of the most egregious snubs (not including those nominated this year): The Cars; Chicago; The Cure; Depeche Mode; Devo; Duran Duran; Hall & Oates; Iron Maiden; Journey; Joy Division; Judas Priest; King Crimson; KISS; Lou Reed (solo); Love; MC5; Motorhead; New Order; Ozzy Osbourne (solo); The Replacements; Peter Gabriel (solo); The Pixies; The Smiths; Steve Miller Band; Steve Winwood (solo); Stevie Ray Vaughan; Willie Nelson; Yes and Kool & the Gang. There's more, of course.

Anyway, go to Future Rock Legends for great analysis and discussion of all things Rockhall.

Thoughts? Comments?


Philip said...

Interesting analysis, but I think you're selling the Marvelettes way too short. I'm not sure how I feel about them, to be honest, but I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if they did poke through this year.

Anonymous said...

The Ignorant Masses would select:
Public Enemy
Albert King

Gotta keep it real rollin' on the mean streets of MS. F@$k tha Police!

JMW said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JMW said...

Very little brings out the Dez I love like the Rock Hall. Awesome.

It's also nice, as a sports fan, to be reminded (again and again by you) that there are things much more ridiculous than even athletic halls of fame. I mean, you're getting worked up about whether or not Deep Purple will make it into the Rock Hall. Think about that.

Now think about it for one more minute.

OK. My bigger beef is that you listed the six that would make it if you were king. But you're only allowed to vote for five on the site. So which five is it?? Who's the one you would leave off your REAL ballot??? HUH???

ANCIANT said...

No one should ever think about Deep Purple, in any context, for any length of time. On that, I think, we can and should all agree. The same can probably be said for Heart.