Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Nominations Coming Tomorrow; Here's Who SHOULD Be on the List

by Roger Wink, VVN Music

Tomorrow is the day when the fifteen nominees for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame are announced and the annual round of complaining starts.

Over the last month, I've been thinking hard about who I think deserves to be on the list and who I would have voted for had I any say along with what I think the Hall will actually do.

First Time Nominees

There has been a bit of a short list of possible nominees who became eligible for the first time over the last couple of years but 2016, at least, has a couple that can be given serious consideration:
  • Pearl Jam - This is the biggest no brainer. They should be voted in come the December or January announcement.
  • 2Pac Shakur - I'm not totally convinced that 2Pac is the most deserving from the rap genre at this time. There are a few other acts, like Naughty For Nature and Cyprus Hill who are also eligible for the first time, in 2016 that were possibly more influential but the Hall will most likely see 2Pac as a near sure thing. 
Others who are eligible for the first time but, most likely, won't make the cut this year are Alanis Morissette, Paul Weller, Aphex Twin, Tori Amos, P.J. Harvey and the previously mentioned Naughty For Nature and Cyprus Hill.

Progressive

Progressive rock is so seriously under-represented in the Hall that it is hard to explain. While Genesis is a member, there's a lot of thought that they made it more on their 80's output rather than their more innovative work in the late-60's and 70's. That being said, it's time for this genre to be recognized with:
  • The Moody Blues - Yes, they too became more poppy in the 80's but their albums like Days of Future Past, In Search of the Lost Chord and A Question of Balance broke the mold for what rock musicians could do with more "serious" musicians in orchestras. 
  • Yes - They've been up before and it is time to seriously consider them for induction.  Not only did they make some of the most complex, long-form music created at the time, you have to consider the individual talents of Steve Howe, Alan White, Jon Anderson, Chris Squire, Rick Wakeman, Geoff Downes, Trevor Rabin and others who have played with the band. 
Those would be my first two selections from that genre, but they should be followed shortly by King Crimson, Emerson Lake and Palmer, Jethro Tull and, possibly, Procol Harum. 

Rockers

I'm not going to get into the regular argument that these are the ONLY artists that should be considered for the Rock Hall, but it is appropriate that the genre has a good percentage of the members. There remain many, many rockers who are deserving of inclusion but these stand out to me for nomination this year:
  • Electric Light Orchestra - Like the Moody Blues, ELO expertly mixed rock with strings creating a unique sound that has remained popular since their earliest days.  The fact that Jeff Lynne is not in the Hall is a crime and this was his most important achievement. 
  • Bad Company - OK, maybe they were actually a supergroup formed of the remnants of other acts like Free, Mott the Hoople and King Crimson, but the fact remains that all of the members did their best work and rocked hardest as members of Bad Company.
  • Judas Priest - While some would argue that Iron Maiden is more deserving of this slot, Judas Priest were playing heavy metal for the masses six years before Maiden and they influenced, along with Black Sabbath, decades of metal bands. 
  • Boston - It was hard picking between Boston, Journey, Kansas, REO and Styx, all classic 70's "corporate rock" but I give the nod to Boston for their musicianship and ability to stay relevant, influential and popular even though their releases were few and far between. 
  • The Smiths - The bias against British artists from the 80's in the Hall is starting to almost eclipse the missing Progressive artists. The Smiths were influential over British music in their era, supposedly one of the main criteria for induction, and both Morrissey and Johnny Marr have continued to stay relevant by moving The Smiths sound forward into the new century. 
R&B and Soul
  • War - The members were not only fine musicians but they were innovative in taking 70's R&B through a wide variety of sounds from their work with Eric Burden to the funk of The Cisco Kid and Low Rider to the smooth soul of All Day Music and Summer. War was all the great R&B sounds of the 70's rolled up into one band. 
  • The Spinners - There was a plethora of R&B vocal groups that were popular throughout the 70's but none as smooth as The Spinners plus, instead of the more standard lead singer and backup vocalists used in so many R&B/soul groups, The Spinners had three lead singers that would trade off, much the way the Temptations did. 
Soloists
  • Harry Nilsson - How in the world has the great Harry Nilsson not been even nominated to the Hall? Just as a songwriter, he has many classics to his name and his own recordings are some of the greatest solo works of the 70's. Now, add in that he was one of the first in the singer-songwriter genre that hit so big in the 70's and there is no reason that Nilsson is not a member. 
  • Warren Zevon - One of the most respected singer/songwriters of the 70's, Zevon continued to create worthy, innovative music right up until his final album, recorded while he was dying with a rare form of cancer. 
A worth alternative to Zevon in the soloist and singer/songwriter genres would be Carly Simon or Carole King, even though she is already in as a songwriter.  
Electronic
  • Kraftwerk - Kraftwerk has been playing and innovating electronic music since 1969. Quite simply, without Kraftwerk there is no Gary Numan, Depeche Mode and Thomas Dolby along with no Electro, House, Techno, Hard Core and all the other genres of electronic music. 
The Others
  • Dick Dale - I'm going out on a limb for this one but surf music was a major part of rock in the mid-60's and nobody played surf guitar or was more innovative in its sound than Dick Dale. 
Special Categories

The hall also has special inductees that are not made via the nomination and voting process but, rather, through special committee selection.
  • Nile Rodgers - Chic has been nominated ten times for the Hall without getting in. While their sound was innovative in the disco/dance genre, it just doesn't seem that they are destined for membership. That doesn't mean that the great Nile Rodgers shouldn't be brought in even if it is just for his production. While Rodgers would, most likely, be hesitant to be granted admission without his late professional partner Bernard Edwards, the fact remains that he has produced great music since Chic stopped being popular including David Bowie, Duran Duran and Daft Punk.
  • Michael Nesmith - I'm not a member of the "Monkees deserve to be in the Hall" movement, but that could take up a whole separate article.  I do believe, though, the Michael Nesmith deserves consideration.  Not only was he an early innovator in country rock with his First, Second and Third National Band albums, but he was extremely influential in the development of music video into an art form that led to the formation of MTV. 

4 comments

Anonymous said...

So, just to be clear, in a bit over 60 years in the History of Rock and Roll music, you are unable to think of even *one* single female musician who deserves to be nominated this year?

VVN Network said...

Until recently, there was a strong bias against women in music, especially in Rock and Roll. While women did occasionally break through, it was definitely much more rare than on the female dominated charts in popular music today.

Many of the greats (Aretha Franklin, Joan Jett, Dusty Springfield, etc.) have already been inducted and, with Hall consideration being cut off at a career that started 25 years ago, we are yet to move up into the more modern era where women are much more prevalent.

In looking at those that broke out 25 years ago, Alanis Morissette and P.J. Harvey standout but I don't see them getting nominated over Pearl Jam and 2Pac.

As for older artists, there are just so many that have been overlooked that those who floated to the top, and I picked, happened to be male. There was no preconceived plan to make it that way. It was just the way it came out.

I did say that Carly Simon and Carole King (as a performer, she's already in as a songwriter) are strong considerations and, in rock, I believe the time will come for the Go-Go's, but there were artists that had a stronger influence on future artists this year that those will have to wait.

Math Person said...

Jethro Tull
Steppenwolf

Anonymous said...

Again, no serious considerations for female artists.
How about....the Marvelettes(and R/b girl groups of the 60's-70's)
Genya Ravan-singer of Ten Wheel Drive and 60's group-Goldie & The Gingerbreads as well as producer of some 70's punk bands
Carole King(as a solo artist)or Carly Simon...both major singer-songwriters of the 70's.
Loretta Lynn-although country......wrote a great deal of feminist lyrics and sold a lot of records, still performs today at age 84 !!
Fanny-a 70's female driven rock band
The Runaways
The Go-Go's
to name a few......

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