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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.