Rock n Roll Hall of Fame Fuck-up

I just never learn. I am currently having the same reaction to the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame as I recently had to the MTV Video Music Awards. I simply can’t believe its irrelevance. Today, the Hall released its list of 15 nominees for the upcoming year’s induction, and it staggers me in multiple ways. First, as usual, some background.

The Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame inducted its first class in 1986, with the intention of “recogniz(ing) the contributions of those who have had a significant impact on the evolution, development and perpetuation of rock and roll.” Never mind that the definition of rock n’ roll was interminably broad at the time (and continues to grow in size), this seems like a noble goal. It was decided that artists become eligible 25 years after their first record was released (“in the generally accepted sense of that phrase”). Factors to be considered were “an artist’s musical influence on other artists, length and depth of career and the body of work, innovation and superiority in style and technique, but musical excellence shall be the essential qualification of induction.”

Unfortunately, the factor they deem most essential is the one that I think is hardest to measure. In striving for a sense of objectivity, which any Hall of Fame should ostensibly be doing, you can’t just say, “Yeah, they were great!” You have to prove that they were better than others; more deserving of recognition and immortality than their peers. A Hall must be exclusive in order to be worthwhile in any way and there must be some parameters.

Interestingly, the RnR HoF has seemed to wander further and further away from this concept as the years have progressed. In recent years, inductees in the “Performer” category have included Little Anthony and the Imperials, the Dave Clark Five, Abba, and the Hollies. I would quibble additionally with inductees like the Ronettes, John Mellencamp and Genesis. I enjoy much of the work by these artists, but when laid side-by-side with Madonna, Leonard Cohen, Run-D.M.C. and the Stooges (also all recent inductees) they just don’t elicit the same amount of influence or innovation.

So I shouldn’t have been surprised by today’s announcement of the inductees, which can be found here. These are all good artists, in their own rights, but…Bon Jovi?!! Alice Cooper?!? Darlene Love. Come on. I have the same quibble with her as I do with the Ronettes – they were essentially vehicles for Phil Spector, who was already inducted. Other artists are good: Donovan, J. Geils Band, Chic. But not worthy of immortality along with the greatest of the great. Then there’s a case like Tom Waits, who has been eligible for 12 YEARS! What is taking them so long?

I was clearly inspired. In under a half hour, I came up with 42 artists that are currently eligible and have not yet been inducted. Rather than slog you through all 42, I’ve decided to spend the next few weeks focusing on my top 20 Artists who are not in the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame. Hopefully this can introduce you to some oldies but goodies, maybe it will inspire you to revisit your existing collection, or reconsider an old artist in a new way. Some of the ones that will not be covered but were still part of my 42 include: The Jam, Captain Beefhart, Kate Bush, Can, Nick Cave,Nick Drake, Tim Buckley, The MC5, The Fall, Gang of Four, the New York Dolls, Lou Reed, Randy Newman, Eurythmics, King Crimson and Television. Oh, I can’t wait to see what the top 20 is…can you?


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Peter on September 29, 2010 at 11:35 am

    Lara Nyro is way overdue too.


  2. Posted by Willy Brown on September 27, 2011 at 3:44 pm

    As long as the limousine liberals control and vote who go into the RROH you’ll most likely see crap being voted in over true Rock acts.


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