Part of the fun of breaking down each year’s crop of nominees for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is to bash the boneheaded decisions made by the Nominating Committee. I can’t really do that this year. I would not be upset if any of these fifteen nominees were inducted for the Class of 2016. I guess the shake-up/purge of the Committee earlier this year did some positive good.
Here are the nominees, and then I will tell you who I voted for on the fan poll and then predict who will actually be inducted…
Finally! Those who know me well know that I have been a huge booster of The Cars since I started following the Hall. To me, they’ve got all of the criteria. One of the biggest New Wave bands of the late 70’s/early 80’s with a boatload of memorable hits, top charting records, and music that stands the test of time yet is also definitely of its time. Ric Ocasek’s sardonic, witty songs have influenced a generation of power pop songwriters.
Get it over with already! This is their 10th nomination. The voting body has spoken over and over again, but the Nominating Committee will not give up. They should just cook the books and get them in regardless of the vote tally. I’m with the Committee on this one, Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards should be in the Hall of Fame, no question. Disco backlash? But Donna Summers, The Bee Gees and ABBA are all in. I don’t get it. Maybe just get Rodgers in for his production work with the Ahmet Ertugen award, bypassing the voting body altogether, since they clearly don’t get it?
A big snub for a lot of people for years (not for me, not a big fan), this is their first nomination. I think their Peter Cetera dominated 80’s schmaltz have hurt them over the years. The jazz-rock of the 70’s was pretty pioneering, although never a critical favorite.
First time nomination for this power pop juggernaut as well. No complaint from me, although I was never a huge fan. To me, they have a Greatest Hits worth of power pop classics.
Again, not a huge fan personally, but it is absurd that Purple is still not in the Hall of Fame. The Holy Trinity of 70’s hard rock is Black Sabbath (inducted after about 8 nominations), Led Zeppelin (inducted) and Deep Purple. Get them in there, and then start getting in all of the snubbed metal groups influenced by these three: Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Motorhead, Anthrax, Pantera, Motley Crue, Ozzy Osbourne (solo), Megadeath, etc.
There has been a grass roots effort for years to get Ms. Jackson on the ballot, and she finally gets her shot. I agree, with her track record, it is pretty ridiculous that she is not already in. The fact that she was able to step out of the shadow of her older brother and establish her own identity is impressive in and of itself.
I had to look this one up. A funk group that James Brown put together to back him at some point that then released some funk music of their own. I listened to some of it, fantastic stuff. Bootsy Collins, Bobby Byrd and Maceo Parker all went through their ranks. The Hall recently inducted some other backing bands through the backdoor (deservedly), I bet when the J.B.’s don’t get enough votes this year, they will get in that way too. Fine with me.
It is a little strange that she was previously nominated with/as Rufus and Chaka Khan but this time she is being nominated purely for her solo work. She is fantastic.
What a pleasant surprise. I did not see this coming at all. Casual music fans probably just remember “La Bamba,” but they have a catalogue both rich and deep. They have fused Mexican styles of music seamlessly with American rock and roll, and also released some quite experimental albums (Kiko is one of my all time favorite records). They are a dark horse, but not as much of a longshot as you might think. First, they are very respected in the industry, and that is who votes. Secondly, they have worked with many other artists, many of whom are voters as well. (Paul Simon won’t be voting for them, I imagine. Los Lobos played on a song on Simon’s Graceland. When Simon did not give them a songwriting credit, that launched a decades long war of words, with Los Lobos claiming that Simon ripped them off).
Another “finally,” shockingly this is his first nomination. Another case of casual listeners being familiar with a handful of radio hits, but an artist with a deep and rich catalogue. His late 60’s work was very interesting, and he was a hits machine in the 70’s. Like with last year’s initial nomination of Stevie Ray Vaughan without Double Trouble (they later amended it), it is odd that Miller is nominated alone and not as Steve Miller Band, which is how all but one of his albums is branded. Perhaps there was too much of a revolving door with Steve Miller Band personnel, I’m not sure.
Definitely not a fan, definitely deserves induction. Trent Reznor was influential on annoying trends in music during the 90’s and beyond. But the key word there is influential.
The Hall (or voters) have an issue here. And it is not whether rap belongs in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. That decision has already been made with Run DMC, Grandmaster Flash and Public Enemy already getting inducted. Do you recognize and honor a group that is so steeped in violence and misogyny, yet one of the most important groups of the last 25 years? (I guess they already decided misogyny was OK when they inducted The Rolling Stones). This is their best chance with the ‘Straight Outta Compton’ film doing so well this year. It would be a fun ceremony with them there, for sure.
Love to see them here again. The fact that they (and The Cure, Joy Divison/New Order, Depeche Mode, The Cars, Devo, The Replacements, Duran Duran, Sonic Youth, The Pixies, Morrissey as a solo artist, etc.) are still not in reveals a real problem with the structure of voting. Many of the voters are steeped in 50s, 60s and 70s rock and are dismissive or don’t really understand the 80s. Steven Van Zandt has said that “the 80s were a musical wasteland,” and he is one of the most influential members of the Nominating Committee. And Jerry Lee Lewis is a voter. How much Moz does Jerry Lee really listen to?
Great Philly Soul group from the 70s. Love to see them get in, but they don’t have much of a chance in this field. Their only hope is that there is not much competition to split votes with such a classic rock-heavy ballot.
And we come to the most egregious snub still on the outside. However you feel about their music or the progressive rock genre in general, the fact that you have the most important band of a major genre of rock still not in the Rockhall is by definition absurd. They should have gotten in on their first nomination two years ago (actually, they should have gotten in when became eligible in 1994), but hopefully this is the year we rectify this crime. Too bad Chris Squire is no longer alive to enjoy the induction.
Again, it would be hard to come up with a list of 15 nominees more deserving of induction. On the fan poll you can vote for five, but they have been inducting 6-7 in recent years. So…
Nine Inch Nails
If they induct seven: Steve Miller
And I predict they will backdoor the J.B.’s with the Musical Excellence category
Thoughts? Your favorites? Predictions?