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Posts Tagged ‘Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’

OK, so I’m not losing sleep over who gets into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but the latest batch of nominee’s reminded me of how haphazard this process can be.  This year voters get to pick from a wide variety of artists, which includes overlooked bands like The Zombies and MC5, singer/songwriters like Todd Rundgren and John Prine, genre pioneers like Kraftwork, and Rage Against the Machine, 80’s phenoms like The Cure and Devo, dancefloor divas like Chaka Khan, and Janet Jackson, or popular favorites like LLCoolJ, Stevie Nicks and Def Leppard.  It’s not that I have a big issue with any of these artists, it’s that there are so many other deserving candidates who seem to have been forgotten.  USA Today ran an article in recent days naming what they considered to be artists that were “snubbed” (e.g. Blink-182, Bone Thugs N-Harmony, Jane’s Addiction?), and while they did name a few I hadn’t thought of (e.g. Depeche Mode, Nine Inch Nails, Snopp Dogg, Kate Bush),  they left off what I considered to be the more obvious choices.  The three groups that jump to my mind are the Doobie Brothers, Boston, and The Guess Who.  Each one of those bands produced at least a half dozen classic songs that are still being played on the radio 40+ years later.  Their credentials are far superior to many of the other artists who are already in the hall.

In many cases, members of popular bands are also enshrined for their individual careers (e.g. Eric Clapton, Paul McCartney, John Lennon…).  Along those lines, I believe that a singer like Paul Rodgers should be admitted for his work in bands like Free, Bad Company, The Firm, and Queen.  Similarly, Sammy Hagar (Montrose, Van Halen, solo career), Ronnie James Dio (Rainbow, Black Sabbath, Dio) and Steve Winwood (Spencer Davis Group, Traffic, Blind Faith) should qualify for their stellar careers.  With bands like Journey and Cheap Trick already recognized, it’s hard to understand the exclusion of bands like Foreigner and Styx.  Similarly, if Deep Purple was worthy, so is Bad Company, and if Bon Jovi belongs, so do The Scorpions.  I don’t mind newer acts like Radiohead being nominated, but I don’t want to see some of these classic acts forgotten.  If you need further proof for the artists I mentioned, listen to the following:

  • The Doobie Brothers: Long Train Running, Black Water, China Grove, Jesus Is Just Alright, Taking it to the Streets, Listen to the Music
  • Boston:  More Than a Feeling, Foreplay/Long Time, Piece of Mind, Don’t Look Back, Rock and Roll Band, Feelin’ Satisfied
  • The Guess Who:  American Woman, These Eyes, Undun, No Time, Share the Land, No Sugar Tonight
  • Paul Rodgers:  Alright Now (Free), Bad Company (BC), Ready for Love (BC), Shooting Star (BC), Feel Like Making Love (BC), Satisfaction Guaranteed (The Firm)
  • Steve Winwood:  Gimme Some Lovin’ (Spencer Davis Group), Can’t Find My Way Home (Blind Faith), Low Spark of High Heeled Boys (Traffic), John Barlycorn Must Die (Traffic), Arc of the Diver
  • Sammy Hagar: Bad Motor Scooter (Montrose), Heavy Metal (solo), I Can’t Drive 55 (solo), Dreams (Van Halen), Right Now (Van Halen)
  • Ronnie James Dio:  Man on the Silver Mountain (Rainbow), Heaven and Hell (Black Sabbath), The Mob Rules (Black Sabbath), Holy Diver (Dio)
  • Foreigner:  Cold As Ice, Long Long Way from Home, Feels Like the First Time, Hot Blooded, Urgent, Juke Box Hero, I Want to Know What Love Is
  • Styx:  Lady, Suite Madame Blue, Come Sail Away, Fooling Yourself, Blue Collar Man, Renegade
  • Bad Company:  Bad Company, Ready for Love, Seagull, Shooting Star, Feel Like Making Love, Rock and Roll Fantasy
  • The Scorpions:  Holiday, The Zoo, No One Like You, Rock You Like a Hurricane, Still Loving You, Winds of Change,
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Clearly, I don’t get a vote on who gets into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; but if I did, things would look a little different. For me, some of the artists they’ve chosen are head scratchers, while some of the ones they’ve left out are equally baffling. I could go on for days, but let me narrow it down to five. If I could trade five who are already in for five who’ve been left out, they’d be:

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1. The Beastie Boys – I guess white guys making credible rap music was somewhat groundbreaking in its day, but I can’t find anything in the catalog that warrants this kind of accolade.
2. Donna Summer – I love her voice and she made some great dance records, but I don’t get the rock and roll connection. While early R&B artists and Motown legends influenced a whole generation of rockers, I don’t know anyone who’d site her catalog and/or disco music in general, as informing their rock and roll. Definitely belongs in the Pop Music Hall of Fame.
3. Blondie – Another band that I enjoyed, but like the Beasties I can’t find the classic work that would launch them into this sphere.
4. Patti Smith – I’ve appreciated her art (in all its varied forms) and I admire her as a human being. I also think that “Because the Night” was a great record. But I don’t see anything that really warrants elevating her to the pantheon of rock music.
5. Daryl Hall and John Oats – Like Ms. Summer, I’ve enjoyed some of the records, and they’ve had great success on the charts, but the music is purely pop. Other than a pretty credible cover of the classic “You’ve Lost that Loving Feeling”, I’m struggling to see Hall of Fame credentials here.

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1. The Doobie Brothers – Though their catalog is a little uneven in spots, it is filled with classic rock songs (e.g. Listen to the Music, Black Water, Another Park – Another Sunday, Long Train Running, China Grove, Takin’ it to the Streets…) that make them worthy of this recognition.
2. Bad Company/Paul Rodgers – I personally feel as though the quality of Bad Company’s catalog (e.g. Bad Company, Ready for Love, Can’t Get Enough, Shooting Star, Feel Like Makin’ Love, Burnin’ Sky…) justifies a spot, but for those who might disagree, I would submit that without a doubt vocalist Paul Rodgers belongs. His work with “Free”, “Bad Company”, “The Firm” and even “Queen”, qualifies him as one of the greatest rock vocalists ever.
3. Chicago – I realize that some of their later pop recordings tarnished their legacy a bit, but they had a solid run of ten albums filled with groundbreaking rock music.
4. Boston – I believe that their debut album alone qualifies them. The second album was a classic as well. Over 30 years later, these songs are still all over the radio.
5. Yes – An amazing collection of virtuoso artists, making totally original music. With artists like Traffic, Genesis, Pink Floyd, and now Peter Gabriel, already inducted, why not recognize the achievements of this innovative band.

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