My Take on Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Nominees 2018

Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you doubtless know that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Nominees for 2018 have been announced. Directly from the site:

19 ARTISTS MAKE UP THE 2018 INDUCTION BALLOT.

“Of the 19, 9 are appearing on the ballot for the first time and 2 of those groups are newly eligible this year. Check out Nominee bios below (on their site) to learn more about each artist represented on this year’s ballot or cast your own vote in the Fan’s Vote.” (Voting open through 12/5/17.)

The list is below with notes on who I voted for and some other snarky comments:

  • Bon Jovi – a band that does nothing for me but which has the aura of inevitability about them. I can’t see how they don’t get in this time or next. They were leading the vote last time I checked and they have an immense fan base.
  • Kate Bush – she’s not already in?
  • The Cars – I voted for these guys. An essential band that I think pretty much everybody liked.
  • Depeche Mode –  the beginning of why I would suck as a HOF voter. I know their name, maybe one or two songs and that’s about it.
  • Dire Straits – I voted for them. Yes. Totally, completely, 100% deserving.
  • Eurthymics – A good band that I did not vote for but will one day.
  • J. Geils Band – I voted for them. Could there be two Boston band inducted in the same year? Sweet. (For the record, both the Cars and Geils were nominated last year and I said exactly the same thing.)
  • Judas Priest- Like Bon Jovi, really not to my taste. I suppose they’ll get in one day.
  • LL Cool J – See my note on Depeche Mode. I know he’s a rapper and he’s famous and influential. I cannot judge him as – try though I might – I cannot get into rap and so how the hell do I know?
  • The MC5 – I know these guys are revered by some but I cannot name one song by them.
  • The Meters -A fine New Orleans choice but sorry guys, have to wait.
  • Moody Blues – I voted for them. They’ve been around since 1964 for Chrissakes. How the fuck long do they have to wait?
  • Radiohead – Really wanted to vote for these guys but five’s the limit we can vote for. And I am in favor of bringing in bands that have been waiting a long time and some pioneers first.
  • Rage Against the Machine – I wasn’t necessarily a big fan but they seem pretty influential.
  • Rufus featuring Chaka Khan – I liked them but did they really do enough to merit inclusion? (Chaka Khan was on the ballot last year and I said I’d vote for her this year. Hypocrite.)
  • Nina Simone – My favorite rock ‘n roller! I mean, she’s a great singer but I’m starting to think they should change the name of the Hall to the Popular Music Hall of Fame with subcategories. Seriously. That would end the whole “what is and is not rock and roll” argument.
  • Sister Rosetta Tharpe – I voted for her. I have no idea whether she’ll get in but I always vote for at least one pioneer.
  • Link Wray – another pioneer. Next time
  • The Zombies – OMG, they formed in 1958! Worthy, but again, have to wait. Based on how long they’re waiting, maybe them over the Moodys? I dunno. I like the Moodys better. Here’s a cool song by them anyway:

Spotify link

 

 

28 thoughts on “My Take on Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Nominees 2018

  1. I’d go:
    The Cars (one of the premier new waves bands, both artistically and commercially).
    Kate Bush (probably won’t make it, but I think she’s extraordinarily creative)
    Radiohead (might not hurt them to wait for a while, but they’re inevitably and deservedly going to make it).
    Nina Simone (might not quite make the definition of rock and roll, but I think she’s close enough, long and storied career).
    Zombies (should have been in years ago).

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      1. Have now. Honestly I think most of them deserve it at some point. I really don’t like Bon Jovi, but they probably deserve it for commercial success. Same with Rage Against The Machine – I only like them in short bursts, but I think they will get in on influence.

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        1. You raise an interesting point. Should a band get in based on commercial success? The write-up on the Hall site says, “Besides demonstrating unquestionable musical excellence and talent, inductees will have had a significant impact on the development, evolution, and preservation of rock & roll.”

          It goes on to say, “This category honors bands or solo artists which demonstrate musical excellence. Such a descriptor includes (but isn’t limited to) influence on other performers or genres; length and depth of career and catalog; stylistic innovations; or superior technique and skills.” So really it’s about excellence and influence and (supposedly) not about sales per se. But maybe the reality of who gets in is not necessarily related to the lofty words on the site. This is why I’m glad I’m not a voter. If they ever have a category for empty arena rock, Bon Jovi gets my vote all the way

          Liked by 1 person

        2. I generally think in the 1960s there was a pretty good correlation between what was good and what sold well, but there’s been less correlation going forward.

          I think bands like The Replacements, The Smiths, and Husker Du should be considered on influence and on strong back-catalogues, but they’ve never made it in, probably because none of them were big forces commercially in the US.

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  2. I think off all the bands on that list Radiohead probably give the least of a shite about it (and have commented as such in the past). Dire Straits would be interesting in terms of igniting the reunion rumour mill again (not to mention brothers Knopfler having barely spoken in the years since Making Movies)

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    1. I wasn’t aware Radiohead said that. Not entirely surprised I suppose. As to Dire Straits, if you look at previous Hall ceremonies, it’s far from certain that the old gang always returns. So many bands are laced with animosity it’s a wonder they don’t kill each other, much less reunite at any ceremony. The Gallaghers, for example, haven’t spoken in years. Just curious as to who your picks might be, unless you’d rather not play.

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      1. I think it’s more a cultural thing with them. Ed O’Brien said ““Culturally I don’t understand it. I think it might be a quintessential American thing. Brits are not very good at slapping ourselves on the back.” I can understand that – here it’s not such an important thing.
        The Gallaghers were never that great together and I honestly believe that if someone dropped enough cash in front of em they’d be up for it again. It’s only been eight years afterall whereas the Knopflers haven’t spoken in something like 30 years. Though that could change as I see they’re not exactly bottom of the results thus far.
        My votes went to Ms Bush, Dire Straits, Nina Simone, Link Wray and those blokes from Birmingham who did Nights in White Satin

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        1. I think the “slapping on the back” thing is more occupation-related for us Yanks. So actors can’t get enough of it and have many awards shows to say how great they are. I think American rockers are quite a bit more ambivalent about the Hall. “Is it cool?” “Should we really enshrine rock and roll?” “I kinda half give a fuck.” Your list is solid (It’s a bunch of worthy nominees.) We have Straits, Moodys in common (though I can’t stand ‘Nights.’) Kate is worthy but she is nowhere near the worshiped goddess over here as in the UK.

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  3. The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is one of the subjects in music that tends to trigger passionate discussion. I agree with you that when you have artists from genres like hip hop or jazz, which have very little to nothing to do with rock & roll, they probably should give it a different name.

    In terms of my selections, I have to admit I’ve always liked Bon Jovi, especially their 80s albums. Yes, with their crazy hair they looked pretty ridiculous at the time, but they proved you can combine rock music with catchy melodies. I also saw them a few years ago and thought they did a dynamite live show.

    In addition to Bon Jovi, I also voted for Dire Straits (still dig Mark Knopfler’s cool guitar sound to this day), J. Geils Band (one of the best live bands I’ve ever seen), Moody Blues (Nights In White Satin was one of the early songs I learned when I took up the guitar; still love that tune!) and The Cars (they’re just cool!).

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    1. Frankly I expected passionate discussion when I posted this but I’m getting a lot of likes and minor interest. If there’s passion on this topic, it ain’t happening here. As to your choices, amazingly we are almost 5 for 5. I went for Rosetta Tharpe as she’s a pioneer. As to Bon Jovi, well, let’s just say we agree to disagree. But it wouldn’t surprise me if they got in. Nor would I even get all that worked up one way or the other truthfully.

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      1. You know, you’re making a great point about honoring an artist like Rosetta Tharpe. Without these pioneers, there wouldn’t be rock & roll in the first place!

        Ultimately, the name Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is just name. While I suppose without any criteria it would be difficult to decide where to start, perhaps it really should be about the contribution an artist made to modern music, less whether they are a perfect fit to a genre.

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  4. “If there’s passion on this topic, it ain’t happening here.”

    I’d give you passion on the whole idea of a “hall of fame” for music, Jim. But discretion is the better part of valor.

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    1. You’re free to say anything you want on the topic, Pete. Whose feelings are you hoping to protect? Mine? The Hall’s? Who gives a shit? I dont know one single rock and roll fan who isn’t at least indifferent if not outright hostile to the place. We all know it’s fucked in many ways. Let it rip, I say.

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      1. Ha! I did a two-part piece on the hallowed Hall a while ago (feel free to visit!). I like that certain musicians who were once ignored (though not enough) can receive belated recognition. I’m also happy that Cleveland has a nice museum it can be proud of. And it’s fun to debate who’s deserving and who isn’t. But beyond that… Let’s just say I think that, after Pink Floyd was inducted, Syd Barrett (R.I.P.) did the right thing by remaining in his flower garden!

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        1. Heh-heh. You didn’t strike me as the shrinking violet type. I will definitely check out your take on that as soon as I can get free from some pesky work.

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        2. I went and read your articles. Very interesting take on it. One day I’ll write a “My Thoughts on the Concept of a R&R Hall of Fame” post but I don’t have the zeal for it at the moment. But my feeling is, hey, it’s there so I’ll enjoy playing the game, flawed though it may be. I take it with a grain of salt. But over and above whether it should exist at all, it’s no different in some ways than Cooperstown. Do you let Pete Rose in? The steroid guys? Big Papi who had a positive but we don’t know why? Questions for the ages.

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        3. It’s fun to debate this stuff, if nothing else. I see a major difference from the baseball Hall, however. Sports HoFs can rely on a player’s statistics as a determinant. But rock music is an art form (albeit a “lower” art form). There are no stats, unless you consider record sales, but such popularity metrics are already covered by the Billboard and Grammy awards. The rock HoF is supposed to be about aesthetic value. But who determines this? An industry exec whose only concern is hits? An aging critic who got laid to a Little Eva song? It’s like having a Hall of Fame for painters. “Ok, we’ll let Keith Haring in, but LeRoi Neiman has to wait.” It’s absolute silliness. And at the rate they’re inducting, the “fame” idea loses all meaning when everyone and their brother is in. A museum? Fine (although, like Steve Jones says, once they put you in a museum, rock ‘n’ roll is over). But this whole induction crap is… well… crap. In my not-so-shrinking-violet opinion! 🙂

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        4. Yeah, it’s hardly a debate in the true sense is that we are not that far apart in opinion. The only difference is I’ll still detail who “should” get in ‘coz it’s fun. (But I also, truthfully, like to see bands who have slogged get in anyway. So I can simultaneously hold the opinion that it’s crap, vote anyway.) True enough about baseball. But the Pete Rose and steroid controversies rage and so there is a certain level of subjectivity. BTW, I’m not so sure I’d pay any attention to anything any of the Sex Pistols said ever. Or said better, Steve Jones is no more an authority than you, me or for that matter, Jann Wenner.

          All that said, we can agree that the Hall is somewhat fucked. However if you can separate the flawed voting process from the museum, I heartily recommend going there. We went a couple of years ago and it was just cool to see/hear all this stuff we love in one place.

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  5. Sister Rosetta Tharpe: From Gospel to rock and roll (years before Ray Charles, Sam Cooke or Little Richard)
    Link Wray: Rumble. Enough said
    The Meters. Funk classics, wild tchoupitoulas…

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  6. I would agree with you in terms of my likability towards Bon Jovi, but he’ll definitely get inducted because of his fan base, but overall there are some great artists in this bunch. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Yeah, they’ll get in. And you know, it really doesn’t matter to me. It’s not like the HOF is my own personal thing. They’ve not to my taste but so be it. Thanks.

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