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The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?

October 19, 2014

Yes, there is a question mark at the end of the title of this blog entry. Once again, the Rockhall selection committee has deliberated and a list of 15 nominees are up for consideration to be members of the Class of 2015. In no particular order, the acts are: Green Day, Nine Inch Nails, N.W.A., Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Lou Reed, The Smiths, The Spinners, Sting, Chic, Kraftwerk, The Marvelettes, Bill Withers, War, Stevie Ray Vaughan and the Paul Butterfield Blues Band.

As a fan of several genres of music, for me to call this list underwhelming and laughable would be an egregious understatement. In my opinion, only three of these acts are worthy of enshrinement, at this time. The rest have no business being considered until other performers/groups are in.

The late Stevie Ray Vaughan has been eligible since 2008, pursuant to the Rockhall’s 25-year rule. His first release, “Texas Flood”, dropped in 1983. How it took the committee six years to nominate SRV baffles the mind. He should have been member of the Class of 2009.

Meanwhile, N.W.A. is, by many accounts, the most influential and important group in the history of rap music. Whether or not you, the kind reader, likes rap, the boys from Compton made an indelible mark on the history of contemporary hit music.

Sting:  Mr. Gordon Sumner should be in as a solo artist. His resumé speaks for itself

That ends the kindness regarding the nominees, I’ll keep the individual criticisms as brief as possible.

Green Day: maybe some day. There are too many acts excluded from the Rockhall that deserve a spot in Cleveland before Billie Joe Armstrong and the top group from the Berkeley punk scene.

Nine Inch Nails: Trent Reznor’s music is tough for many to listen to, let alone garner airplay. He’s as brilliant as they come, but give his eligibility more time to breathe.

Joan Jett and the Blackhearts: Oh, please. Three top-10 songs (one of them a cover) and, of her 14 studio albums, only two were certified platinum by the RIAA. This could be the biggest laugher in Rockhall nomination history.

Lou Reed: His untimely passing last year foretold this nomination. While the unwashed masses, probably, know only one of his solo efforts, he was far more influential as a member of The Velvet Underground.

The Smiths: While Morrissey and the gang were, truly, influential in the early 80’s indie scene, this is a true hipster pick.

The Spinners: If longevity is a prerequisite, the beloved Detroit-based R&B group is a shoe-in. 12 top-20 hits are a nice achievement, but it’s not a lock for induction, as evidenced by numerous acts. I do hope they get in before Henry Fambrough, the last remaining original member, passes from this mortal coil.

Chic: Nile Rodgers is a genius. However, the disco group managed, only, four top-10 hits and two platinum albums. The talented group should be a charter member of the fictitious Disco Hall of Fame, but the Rockhall is a stretch.

Kraftwerk: This German electronic group is, truly, revolutionary. With that being said, the nomination is a head-scratchier with so many other acts eligible. Obviously, another hipster pick (for over-50 hipsters).

The Marvelettes: This talented quartet from Michigan suffered from the fact that they, usually, went head-to-head with The Supremes for attention and fans. A half-dozen top-20 hits doesn’t strengthen their case, but the ladies should be voted in, some day.

Bill Withers: Eligible since 1996, the Navy vet has four memorable singles. Unfortunately, those were the only efforts that broke the top-20. If, in the future, Bill is voted in, I won’t complain.

War: I have no idea how these guys were nominated.

Paul Butterfield Blues Band: This legendary Chicago blues band has been nominated several times for enshrinement to no avail. Unfortunately, cool doesn’t, necessarily, get you in the Rockhall.

Anyone who knows anything about music realizes that the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame selection process is a joke. For example, what do these acts: Pat Benatar, Johnny Rivers, The Doobie Brothers, Joe Cocker, ELO, Foreigner, Journey, Steve Miller, Deep Purple, Bad Company, Def Leppard, The Cars, The Moody Blues, Chicago and Three Dog Night have in common? None are in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The fact that none of these acts are nominated for next year’s class is a travesty. Like them or not, they are all more deserved than 80 percent of this year’s nominees.

What do you expect out of a bunch of ass-kissing, hipster politicos?

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