Thursday, September 24, 2009

Rant #96: Hall of Shame

Kiss, LL Cool J, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Genesis, Jimmy Cliff, the Hollies, songwriter Laura Nyro, Donna Summer, Darlene Love, ABBA, the Chantels, and the Stooges have all been nominated to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

For what it is worth, this is a pretty weak class. You don’t really have any stand-out performers, and as far as “influences” — the term that the HoF uses to classify the significance of the performers who are nominated and those that get in — there really isn’t much of that here.

Personally, I would like to see the Hollies and Laura Nyro make it. I think they have made enormous contributions to rock and roll in their own way.

During their heyday, I don’t think the Hollies made a bad record. They had a substantial number of hits in the U.S. — “Bus Stop” “The Air That I Breathe,” and “Long Cool Woman In a Black Dress” among them — although they were better known in Europe and elsewhere. They featured one of the most underrated lead voices in rock, Allan Clarke, was the starting point for Graham Nash, and still tour and put out new records today, albeit with just two original members, Tony Hicks and Bobby Elliott.

And as for Nyro, although it would be a posthumous honor, I think it would be well deserved. She was the hot songwriter of the late 1960s and early 1970s, and the songs that she wrote encompassed rock, soul, pop, Tin Pan Alley and Brill Building influences. Just a short list of her biggest songs — “Eli’s Coming,” “Save the Country,” and “And When I Die” among them — should guarantee her spot, and her influence on other female singer-songwriters such as Carly Simon and even Alicia Keyes is enormous.

Since a total of five go in each year, I will have to pick three more: Darlene Love, and maybe Genesis, and after that, I really don't know. Maybe Jimmy Cliff for his reggae influence, but I don’t think he’s a lock.

Of course, as long as Jann Wenner is running the show, you can bet Kiss, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and LL Cool J will get in. Let’s not forget the Dave Clark Five fiasco, when Grandmaster Flash was substituted because Wenner wanted a rap act in. He gave in the next year, and the DC5 entered the HoF, but the bad vibes are still there.

My question: if Kiss is even nominated, how come acts like the Monkees (where Kiss learned their marketing) and Paul Revere and the Raiders (another marketing model) are not in the mix?

Oh, that's right. I forgot.

It's Jann Wenner.


  1. The only act I see here that is worthwhile is the Hollies. What is it with so many alternative and heavy metal bands? Red Hot Chili Peppers gives me a headache to be honest though I can tolerate LL Cool Jay on some of his songs. Genesis? Oh, heavens, yes! And if they're not there already Chicago should also be there. The Monkees, Paul Revere and the Raiders and other similar bands have had more influence than some of what Jan Wenner lets have a place. Let's leave personal taste out of it and let the public decide.

  2. I also want Laura Nyro to be inducted. She set the tone for all of the female singer/songwriters that followed her. Her songs were such a mix of different genres that it was hard to pigeonhole her as a rocker, a pop songstress, or anything else. The success her songs had with others is a testament to her versatility. I hope she and the Hollies get in--the rest, well, I could care less.

  3. The Rock and Roll Hall OF Fame is becoming a joke. It's the grownups bid for voting the next Prom Queen and King.

  4. The Hall of Fame has been a "prestigious joke" for many years. Until a valid voting board is named, it will never be what it should be. Jann Wenner hasn't had the least bit of credibility since the early 1970s, and he doesn't show much of anything here.



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