*Image of the Rock Hall from the internet, specifically gettyimages and is likely copyrighted
I think it was the “American Pie” guy who sang the line, “February made me quiver with every paper I’d deliver…” I never really liked that song but he’s got a point about February. I forget how hard February is as a month. Maybe that’s why it’s only 28 days (29 in the Leap Year). The holidays end (thankfully) in early January. NFL football ends in early February. And then… the grey, cold nothingness of winter. Rarely do we see any new music this early in the year as most artists prefer to release stuff for the big Christmas season. Green Day finally released Father of All… I won’t be reviewing that one… there’s enough hate and negativity out there and I don’t want to add to it by telling you the new Green Day is unlistenable crap. Oops, well, there… I’ve said it. I feared it’d go that way when I heard the first single, Green Day: New Single, “Father of All…” – Trying Something New?.
Being stuck inside with what borders on cabin fever, I’ve been able to let my mind wander. And oh does it wander. I was recently musing on the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame, or as I call it, the Rock Hall. I was watching the NFL announce their latest batch of Hall of Famers and it got me thinking about the Rock Hall in Cleveland. Ahmet Ertegun had the original idea in 1983 and they chose Cleveland in 1986 as the permanent location. I guess any institution that sticks around long enough has to open a Hall of Fame. It’s no secret to long time readers that I’m a big enough music nerd that I think the Hall of Fame is kind of, well, cool. I’ve even commented on the Rock Hall before, to express my displeasure with some of their choices, The Rock And Roll Hall of Fame 2018 Inductees: Getting It Wrong, Again. I was perhaps a bit hasty in my determination that Dire Straits was a bad choice… hindsight is 20/20.
In the early days of the Rock Hall it was easy to support the selections. It was a new thing, and all the great bands were being inducted. Chuck Berry, James Brown and Ray Charles, and Elvis were being inducted along with the Beatles, Stones, Who and Kinks. How can you argue with those selections? I’ll be the first to admit that its seems odd that a force as subversive as rock and roll would put on tuxes and induct each other into a “hall of fame.” It’s kind of what Ray Davies of the Kinks said during his induction, “Seeing everybody here tonight, it makes me realize that rock and roll has become respectable. What a bummer.” That point aside, the Rock Hall’s decisions on inductees was never terribly controversial because we could all agree Johnny Cash should be in there.
As the years have gone by, and I can’t believe it’s been 35 years since they opened the building in Cleveland, the choices have become more controversial. This year the Rock Hall is inducting Whitney Houston. Whitney was an extremely talented singer. She was indeed many things but rock and roll is not one of them. If you’re going to induct people like Whitney or Madonna, you should call it the Pop Music Hall of Fame. I’m not too hung up on hip hop artists being inducted, like this year the Notorious B.I.G. is getting in – rap has always had a rock n roll danger to it, but does Tupac belong in there beside say, Hendrix? The music styles are so incongruous, one could argue whether rap artists belong in the Hall? Smarter people than I am can make that call. I will say I’m thrilled Depeche Mode made it this year. I can even dig the Doobie Brothers and NIN. T Rex I can take or leave.
I’m such a big music nerd, the Rock Chick actually surprised me with a trip to Cleveland to see the Rock Hall. I have to say, Cleveland gets a bad rap. I thought it was a charming city and I found some great Lebanese food. The Rock Hall itself, designed by I.M. Pei no less, is a beautiful building tucked away on Cleveland’s Lake Erie shoreline, nestled next to the Indians’ and Browns’ stadiums. I had a great weekend there and absolutely loved the Rock Hall. It’s a trip every rock fan should make. Oddly it never occurred to me to rent a car and drive to Canton to see the Pro football Hall of Fame, although looking back that would have been a nice add-on to the trip.
As the Rock Hall’s choices on who to induct seem to cause more and more uproar each year – this year Tom Morello roasted the selection committee for snubbing Rage Against the Machine – I found myself listing off in my head artists who really should be in the Rock Hall but for some reason or other have not been inducted. Hard rock especially seems to get short shrift in the inductee category. I will say, Motorhead isn’t going to be on my list. I can’t stand Motorhead. There are other, very obvious choices here like the White Stripes, but I don’t think they’re eligible yet. You have to wait until 25 years after your first release. Without further adieu, the following rock acts deserve to be in the Hall… certainly before Whitney Houston anyway…
- Bad Company/Free – When Free collapsed under the weight of drug addiction and apathy, Paul Rodgers and drummer Simon Kirke formed Bad Company. I see these bands as two separate ones but ever since they inducted the Small Faces/Faces, I’ve felt they could do the same for Bad Co/Free.
- Beck – The man is simply brilliant. If he’s not eligible, he soon will be. From “Loser” to his latest hit with Cage the Elephant, “Night Running” the man always kills me.
- The Cult – The Rock Chick’s favorite band should be in the Rock Hall and I’m not saying this to schmooze the boss. They’re a great band and can be found on hard rock and alternative rock stations around the dial. Music that rocks needs to be recognized.
- Eurythmics – Annie Lennox’s wonderful vocals and Dave Stewart’s songwriting and production. These guys should be in the Hall.
- Peter Frampton – The best selling live album of all time, yes!
- J. Geils Band – I wish we’d seen these guys inducted before we lost J. Geils but what a great posthumous honor for him. I love everything these guys did before “Freeze Frame.” They were one great, slinky blues rock band. And they boast Magic Dick on harmonica.
- Jane’s Addiction – Perry Farrell invented Lollapalooza. That ought to be enough to get them in, right? Perry, Dave Navarro and company were a cornerstone to alternative rock.
- Judas Priest – It’s astounding that heavy metal gets snubbed by the Rock Hall year in and year out. It’s baffling why this enormous band is not in the Rock Hall yet.
- Lenny Kravitz – Another great artist who is definitely eligible and who definitely should be in the Hall.
- Dave Matthews Band – They were on the ballot for 2020. Here’s hoping for next year.
- John Mayall – The Bluesbreakers were such a seminal influence on blues rock in Britain. Cream and Fleetwood Mac were all formed by guys who’d met under Mayall.
- Motley Crue – These guys first five albums should be enough to seal their induction, but alas, hard rock bands get snubbed.
- Harry Nilsson – Sure he avoided fame – for his commercial breakthrough he chose a grainy picture of himself in a bathrobe… not exactly making an effort? The voice is one that should be enshrined.
- No Doubt – I don’t like anything Gwen Stefani has done solo, but oh when she was young could she rock!
- Ozzy – Yes, he’s in with Sabbath, but he should be recognized for his incredible solo career.
- Robert Plant – The same as Ozzy. Great solo career that should be recognized in it’s own right.
- Iggy Pop – It seems I have a string of these artists who are inducted with their original bands, here its the Stooges, but not their great body of solo work.
- Rage Against the Machine – They do belong and I didn’t want Morello to get mad at me too.
- Scorpions – Germany’s greatest band.
- Smashing Pumpkins – Billy Corgan is a genius. This band was enormous. And they’ve been putting out some great stuff over the last few years.
- Social Distortion – One of the inventors of CowPunk. This band has always been under appreciated.
- Soundgarden – Tragic that they weren’t inducted before Chris Cornell ended his life.
- Thin Lizzy – Also on this year’s ballot but snubbed in the end. It’s a mystery why these guys aren’t in yet.
- Joe Walsh – Already in as an Eagle, the man behind the James Gang and countless spectacular solo albums deserves to get in on his own. The riff on “Turn To Stone” should be enough for his application.
- Lucinda Williams – Rootsy and bluesy, I love her. Car Wheels On A Gravel Road alone should get her into the Rock Hall.
- Steve Winwood – Again, in with Traffic, needs to be in as a solo artist. If they’re going to induct every single Beatle, then some of these other great artists deserve to be in.
- Warren Zevon – I agree with what Letterman said, “It’s about time you invite me back here to induct my friend Warren Zevon, it’s overdue.” It’s long overdue. He was a great, great songwriter and absolutely should be in. He’s never even been on the ballot.
That’s my list folks. Heavy on solo careers of currently inducted guys, but they all still deserve to be in. I’m sure I’ve missed some favorites of yours. If so, please list them in the comments section.