The 8 Ball 04.09.12: Top 8 Acts That Should Be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Posted by Jeremy Thomas on 04.09.2012
From Kiss and the Cure to Joy Division, Quincy Jones, Deep Purple and more, 411's Jeremy Thomas counts down his list of the top 8 acts that should be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame!
Welcome, one and all, to the 8 Ball in the Music Zone! I'm your host Jeremy Thomas and I am taking over from the great Wyatt E., who had a great run with the column before stepping away after last week to focus on other affairs. I'll do my best to hold up to his high level of quality as I tackle topics and provide you the top eight selections of that particular category. Keep in mind that this list is meant to be my personal opinion and not a definitive list. You're free to disagree; you can even say my list is wrong, but stating that an opinion is "wrong" is just silly. With that in mind, let's get right in to it!
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Top 8 Acts That Should Be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
This coming weekend is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony in Cleveland, Ohio, which will see Guns N' Roses, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Donovan, Laura Nyro, The Small Faces/Faces, Beastie Boys, The Crickets, The Famous Flames, The Midnighters, The Comets, The Blue Caps, The Miracles, Freddie King, Don Kirshner, Cosimo Matassa, Tom Dowd and Glyn Johns join past inductees in rock immortality. Every year when the Hall of Fame nominees are announced it almost feels like more fans are interested in who got snubbed than who got in (the same thing happens with award shows, incidentally). There are some legendary acts who left enormous impact on music who have not yet seen their due for various reasons. With that in mind, I thought for my inaugural column I would take a look at the acts who I believe most deserve to be in the Hall of Fame but are not.
Caveat: The criteria were easy for this one: an act had to be eligible for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame but (obviously) not yet be in it. For those unfamiliar with the eligibility requirements, it's simple: it has to be twenty-five years since an act's first album. That leaves the following out, among many others: Nirvana, Morrissey, Nine Inch Nails, Green Day, 2Pac, Notorious B.I.G., Pearl Jam, Tori Amos, Radiohead, Rage Against the Machine, Oasis, Jay-Z and Eminem. I also tried to leave artists off who have been inducted in other incarnations (the biggest example being Tina Turner, who was inducted as part of Ike and Tina).
Just Missing The Cut
Depeche Mode, Peter Frampton, Lou Reed
#8: The Smiths
Year of Eligibility: 2008
The Smiths are probably not the first band that would come to most peoples' minds when thinking of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame material, mainly if those people live in the United States. During the time they were together from 1982 to 1987 they had a fairly limited amount of commercial success outside of the United Kingdom and none of their songs even charted above #10 in the UK. However, there is a strong argument to be made for the legacy of an artist eclipsing their commercial success, and it's one I firmly believe in. That being the case, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the Morrissey-fronted band deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. The group was probably the most influential guitar-driven group of the 1980s and their body of work provided a huge contribution to the legacy that would give rise to alternative music in the US, not to mention the Britpop bands in the UK such as Blur and Oasis. You'll be seeing these guys mentioned from me again this week, but for this list I certainly think they deserve to make it into the Hall someday.
#7: Deep Purple
Year of Eligibility: 1993
Deep Purple is often unjustly forgotten when the great rock bands of the late '60s and early '70s are mentioned. People mention Led Zeppelin and of course Black Sabbath when discussing the innovators of hard rock and heavy metal but for some reason Deep Purple get left behind. I think that's got something to do with why the group hasn't followed their fellow innovators into the Hall. The group certainly has the pedigree and discography, with watershed albums like In Rock, Machine Head, the latter of which gave us one of the greatest and most recognizable rock songs of its nascent period (and possibly of all-time) in "Smoke on the Water." The band has been nominated previously but never garnered the amount of votes needed to get in. It's conceivable that the band's deminished influence following their reunion and subsequent revolving door of lineup changes from 1984 through 1993 has their chances, but I think Toto guitarist Steve Lukather said it best: "they put Patti Smith in there but not Deep Purple? What's the first song every kid learns how to play? (That song being "Smoke On The Water") And they're not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?" Indeed.
#6: The Cure
Year of Eligibility: 2003
The Cure gets a bad rap by some for being more pop-oriented than a lot of people like in their Hall of Fame-worthy bands. The band is also associated with many lesser bands for influencing emo-oriented groups and Robert Smith's famous strung out-looking image sometimes overshadows the band's greatness. However, their greatness cannot be denied. They were one of the first real alternative rock success stories, becoming an international phenomenon with albums like Pornography, Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me and Disintegration. The band's multitude of hits include "Boys Don't Cry," "Close to Me," "Just Like Heaven," "Pictures of You" and "Love Song," all of which became beloved tracks for legions of fans. They became a strong influence on the gothic rock movement and they've become firmly embedded within the consciousness of pop culture. And where many of their contemporaries have more or less faded from the music scene, the band continues on under Smith's leadership with their fourteenth studio currently being worked on. They have the longevity, the popularity, the critical acclaim and the iconic status that all factor into their eventual induction into the Hall.
Year of Eligibility: 2001
To me, Heart is an example of how women in rock have been unfairly treated. The band is one of the most commercially-enduring bands of the last forty years, with a library of instantly-recognizable hits and a floor of critical recognition and yet they have not yet made it in. Indeed, they were only nominated for the first time last year despite being eligible for the last eleven. Few other acts, if any, can say that they've had top ten albums in almost every decade since the 1970s. They've sold over 30 million albums worldwide and almost everyone knows at least one Heart song, no matter what your age. Nancy and Ann Wilson have shown an incredibly resilience and flexibility in an industry that is quick to toss classic bands aside in favor of newer flavors, especially where women are concerned. What's more, they've been incredibly influential not only to women in rock music, whom all without exception owe a debt to the band, but to Seattle's music scene and songwriting in general. Without Heart the rock music scene would be a very different one, and not for the better. That alone warrants their inclusion into the Hall of Fame.
#4: Joy Division
Year of Eligibility: 2003
The only possible reason I can see people not wanting to include Joy Division into the Hall of Fame is their short run as a band. The band was only active for four years from 1976 through 1980 and released two studio albums, Unknown Pleasures and Closer as well as the EP An Ideal for Living. In that short amount of time however the band, led by Ian Curtis, created a lasting impact that forever changed the state of rock music. They more or less created the post-punk movement by taking the genre into a direction away from frenetic aggression into a more emotive, moody expressionism. There wouldn't be enough space in this column to list the number of bands who have described the group as a major influence and inspiration. Where The Cure was the first alternative music phenomenon, Joy Division laid the groundwork for a much more expansive alt-rock style. Some might prefer that New Order, the group made of the band members after Curtis' suicide, be inducted because of their greater longevity but for me it's just not quite the same level of greatness that Joy Division reached.
#3: Quincy Jones
Year of Eligibility: 1986
I can certainly see arguments for any of the above not being inducted for one reason or another. From here on down, I really don't see any excuse. That Quincy Jones hasn't been inducted despite being eligible since the Hall of Fame's inception is practically criminal. Sure, you can argue that his recording career doesn't necessarily deserve inclusion but as a producer and one of the leading creative forces in the shape of music over the last half a century, his place simply cannot be denied. He has worked with everyone fron Frank Sinatra and Aretha Franklin to Ray Charles, Ella Fitzgerald and Sammy Davis Jr...and that was before he produced one of the greatest and best-selling albums of all-time in Michael Jackson's Thriller. He would also produce Jackson's Bad and Donna Summer's self-titled comeback album in 1982. His five-decade career has seen him earn an astounding seventy-nine Grammy Award nominations, a record, and he's second only to opera conductor Georg Solti in wins at twenty-seven. He also has six Academy Award nominations for his musical work (I did not include his nomination for Best Picture for The Color Purple as it doesn't involve his musical career), the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Academy Award and a host of other major awards. Jones absolutely deserves a place in the hall as a non-performer without question, and his performing work is just icing on the cake
Year of Eligibility: 1999
This is another of those no-brainers. There are few bands as world-renowed as Kiss who have been denied a spot in the Hall of Fame for the first five years of their eligibility, much less thirteen years after they became eligible. Kiss is one of the most successful and popular American rock bands in history and many point to their constant exclusion from the Hall of Fame as a strike against the institution's legitimacy. Why, you ask, is Kiss not in the Hall of Fame when their influence, success and legacy are pretty much undisputed? Let's ask Hall of Fame nominating committee member Dave Marsh. Dave fully admitted to MTV in 2005 his thoughts on the band, stating, "Kiss is not a great band, Kiss was never a great band, Kiss never will be a great band, and I have done my share to keep them off the ballot." Pause for a moment. Let that sink in. Now ask yourselves why the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has problems with legitimacy issues. It's okay for a guy like March to not personally feel like Kiss is Hall of Fame-worthy, but doesn't that sound a little sinister to you? It's no wonder that Paul Stanley called the Hall of Fame a sham (exact words) in a 2006 interview. The fact remains, despite whatever Mr. Marsh's personal tastes (and to his credit, in that interview he admits that it's about personal taste), that the band is one of the most enduring groups in rock music and deserve to be inducted. There's nothing more than needs to be said.
Year of Eligibility: 1998
Rush is part of the single-most puzzling slight that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has: it's anti-progressive rock bias. The Moody Blues, Yes and Electric Light Orchestra are three other bands who have been unable to crack the Hall of Fame's elite and Styx has been eligible since 1997 without so much as a hint that they might be considered, but none of them ring so strongly of snubbing than the fact that the Canadian rockers known for such songs as "Working Man" and "Tom Sawyer" have ever even been nominated. Every year it seems to be a ritual; the new nominees are announced in September and music critics already have their fingers poised to blast the nomination committee for excluding Rush. Why does the Hall hate prog rock? Does it consider the genre too pretentious? Is it too intellectual? Or just not the nominating committe's taste of genre? Whatever the reason, it seems asinine to many (myself included) that the group isn't even presented to the voters. I can be disappointed but understanding if they aren't given the final vote. At least they were presented to the voting body for consideration. But consider this: this year nominees who didn't get voted in include War, Donna Summers and Rufus with Chaka Khan. All worthy nominees some day, perhaps. But worthy of consideration for the Hall ahead of Rush? Hell no. It's the single-biggest snub from the Hall of Fame as it stands and will remain so until they're given their due.
CRAZY GALLAGHER QUOTE OF THE WEEK
"I'm just stood at some traffic lights waiting to cross the street when some guy slopes up to me... 'Hey man I don't mean to disrespect you', [now that usually means you're about to be disrespected] but you do realise you got a little 80s thing going on with your hair there? You look like that... who was that motherfucker producer who shot that bitch in the face? 'Phil Spector! You look like Phil Spector!' Seriously that just happened to me. I fucking love America."
- Noel describes his recent close encounter with notoriety in the US.
This being my first edition of the column, I have no comments to correspond with. Next week!
And that will do it for us this week! Join me next week for another edition of the 8-Ball! Until then, have a good week and don't forget to read the many other great columns, news articles and more here at 411mania.com! JT out.