The 8 Ball 3.22.14: Top 8 Acts That Should Be in the Hall of Fame
Posted by Jeremy Thomas on 03.22.2014
From Ozzy Osbourne and Joy Division to Deep Purple, The Cure and more, 411's Jeremy Thomas counts down 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 as always, I will be tackling a topic and providing 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
Welcome to the 411 Music 8 Ball, folks! We're back for yet another week, and this week we're tackling a favorite topic of mine. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony is drawing ever closer, with the induction set for just a few weeks from now. The Hall of Fame has been all over the music news as of late and answering a couple of questions about it in this week's Music Fact or Fiction got me thinking about it strongly. The Hall of Fame is often more memorable for people looking at groups who have been left out than the groups who have been inducted, and while several notable snubs have been inducted in recent years (KISS and Rush, most notably) there are still many legendary acts who left enormous impact on music but have not yet seen their due. That brings us to this week, where I take a look at the acts who 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 not yet be in it. The requirement for eligibility is two-fold:
1. It has to have been 25 years since their first major record/LP/Single (thus, 1989 and forward)
2. Their worthiness is judged (in theory) on the influence and significance of the artists' contributions to the development and perpetuation of popular music.
That first requiement leaves the following out, among many others: Nine Inch Nails, Green Day, 2Pac, Notorious B.I.G., Pearl Jam, Tori Amos, Radiohead, Rage Against the Machine, Oasis, Jay-Z and Eminem. People who have been reading my columns for years may remember that this is a topic I have covered before; in fact it was my first 8 Ball topic back in 2012. Since then though, half the acts on my list have been inducted so I feel it's pretty safe to redo it without it just being a direct re-posting.
Just Missing The Cut
• T. Rex
• Steve Miller Band
• New York Dolls
• Depeche Mode
#8: John Coltrane
Year of Eligibility: 1981
There are people who may scoff at the idea of John Coltrane being in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame because, frankly, he wasn't a rock artist. There is a prevalent argument out there that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame dilutes itself when it inducts performers from pop, rap, R&B, country, jazz and other genres. However, if you look up at the eligibility requirements you will see that it doesn't specfically state rock music, but rather "the development and perpetuation of popular music." Rock and roll and rock are not exactly the same thing; rock and roll is the is the music genre that arose from blues, gospel and jazz in the 1940s and '50s. It is from Rock & Roll that pop, rock and R&B developed, while rock music is what we traditionally think of with groups like Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones and such. This is why acts like Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, Madonna and even rap groups have been inducted. So with that in mind, Coltrane's lack of an induction is staggering. He absolutely revolutionized jazz music, which was (as just mentioned) where rock and roll came from, and countless acts both within rock and roll and without have been inspired and influenced by his pioneering work in the genre. I would have sadly considered Coltrane a long shot before 2006, but the induction of jazz legend Miles Davis that year gives me hope. Coltrane really does need to get in.
#7: Ozzy Osbourne
Year of Eligibility: 2005
Ozzy Osbourne, it may shock you to realize, is not yet in the Hall of Fame as a solo artist. Some may consider that a moot point when you consider that he was (of course) inducted as part of Black Sabbath in 2006. But there are some acts who simply deserve to go in as solo acts as well, and Ozzy is clearly one of the strongest cases for that. Osbourne paved the way for metal solo acts in a way that hadn't been done before him, carving out a new niche for himself and shooting his way even further into rock iconography than had been previously imaginable for him. Many acts have been inducted individually after being honored as part of a group such as Michael Jackson, Peter Gabriel, all of the Beatles except Ringo, Curtis Mayfield and Paul Simon. A common charge leveled at the Hall is that there is a bias against hard rock and metal (hence why it took ten years for Sabbath to get in) and when you look at that list of solo artists who have been inducted, it doesn't seem to make sense that Ozzy isn't among them. Perhaps they have been turned off by his increasingly doddering demeanor over the years but that takes nothing away from his impact on popular music as a solo artist.
Year of Eligibility: 1994
One of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's most glaring biases over the years has been its disdain of progressive rock. Until Rush was inducted last year there was only one prog rock band who had ever made it in, and that was the impossible-to-deny Pink Floyd. With Rush finally making its deserved way into the Hall, there has been an upswing in hope that this legendary rock band might receive its due. Yes' influence within the progressive rock genre is almost unmatched; the UK band has influenced countless acts and while (like most rock innovators) it didn't have the chart success of other bands, it did find its way into mainstream recognition with hits like "Owner of a Lonely Heart" and its 1980s albums. The band has gone through many lineup changes throughout the years, but that shouldn't hurt them and their impact on popular music has been absolutely undeniable. The good news is that they were finally nominated this past year and while they didn't make the cut, it gives hope that they may finally be able to acheive the honor in the next year or two.
#5: Lou Reed
Year of Eligibility: 1997
Call it a sympathy pick due to his death late last year, but that's not what this is at all. Lou Reed is one of those artists who, like Yes, didn't have a huge amount of commercial success without whose influence popular music today would be entirely different. Reed is hindered by the fact that he was inducted as part of Velvet Underground, but his accomplishments on his own are actually more deserving in my mind. Sure, he had some bad albums (Metal Machine Music and Lulu, anyone?) but the vast, vast majority of his solo work was exceptional. He was a nearly-unmatched songwriter and while he was legendary for being a difficult interview, his charisma and status as one of art rock's greatest solo men are not things you can really argue against with a lot of backing. Transformer alone inspired more future rock stars than we can even quantify and his legacy speaks for itself. One day Reed will be a solo member of the Hall and every year that he has not been inducted until then is a travesty.
#4: 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. There's always a chance that Morrissey will make it in on his own before the group and while it's possible, it would be unfortunate because the entire group deserves their due.
#3: 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.
#2: 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.
#1: 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 twice now 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.
MUSIC VIDEO A-GO-GO
This week's Music Video A-Go-Go is dedicated to one of the bands from my previous list which finally made it in this year. Here is the one and only KISS with "Shout It Out Loud":
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.