I saw a Tweet the other day that indicated if I wanted to vote for a particular band to enter the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (Hall), I should click the link and vote. I did. As I started going through the nominees for the 2017 class, I realized again that the Hall needs to change its name. Maybe it should be called the “We Have to Put These Folks in So Folks Will Wonder Why We Have Them Hall of Fame”. Maybe it should be the “Folks Who Impacted Music (Good or Bad) Hall of Fame.”
Either title would work. The first class was inducted into the Hall in 1986 with the actual Hall itself opening in September of 1995. Hats off to the Hall for having different induction categories – performer, early influence, sidemen, and non-performer. Of the 310 inductees, 209 are in the performer category.
The early classes were filled with you would expect – Led Zeppelin, Buddy Holly, Ike & Tina Turner, blues performers, and some R&B folks. Then the crack developed in what I will call the Rock Wall during the 1997 class – the Bee Gees. Yes, the high pitched harmonies that reverberated throughout discos was in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Huh? While they sold more records than I will ever have dollars, they weren’t rock & roll by any stretch. Once this floodgate opened, then these folks were inducted:
- Bob Marley – eh, maybe.
- Donna Summer – I mean, if you are putting the Bee Gees in, might as well put the Queen of Disco in.
- Madonna – sold a bunch of records, but really didn’t change music except to bring cones to wardrobes.
- Michael Jackson – I’ve put him on a lot of lists, but rock & roll isn’t one of them.
- NWA – at first I was trying to figure out how wraslin’ fit in with rock, but then I saw a picture of NWA. Sorry guys.
Through the years, there have been some obvious ones they got right, such as Cheap Trick, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Aerosmith, Heart, KISS, the Who, and of course, Van Halen.
During the induction ceremonies, it sometimes provides an awkward situation as former members have to stand on stage with the ones they fought with or trashed in the media.
So, back to voting. I went to the website and looked over the 2017 nominees and the same holds true for this nominee class – some obvious and some head scratchers.
- Bad Brains – who?
- Chaka Khan – really?
- Chic – more R&B
- Depeche Mode – heard of them, but seriously doubt their influence.
- Electric Light Orchestra – Long line of hits and took stage sets to a new level
- J. Geils Band – not worthy in my book.
- Jane’s Addiction – heard of them, but again – what did they contribute?
- Janet Jackson – please.
- Joan Baez – folk singer. I can see it.
- Joe Tex – not sure what he did
- Journey – deserving – really set the stage for arena rock.
- Kraftwerk – during my first year of college, a guy across the hall had their album. Remember a bunch of synthesizers, etc. Don’t think that qualifies them for the Hall.
- MC5 – huh?
- Pearl Jam – yes, they probably should be there.
- Steppenwolf – no issue with the band getting in, but this might be one to watch if they make it. Bad blood between John Kay and original members.
- The Cars – different, but no problem letting them in.
- The Zombies – not familiar, but at least I’ve heard of them.
- Tupac Shakur – guess if he gets in, the whole rap wars thing would be brought up.
- Yes – yes.
You get to vote for five a day. I voted for ELO, Journey, Joan Baez, Pearl Jam, and Yes. Go to www.rockhall.com and vote.
Until next time