"F" The Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame (No, I am Not Bitter at All)
My (Bad) History With The Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame
I plan to cover this much more in my first "I Hate Radio" Podcast (still learning how to do everything, should be coming soon). But, I started, in my own small way, trying to push for a more thoughtful Hall of Fame after the induction of Green Day several years ago.
Since then, my agenda has been to get (in order of priority):
Into the "hallowed" Rock Hall.
As you probably noticed, so far, I have failed miserably.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Class of 2017
So, this year looked so promising when the nominations were released, Kraftwerk and Bad Brains were both nominated along with MC5 (should be a no-brainer), Depeche Mode and The Cars. I should also note that Janet Jackson was also nominated (and as I have said before deserves to get in).
But, as we have now been told, the 2017 class will include:
and Joan Baez
It is a "safe" list (aside from Tupac). I love ELO, I sometimes love Pearl Jam (depends on the day), and Joan Baez clearly should be in. Journey's pop songwriting chops and appeal across generations (and Steve's voice) are iconic (not really my thing but I get it).
I am going to get pilloried for this, but I don't really get the inclusion of YES (but I am sure this will only anger Prog fans who feel they don't have enough representation in the Hall as it is). Not my cup of tea, but that is okay.
Just such a sanitized list of rock artists who don't really ROCK (Tupac aside).
This is a list of inductees for the people who think that rock means having thousands of people swaying together in the dark holding their lighters up high in an arena (not in a packed hole-in-the-wall club on the seedy side of town).
This is a safety dance list, a Maroon 5 list.
My beef is not really, I guess, with including any of these bands/artists (even Yes) but I have a larger question....
How the F have YES or Pearl Jam or anyone but maybe Baez been more influential on the evolution of music than Kraftwerk?
The criteria for inclusion (Ironically presented under a Green Day pic to twist the knife) are:
“Artists—a group encompassing performers, composers, and/or musicians—become eligible for induction 25 years after the release of their first record. Besides demonstrating unquestionable musical excellence and talent, inductees will have had a significant impact on the development, evolution and preservation of rock & roll.”
To be 100% with you, modern music sounds MUCH more like Kraftwerk than it does like any of these bands and KW has been around since 1970. Kraftwerk was essential in the beginnings of hip-hop and electronic music and also to adapting and popularizing the technology used in making most of the music produced today.
And WTF on MC5? I have no words for that one.
Also, and here is my plea for future consideration for Bad Brains, how many other all-black punk bands were destroying stages before Bad Brains (Detroit's "Death" is the only one I can think of and Living Color came later and Fishbone was also later and more ska-influenced)?
And how does Janet Jackson not get in for two years in a row? I am not a huge fan, but I suspect that MILLIONS of kids started to love music because of Janet. She was, at her height, a bigger and more influential star than the rest of the list combined I suspect (worldwide appeal).
Here is how Timm Sommer put it in his excellent Observer article:
"I realize now that this is why I sought out the other side if the story; the side behind Rolling Stone or WPLJ’s endless recitation of the glories of Ronstadt and the Rolling Stones, the Eagles and the Beatles, Jimmy Buffett and James Taylor. Rock ’n’ roll actually means something; it gives hope, it tells stories, it speaks for victims, it points out accusers."
"Often, even our most garish, drugged and drunken souls are implicitly political, because the first time we screamed that we were lovers of the Dolls or the Doors or KISS was the first time we took a stand that we knew would piss someone off. Soon, we would be willing to take a stand about how we love, or how we defend our bodies and our choices. Before we learned to care, rock ’n’ roll gave us an opinion to care about. No one ever came out of the closet because they saw Paul Simon or Tom Petty on the cover of a magazine. No one ever got spat at because they loved the Cars. No one decided to move to New York City and discover the nightworlds because Don Henley smirked from a newsstand. Rock ’n’ Roll was often the first station on our voyage of discovery, dissent, and happiness. So let’s tell the whole story."
Rock and Roll means a lot more to many of us than who sold the most records, it stands for the music of the outsiders and protesters.
It is the music of burning down the house while standing quietly in a corner (David Byrne).
I will quit ranting now. But I am still pretty grumpy.
Who do you think has been snubbed?
What would be your dream RARHOF class?
Let me know what you think, leave a comment!