Rock Hall Nominees: We Feel Alright


Stooges, meet ABBA.
ABBA, meet Jimmy Cliff. Jimmy, meet Laura Nyro. Laura, meet Phil Collins… oops…


By Fred Mills


“The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame,” writes BLURT contributor
Chris Parker
in the fall issue of BLURT, “is a once interesting idea that long ago lost its luster-or, for
that matter, its credibility. You’d have to visit post-war Iraq to find a plan with a more
muddled sense of purpose. Beset by cronyism, stylistic blinders and a
self-aggrandizing sense of entitlement, the Rock Hall’s become a sad, little
side show with less continuing relevance to the music world at large than the Pet Rock.
In April the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted Jeff Beck, Little Anthony
& the Imperials, Metallica, Run-DMC, Bobby Womack, Wanda Jackson, Bill
Black, DJ Fontana and Spooner Oldham. Meanwhile obviously deserving and
influential artists including The Stooges, Kraftwerk, Tom Waits, and Joy
Division wait on the sidelines. Entire genres such as Prog Rock, Power Pop, and
American Hardcore are all but ignored by the cloistered self-congratulatory
backslappers that comprise the nominating committee. Shedding credibility like
contestants on The Biggest Loser shed pounds, the entire endeavor needs to be
taken out back and put out of its misery.”


Ouch. Apparently the Rock Hall has taken Parker’s
editorializing to heart, because the latest nominees, announced yesterday, show
a striking uptick in, dare we say it, rock
and roll-ness
. Get a look at the new list:


The Chantels
Jimmy Cliff
The Hollies
LL Cool J
Darlene Love
Laura Nyro
Red Hot Chili Peppers
The Stooges
Donna Summer


Roughly 500 voters (musicians, industry pros, etc.) will be
casting their chits, from which 5 of the 12 nominee will be chosen for
induction at the Rock Hall’s 25th event held March 15 at NYC’s
Waldorf Astoria Hotel. Will this finally be the year of the Stooges? Smart
money says that the voters will no longer be able to ignore Iggy & Co.,
given the lumps the Rock Hall took this year about the Stooges following
guitarist Ron Asheton’s death. As far as the others are concerned, there’s no
question that oldies like the Hollies, Darlene Love and the Chantels are deserving
of recognition, and say what you will about Genesis or Laura Nyro, but both
artists created some genuinely groundbreaking music early on. KISS’ bonafides
are unimpeachable; it’s not like Gene Simmons is being nominated separately or
anything. ABBA and Donna Summer? Pop, but still pop with panache. Jimmy Cliff
has loads of cred, and we can even stomach the Chili Peppers on occasion. LL
Cool J’s presence on the ballot is sure to generate the usual hip-hop-ain’t-rock
commentary, but our prediction is that in the Obama era, that kind of talk will
likely be tamped down to a degree.


So is this a shameless, too-little-too-late grab for
credibility on the part of the Rock Hall? An instance of some of the dinosaurs
and industry insiders on the nominating committee finally dying out to make way
for fresh blood? Or just a fluke? It’s probably the latter, but for now, we’ll
just quote the Stooges and wait for March to arrive. I feel aw-right……..!






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