Rock and Roll Hall Calls. Should We Pick Up?


The nominees for this year's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame class were announced last night and there's not a single Willie Mays in the bunch. More like a bunch of Orlando Cepedas. The biggest names are hard rock merchandising kings KISS (nominated after a decade of eligibility), Swedish pop icons ABBA, prog-rockers Genesis and punk/funk/inappropriately-worn-sock enthusiasts Red Hot Chili Peppers. Also nominated: Donna Summer, LL Cool J, the Hollies, the Stooges (yet again), Darlene Love, Jimmy Cliff, Laura Nyro and the Chantels.

The usual questions persist: Is is Rock and Roll or just music in general? Do they have really have to induct five acts every year? When AC/DC, Elvis Costello, the Righteous Brothers, the Clash and the Police are the five acts that get in (as in 2003) it's not an issue. A class like 2009 could dilute things ... but really, who cares? So who should get the call from the Hall?

(More after the jump.)

First let's eliminate some. Genesis? Sorry. Can't let that happen. LL Cool J? "Around the Way Girl" was the jam in fifth grade, but his presence in those horrible DirecTV ads I see 83 times each Sunday cancels that out. The Chantels? Not famous enough. The Stooges? Obviously deserving, but they want no part of your Hall of Fame anymore. At least that's what the late Ron Asheton told me last August. (" If we don't get it next year, we don't go in, we're not going in. I mean, what is it, five-time losers? I mean, if we don't make it this time ... And you know what? It won't break my heart. As everyone else says, it's not going to better your career. It'd be nice, but I'm not going to be heartbroken. And we kind of wear it as a badge of honor that we've been turned down.") The Hollies? Sort of like Harold Baines. Solid, long-lasting, but just not remarkable often enough while many peers were. Laura Nyro? Nah.

So that leaves KISS, ABBA, RHCP, Donna Summer, Darlene Love and Jimmy Cliff. One of them gets cut. Darlene Love gets in if only on the strength of her annual "Letterman" Christmas performances. Jimmy Cliff gets in for "The Harder They Fall." Donna Summer gets in because of all the hilarious drunk dancing I've seen at bar and bat mitzvahs while "Last Dance" gets played. ABBA gets in because, let's face it, they have more great songs than the rest of those acts combined, right? So it comes down to KISS and the Chili Peppers. On second thought, let's throw the Stooges in there, regardless of whether they want in or not, and let Gene and Flea wait another year. Or 10.

By David Malitz |  September 23, 2009; 12:06 PM ET Hall of Fame
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I vote for "Our Band Could Be Your Life" ticket: Black Flag, Sonic Youth, Husker Du, the Replacements, and Mission of Burma.

The lack of '80s rock and roll bands on the nomination list is disappointing. At least the E Street Band should finally receive its overdue nomination in 2011.

Posted by: Miles_Standish_Proud | September 23, 2009 1:00 PM

To dismiss Genesis is status quo for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which has yet to acknowledge a single progressive rock band aside from Pink Floyd. Some would even argue that without the commercial success of The Wall and Dark Side, Floyd would be sitting on the sideline as well.

For those who haven't noticed, prog-rock is what is keeping rock and roll relevant today. Pretty much every rock band spawned in the past 10 years has some roots in prog rock. From Fallout Boy to Arcade Fire to AFI to Lacuna Coil to Muse to Franz Ferdinand, they all are starting to exploit their prog rock roots with synths screaming over the vocals and extended solos that are clocking some tracks in excess of six minutes.

The fact that artists like Madonna, Dusty Springfield, and Del Shannon are in the RnRHoF is just ludicrous when artists like Yes, Jethro Tull, Genesis, The Moody Blues, Emerson Lake and Palmer, King Crimson, and Rush are shut out. It's been clear for years that Jann Wenner despises progressive rock, and practically refuses to accept its existence in his museum. There are a total of 4 non-Pink Floyd progressive rock songs that are considered as the "500 Most Influential Rock Songs of All Time."

I'm all for Kiss being included in the HoF, and I'm not even remotely a member of the Army, but to exclude one of the most commercially successful progressive rock bands in history is absolutely ridiculous. It's also pretty ridiculous that Rush still has yet to make the final list of nominees despite a 35 year (and still going) career that's established them as the most successful artists in Canadian history.

Just because progressive rock songs/artists are not radio friendly, does not mean they are not worth of HoF induction.

Posted by: Russtinator | September 23, 2009 2:07 PM

i vote abba, just to see if any of the members would bother showing up to the ceremony.

Posted by: rohan3 | September 23, 2009 2:56 PM

What a lousy list! Not that one could not make a case for a couple of them without having to like them. Of course the Stooges will get ignored again, but reading the comment that Jann Wenner runs the show, I guess it figures. I guess it also explains why some great southern California bands from the 70's and 80's - Little Feat, X, The Blasters, The Cramps, and Los Lobos - aren't in. They aren't NYCentric.

Posted by: MyPostID27 | September 23, 2009 3:29 PM

I'd rather see Peter Gabriel as a solo act inducted, he should be about due, no? And to think of Phil Collins anywhere near there is sickening.

Aside from Rush continualy being snubbed you can also add Alice Cooper and Kraftwerk to the list.

As for the Chili Peppers? Ugh.

Posted by: AnotherEngine | September 23, 2009 4:07 PM

The HOF also seems biased against UK bands from the '70s and '80s. Joy Division, The Jam, The Cure, The Smiths, etc.

Posted by: Miles_Standish_Proud | September 23, 2009 4:22 PM

What's wrong with Genesis? They're pretty darn rock&roll.

It's not the greatest calls ever, but it's far from bad. KISS, RHCP, Genesis and The Stooges are all very influential bands. After that, well, the list drops pretty quick in terms of rocking. I guess The Hollies is the best of the remainders in terms of rock, no offense to Cool James.

Posted by: EricS2 | September 24, 2009 12:30 AM

Malitz, you're a dope. For somebody who writes music criticism, you're far too hung up on pop-culture saturation and your deep-end taste than the nominated bands' relevance to rock-and-roll. Sure, Genesis might have had a difficult time catching on with audiences in '71 to begin with, and even their FM radio sensibilities lent themselves criticism for attracting more commercial attention. But their evolving prog-rock arguable made the once-distant genre more palatable to the world, so by dismissing them, I feel, lessens your value as a credible music critic.

And yet your defense of born-again Disco Donna is based upon karaoke performances? Get outta town.

Posted by: saasphil | September 24, 2009 6:39 PM

Grand Funk Railroad

Blue Oyster Cult



Rolling Stone is a big dumb fashion magazine. So ultimately who care.

Posted by: ana1ana2 | September 25, 2009 3:06 PM

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