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Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominations: Who should get in? Who got overlooked?


I've already expounded on this year's long list of nominees for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame -- many of which have been up for the honor before. I neglected, however, to play the game every music nerd will join today: discussing who was left out, and who might be the ideal short list. Rush fans, time to speak up!

So. I am happiest about the following from this year's crop, and hope they make it:

Chic: Not just a great disco band -- a great band, period. The sound and style created by Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards set the stage for both hip hop and new wave. Donna Summer is deserving, too, but I'd go for Chic first.

Tom Waits: Sorry, King Crimson fans; Waits is the quintessential art rocker. He's a visionary without being pretentious. He has a sense of humor. And the man sure knows how to bang on a can.

Laura Nyro: Though I would have preferred to see her friends in Labelle get the nod, I support another effort to induct this important, though sometimes overlooked, singer-songwriter, who died in 1997. Nyro's own albums were complex and joyful and boundary-breaking, setting the stage for artists such as Sara Bareilles and Ben Folds. She also wrote enduring hits, including "Stoned Soul Picnic" and "Wedding Bell Blues."

LL Cool J AND the Beastie Boys: It's only been a few years since the Rock Hall began to acknowledge the overwhelming dominance of hip hop in today's culture. It's time for some catch-up. If Nirvana pioneered the hard-soft dynamic in rock (and you know that band will get in the instant it's eligible), LL did it for rap. He's an all-around entertainer who deserves the spot. And the Beasties are much more than Jewish rappers -- they fused punk and hip hop in a hugely influential way, helped define the style and practice of indie culture, and (kudos to Adam Yauch) showed how modern-day benefits should be done with the Tibetan Freedom Concerts. Like Chic and Donna Summer, these two are probably either-or, but I think they should be both-and.

Dr. John: Having recently spent some time in New Orleans, I've been reminded of that city's central role in defining American pop. Mac Rebennack is a scholar of Crescent City sounds who's taken its traditions into utterly unexpected places. In recent years, he's become a powerful spokesperson for the region, from the post-Katrina Ninth Ward to the oil-soaked Gulf.

Neil Diamond: My love for the Borscht Belt Elvis is on the record.

And who was left out?

Labelle: This trio of amazing women has journeyed from the girl group era through classic rock, funk, disco, quiet storm and contemporary soul; and as anyone who saw Labelle's recent tour can attest, Patti still hits the high notes, Sarah is swellegant, and Nona can still shake her tail feathers. So wrongly overlooked.

Kate Bush: The godmother of New Wave, a pioneer of electronic music and the definitive artist of what I call "ultrafemme" pop, this thorny English rose is probably too reclusive to ever make it into the Rock Hall's party crowd. But with artists like Maxwell and Big Boi speaking up for her, Bush is ripe for reevaluation.

Frank Sinatra: I have been reading James Kaplan's hefty new biography of Ol' Blue Eyes, and it makes a strong case for Sinatra as Elvis before Elvis, and fab before the Beatles. Sinatra was initially no friend to rock -- he once called it "brutal" and "ugly" -- but he recorded songs by both. If we're revising pop history, we might as well recognize that his artfully confrontational, frankly sexy style created the context for those other history-making acts. Heck, there's already a Facebook group devoted to getting him nominated.

The Mekons: Ha ha ha ha! Just kidding. In my dream world, maybe. The greatest punk band you might have never heard of is pretty much destined to stay on the margins. Um, how about Gang of Four?

Now it's your turn, pop fanatics. Who should get in the Hall this time around? Who hasn't gotten the nod yet, but should? Marc Bolan? The Smiths? Keely Smith? The Gap Band?

-- Ann Powers


- Tom Waits, Bon Jovi, Beastie Boys, LL Cool J top eclectic list of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominees

Images, from left: LL Cool J (Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times); Beastie Boys (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times


Comments () | Archives (54)

Where is RUSH??????

what about donovan.....don't you think he deserves to be in the rock and roll hall of fame? i do!

he is a poet, as john lennon said. and an incredible, original songwriter, who has been around forever, and should already be in the hall of fame. make this the year to make it right, correct a shocking oversight, and get donovan in so justice can be done.

......."i tell you his name is LOVE, LOVE, LOVE."

You have probably heard this from me before, but seminal Los Angeles punk band X has failed to be nominated (again). Though not much of a fan, I also think Kiss is being overlooked. Also, what about Marc Bolan, the Smiths and The Cure?

rush. rush. rush.

I'm sure I could start a facebook page devoted to getting Bach inducted to the Rock and Roll hall of fame, but he doesn't belong there, just like Frank Sinatra doesn't belong there. Most overrated artist ever.

How about Alice Cooper? He should get it for "18" and "Schools Out" alone. Never mind that he was the first to really put theatrics on stage in Rock N' Roll. Good or bad no Kiss, no Manson, no Ozzy without Alice.

Okay, when the hell is Cheap Trick gonna be inducted into the RR Hall of Fame?
Is it really time for the Beastie Boys and LL Cool J? Cheap Trick has been around forever, and they've definitely earned their spot. C'mon!

Bon Jovi admirers, long ago, ran all over critics like you, ann powers, with a message, "get out of our way". Bon Jovi advanced the spirit of Rock And Roll and we knew it.

Dear Ann

While I agree with some of the nominees I cannot fathom WHY CHICAGO WAS LEFT OUT AGAIN. Also, one of the true pioneers of Rock and Roll, DEEP PURPLE HAVE BEEN OVERLOOKED FOR 25 YEARS. Can you name the one guitar riff that every kid who picked up and continue to pick up a guitar will most likely to learn. Yes, it is the ultimate Rock Anthem SMOKE ON THE WATER.

I think the nomination committee needs a major revamping and not be so flagrantly bias.

Marc Bolan!

what about ringo? or brian epstein? these guys deserve to be in the hall... especially brian epstein for what he did for the beatles and obviously rock n roll history..

I see Tom Waits and Beastie Boys getting in. As for the rest, *shoulder shrug*, I'm pretty indifferent about the rest. Love the Frank Sinatra idea though. If you don't have Frank Sinatra, you don't have an Elvis. You don't have Elvis you don't have...

Of course you don't have Igor Stravinsky you don't have riots during or after concerts either or maybe that's just Paris. Igor Stravinsky - so punk rock!

Why am I not upset that Rush is again ignored? We all have our own definitions of what constitutes rock'n'roll. Personally, I find the best definition is a subjective experience of being consistently elevated spiritually by not just the music but also the lyrics of a particular body of music. In my experience, Rush satisfies that category like few others. It's like science fiction writers- when you discover one for yourself, one that speaks to you ( Philip K. Dick, for example), one is not overly concerned that the masses have not yet discovered him. The fact that the masses remain somewhat clueless and uninitiated actually makes your own discovery all the more special. Why is it that I'm not too concerned that Rush may never make it into the R'n'R HoF? If anyone has ever seen the "Rush in Rio" DVD they might sense the special power this power trio from Canada has over its fans. A few years ago Rush finally made it down to Rio de Janeiro to play for the first time before its Brazilian fans in a football stadium. Never mind that it was pouring with rain, the fans were wrought with extreme pleasure at seeing their heroes. As the cameras documented, most of the crowd knew all the words to each and every song and sang blissfully along. There was an Elvis Presley Greatest Hits album once called "50 Million Fans Can't Be Wrong." I'm not going to get into a pointing contest with regards to how many fans Rush has around the world ass comparred to some of these questionable artists who recieve such enormous accolades as an induction into the R'n'R HoF. All I know is that the pointy heads of rock'n'roll critics show very obviously when they insist on building up their marginal so-called "rock'n'roll" favorites in the face of such perennial and immovable forces such as Rush. All I can say is, " Whatever...Whatever turns you on."

If the Beastie Boys can make it, why not Sonic Youth? They've been around almost thirty years w/ the same core members. They've released numerous excellent albums, and a few certified classics. Nearly every alternative/underground/weirdo/noise rock band over the past three decades is indebted to them in some fashion- Nirvana to name just one.

Where is Stevie Ray Vaughan?

I think it's ridiculous, that Alice Cooper wasn't nominated before now. How many artists can be said having influenced hair metal, real metal AND punk rock, let alone countless "hybrid artists"? How anyone can yell for Ki$$ to get inducted, before the Godfather of shock rock has his place in the HOF, is beyond me.

I've been wondering for years, and continue to wonder, why Hall & Oates has never been nominated. They have endured for years, and have more hits than most people/groups who have been nominated

No RUSH, the Hall Of Shame will be a joke until RUSH is in!

The Doobie Brothers is BY FAR one of The Best Bands of All Time... AND STILL ARE!!! They have been overlooked for WAY TOO LONG!

I wonder who the Moody Blues ticked off to be passed over yet again in election to the Hall? There is no excuse,good, bad or indifferent for a seminal band of the British Invasion to be left off the ballot year after year. Even if you overlook the melodic genius of "Nights In White Satin", you can't ignore "Go Now", "Tuesday Afternoon", "The Question", "Your WIldest Dreams", etc. Yet any "Hall of Fame" that would ignore Def Leopard obviously has their own agenda: be a royal kiss up to the labels and Rolling Stone or go without. Needless to say, the Rock N' Roll Hall is one of shame after the insulting exclusions of the Blues and Def Leopard!

Badfinger - every "power pop" band from Big Star to Cheap Trick and beyond followed them; they took the pop/rock sound of pre-Sgt. Pepper Beatles and built it up. I'd also like to make the case for Chicago, War, Dire Straits, Eurythmics, and, yes, Cheap Trick. And, really, Dr. John, Cat Stevens, Rush, and Yes are overdue.

RRHOF is a joke. either keep it geared toward rock and roll or create a recording artist hall of fame in which rock is but one wing. it is senseless that the likes of deep purple, rush, the cure, chicago, etc. aren't in when musical hacks like elvis and madonna are thought to be obvious choices. Is rock and roll about music or a popularity contest. elvis and madonna couldn't play their way out of a wet paper sack on any instrument and are weak singers as well. i'm not against the beasties or LL, but why do acts like these and the above get credit for the sounds and image that were concieved of by thier handlers. ever hear of rick ruben? of course elvis was popular. he was shoved down everyone's throat because he had the desired black sounding voice in a nice safe white package. all the real pioneers of rock (the black people) get the shaft. until enshrinement is based on some musical merit, the RRHOF is to be ignored. I can hear Frank Zappa rolling over in his grave. RIP FZ.

Duran Duran has been overlooked for several years now. They were pioneers in the post-punk/new wave era, and they deserve to be inducted.

Bon Jovi is nominated (urgh!) and not XTC? What a joke.

Thank you Ann. As a 30 year fan of the Mekons I heartily agree, they're still one of my top 4 favorite bands. In a perfect world they would easily be inducted into the hall.

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