By GORDON GLANTZ
GORDONVILLE – Of all the bologna that should keep me up at night – or, in my case, up while trying to take my afternoon nap – who is or is not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame should not be among them.
But it is.
You just can’t teach a grumpy old dog new tricks, especially when he has yet to chew his way through the same rawhide bone.
Just to repeat – a nut graph, if you will – I could, and maybe should, just leave it alone. All my all-time favorites are long-since inducted. That arm’s-length list goes from Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan to U2 and The Clash to all the obvious Classic Rock icons (Beatles, Stones, The Who, Led Zeppelin, etc.).
I hocked upon a righteous drum solo for Bob Seger, and was almost committed to a mental institution when one-hit wonder Isaac Hayes got in first, but all was made right a year later. I then began screaming for Genesis, Rush and Journey.
Inducted, inducted and inducted.
But the sports half of my brain get reconcile the more artsy-fartsy way the Hall goes about laying out nominees and coming to its final conclusion each year.
And even though fans vote – the only reason likes of Rush, Journey and others got in – the snot-nosed critics are still able to force their agenda of such extreme inclusion of forms of music that really are not Rock and Roll that obvious choices remain excluded.
This year’s list of 19, of which a grand total of five will be inducted, is no exception. I see some I’m happy with and others that don’t pass the smell test.
And I’m still left wondering what Bad Company, the Doobie Brothers and Steppenwolf ever did to be treated with such blatant disregard.
After I huff and puff, I’ll cast my vote. And then I’ll sit back and contemplate therapy as a day perfect for napping, like when it’s raining, is lost starring at the celing.
Let’s look at the list and I’ll give one of three answers – Yes (in bold), Maybe (italics) or No – for whether or not induction is deserved. I won’t give the “yes” nod for more than five, but a maybe means I can live with it.
- Bon Jovi – Yes (Not a huge fan, but I was a first-hand witness to their impact and you can’t deny the body of work and the songs that continue to resonate).
- Kate Bush – Maybe (Good music, but a little too quirky and out the mainstream to break into my Top 5. Still, I’d be OK with it).
- The Cars – Yes. Hell Yes. (My favorite band for a stretch in ninth grade. I did out-grow them but still appreciate the tell-tale body of work and the obvious influence on other bands that came after. To me, they are on the same level as The Talking Heads, who were inducted a while back. How did that happen, you may wonder? Critics loved The Talking Heads and were never really into The Cars. It’s a New York vs. Boston thing).
- Depeche Mode – No (I mean, they had their moments but, uh, no).
- Dire Straits – Yes (A no-brainer, really, so brace yourselves for the inevitable WTF moment).
- Eurythmics – No (A few OK songs does not a Hall of Fame career make, sorry).
- J. Geils Band – Yes (This is a case of waiting until somebody dies –in this case, J. Geils himself, to act. Pretty damned pathetic).
- Judas Priest – Maybe (We are talking about heavy metal icons with a hefty catalogue, but going in before metal pioneers Steppenwolf wouldn’t be right).
- LL Cool J – No (But it will happen, and at the expense of an act or artist way more deserving, mark my words. Rap isn’t my thing, but I can appreciate it and where it’s coming from as a form of urban expression. That said, it is a whole different genre that should have its own Hall of Fame).
- MC5 – Maybe (And only because they are pretty good. Still, the body of work just doesn’t measure up. Line them up against Steppenwolf, for example, and that should end this discussion).
- The Meters – No (They keep coming up on the nominee list like acid reflux. Until somebody explains to me why, when Todd Rundgren or Boston and singer-songwriters like Harry Chapin and Gordon Lightfoot get no love, I’m going to keep going for the Alka-Seltzer when I see them listed).
- Moody Blues – Yes (It’s even more of a no-brainer and so overdue that I might miss two naps if they don’t get in).
- Radiohead – Maybe (Not my cup of tea, but there seems to be a compelling need from the board to leapfrog bands from this era over people who may not be around to appreciate being inducted much longer).
- Rage Against the Machine – Maybe (I can appreciate the impact, and I dig Tom Morello, but I’m just not feeling it).
- Rufus featuring Chaka Khan – Maybe (I can’t put it in my obvious Top 5, but they like to look like to do the annual “politically correct thing to do,” and this is not this band’s first time on the nominee list. For what it’s worth, “Tell Me Something Good” was the first 45 I ever bought, so I have a soft spot. Just not that soft).
- Nina Simone – No (Her own bio lists about every genre under the sun – from Jazz to Soul to Gospel – but not Rock and Roll. Her only Top 40 hit, “I Loves You, Porgy,” reached No. 18 (No. 2 on R&B charts) in 1959. We can appreciate the longevity and respect in the music business, but this would be like putting a rugby player in the football hall of fame).
- Sister Rosetta Tharpe – Maybe (Actually, not maybe. Yes, but as a pioneer selection. How she, as a more of an inventor of what became Rock and Roll than Bill Haley and his friggin’ Comets, is not in is beyond me)
- Link Wray – LOL (not means no, as in N-O.).
- The Zombies – Maybe (I really like their stuff but there just isn’t enough of it).
So, the summarize, from this list (and I could come up with five more deserving inductees fast than you can say Boston, Styx, Foreigner, America and Warren Zevon), we have: Bon Jovi, The Cars, Dire Straits, J. Geils Band and Moody Blues — with special “pioneer” designation for Sister Rosetta Tharpe.
Now go forth and stuff those ballot boxes.
I need my sleep.