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Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: And the Nominees Should Be…

After years of being a punching bag for outraged music fans with better taste, The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame finds itself on a winning streak not seen since its early days when inductees tended toward the obvious. Since 2012, acts that had been ignored, in some cases for decades, finally got their ticket punched. Amongst others, Rush, Kiss, Chic, Donovan, Heart, Hall & Oates, Joan Jett, Yes, Deep Purple, Lou Reed, Cheap Trick, and Journey finally became inductees. But the work isn’t quite over as there are still numerous artists whose continued exclusion from the Rock Hall is difficult to justify. Below are six artists who should be in the Rock Hall – like, yesterday. As always, you may have five completely different acts in mind, and your comments are always welcome.

1. The Monkees

Very few people still regard the Monkees as a prefab joke of a band, and to the extent that the perception still lingers, it’s largely because self-absorbed Boomer rock critics will never take them seriously. The rest of us know, all too well, that this is one hell of a band. Does it matter that much of their recorded output was played by The Wrecking Crew? Not to me and millions of fans, it doesn’t. Does it matter that their songwriting contributions are minimal? Not when they had Boyce & Hart and Neil Diamond and Goffin and King writing for them, it doesn’t. The Monkees (or, if you prefer, Don Kirshner) made spectacular records and became a genuine cultural phenomenon. I suspect that the lingering bias that keeps them out of the Hall can be boiled down to this: The Monkees were inorganic and, as such, prophets of niche marketing and other social ills that haunt us to this day. Get over it. They are incredible.

2. Judas Priest

It’s distinctly possible that no rock act – solo or band, from any era – is getting more jobbed by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame than Judas Priest. The band redefined heavy metal in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s by moving from the blues-based sounds of Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin to a new, more urgent, and considerably more “metallic” feel. Rob Halford’s eight-octave vocal range peeled the paint off of many a teenage boys’ walls during that era, and guitarists K.K. Downing and Glenn Tipton almost singlehandedly gave rise to the fine art of air guitar. In addition to their more raucous and blistering fare, they were also adept at making muscular FM radio songs like “Living After Midnight” and “You Got Another Thing Comin’.” Are there any cons? Any reasons that Priest shouldn’t get in? Not really. The closest thing to an actual argument I’ve seen advanced is that they went south in a major way after Halford left in the early ‘90s. While this is true enough, it shouldn’t have much to do with their overall credentials. Few artists in the Hall, as in history, didn’t record a clunker or two.

3. Iron Maiden

What Judas Priest induction would be complete without their fellow metal travelers, Iron Maiden? Who can deny the power and force that these spandex junkies brought to the ‘80s and beyond, starting with Dickinson’s debut with the band, 1982’s Number of the Beast?  The twin guitar attack of Dave Murray and Adrian Smith was on par with that of Downing and Tipton, with the added element of even more speed than Priest could muster. And, as with Priest, there was a decided break from blues-based metal. (Whether the band’s sound borrowed extensively from punk is still a point of contention.) So, why are they not in? There’s just no good answer. They face the same problem every metal band always faces – an electorate littered with people who think the entire genre is invalid. Voting in Maiden would, they fear, bring the whiff of the weirdo, one step up from voting in, say, Dio. In a perfect world, Iron Maiden and Judas Priest would be inducted in the same year. I would lay odds of the arena’s complete destruction.

4. INXS

Here’s a fun game: Opine that INXS released truly wonderful singles, without exception, for nearly a decade and watch their faces contort as the truth of the statement sinks in. It never, ever fails. You are probably realizing this, too, now that you’re thinking about it. From their announcement to the world with “The One Thing” in 1982 all the way through the weird drift into irrelevance (an ‘80s band trying to keep its head above water in the ‘90s) of “Suicide Blonde” in 1990, INXS produced single after single after single of incredible material. Some of them were hits, more should have been. They created a unique, immediately recognizable sound that nevertheless always sounded fresh and innovative and, usually, a hell of a lot of fun. If I ever attended a party in the ‘80s where at least one of their albums didn’t get played, I sure don’t remember it. Like the Monkees, they almost never even make the Hall’s ballots. Inexplicable.

5. The Spinners

Is the Philadelphia Sound underrepresented in the Rock Hall? Yeah, probably. After the enshrinement of the primary proprietors of the Philadelphia sound – The Dells, Gamble and Huff, The O’Jays, probably Hall & Oates – Hall voters have taken a decade-long nap on Philly that shows few signs of awakening. The crime and tragedy of excluding Harold Melvin is too unconscionable to explore fully in such a small space, so I will focus instead on the exclusion of the Spinners, which is merely stupid. The Spinners, produced by Philly pioneer Thom Bell, enjoyed tremendous commercial success – six top 10 hits and sixteen top 40 on the Billboard Hot 100. Their range – from the pre-Phillipe Wynn ersatz funk of “It’s a Shame” to the jarringly smooth “How Could I Let You Get Away” to the coy pop of “Games People Play” to the crystalline plea of “I’ll Be Around,” they could do anything. And make it sound really good. I can’t create any justification of why they’re still on the outside of the Hall.

6. Todd Rundgren

You’re Todd Rundgren. You have for decades made interesting, eclectic and mostly wonderful-sounding albums of your own as a solo artist and as the leader of two very excellent and underrated groups. You’ve produced albums for a breathtaking array of artists, including Meat Loaf, Hall & Oates, Patti Smith, Grand Funk, Cheap Trick, XTC, and, no fooling, Shaun Cassidy. You’ve been a sought-after songwriter since you were in your early 20s. You haven’t had a Hall of Fame career, you’ve had three of them. Take heart, Todd. In the glorious, bright and bountiful (and near!) future, when society is just and reason prevails and human kindness and wisdom reach their inevitable apogee, Jann Wenner and Dave Marsh will be tried in Cleveland for Crimes Against Humanity for conspiring to keep you out of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Jeffrey Bukowski Photo: Getty Images



85 thoughts on “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: And the Nominees Should Be…”

  1. Rick petosa says:

    Little feat

    1. Dan Brown says:

      You betcha

    2. Joe Lex says:

      FEEEAAAATT!!!

  2. Kevin says:

    Three Dog Night.

    1. Richard Kauffman says:

      Long overdue as well as the Guess Who.

      1. kentinmn says:

        I Agree, Canada’s PREMIER rock band!

  3. Paco says:

    Little Feat should have been in there many years ago

  4. Joe Cogan says:

    Uriah Heep!

    1. Alex says:

      Woefully underappreciated in their contribution tometal

  5. lin butler says:

    JOHNNY RIVERS PJ PROBY AND RADIERS

  6. Jeffery Paterson says:

    Dire straits for goodness sake

    1. Dustin says:

      I totally agree

  7. Kathy says:

    The Cars!

    1. Ron says:

      Agreed! The Cars should be in the R&R HOF!

  8. Ron Doll says:

    Paul Revere & the Raiders, Moody Blues!!

    1. Richard Kauffman says:

      Dick Dale, Jan and Dean are two others that should be there too.

  9. Russell cline says:

    Before I voted anyone in to the RRHOF, I’d move a few out.
    Starting with Madonna.

  10. Mike says:

    Ian Hunter!!!!!!!!!

  11. Dustin says:

    The Moody Blues – come on, its obvious. Should have been there years ago.

    1. Barb says:

      Definitely agree. They really started the art rock genre.

  12. Philip A Warunek says:

    How about JOE COCKER

  13. Randy Wallace says:

    Big Star and The Jayhawks!!!!

  14. Richard Forrester says:

    I agree with the Spinners. Paul Revere and The Raiders should be in probably before The Monkees in my opinion.

  15. Whytho228 says:

    Chic is not inducted. They have the most nominations of any band, but not actually inducted.

  16. Wade Rankin says:

    Until The Meters are inducted, it is not a worthy honor.

  17. Thomas says:

    Put in Monkees/Wrecking Crew together…
    problem solved. Agreed Moody Blues way overdue….why Tupac??? Also wish Cocker,
    Doobie Bros, Guess Who and Styx.

  18. J D Howard says:

    Guess Who , J Geils Band , Tommy James and the Shondells , Nick Lowr

  19. Barry Burke says:

    The Pogues

  20. Jolene Mead says:

    Hot Tuna

  21. Steve Panagiotis says:

    Paul McCartney and Wings!

  22. Bobby Lewis says:

    MOODY BLUES

  23. Bob says:

    Grand Funk Railroad.

    1. Bruce says:

      Yes Grand Funk is way overdue!

  24. Marc W says:

    Al Kooper

  25. James says:

    Emerson Lake & Palmer

  26. Gary Gomes says:

    ELP

  27. Jay Tysver says:

    T-Rex, Moody Blues, Carly Simon, Todd Rundgren, Dick Dale, Monkees, Spinners, Cyndi Lauper, Three Dog Night and New York Dolls. I’d love to see Big Star get in, but doubt that would ever happen so I’ll say Alex Chilton.

  28. M Smith says:

    The Moody Blues and Emerson, Lake and Palmer are long overdue.

  29. Gregory Belmore says:

    The band, America, deserves to be inducted

  30. Bill Broderick says:

    Sister Rosetta Tharpe! The Godmother of rock n roll!

  31. Donald says:

    How about Thin Lizzy, should have been in long ago

  32. mitchctim says:

    Rory Gallagher.

  33. Mr. Bad Example says:

    Warren freakin Zevon already. Also, Blue Oyster Cult. So good, soooo under rated. SO much more than “The Reaper”

    1. Johnny says:

      Hell yeah BOC

    2. Mike Murphy says:

      Definitely need them, just so the hall has more cowbell.

  34. Mike truex says:

    Billy PRESSTON ! Bad Co. The guess who , j.geils ,the cars, three dog night george thorogood .rick deringer.

    1. Chris M says:

      I came here trying to figure out how to lobby for George Thorogood. Still think he needs to be in there, but this is an impressive list of others who need to be in there also. Feels like there is still some catching up to do, maybe they should let more in/year for a while?

  35. Dan Brown says:

    I can’t believe they have passed over John Mayall. Many of Britain’s greatest cut their teeth with his band. Clapton, Green, Beck, Bruce, McVie, Fleetwood, etc. etc.

  36. Joseph says:

    Jethro Tull….mixed emglish folk, classical, blues, and rock AND brought tbe flute to rock and roll……plus Ian Anderson is a toad warrior touring again this year..almost 50 year of touring…what else do you have to do to be recognized?

  37. Jay P Barkenhagen says:

    Moody Blues, Styx, ELP, Kansas, The Guess Who, Steppenwolf, Grand Funk Railroad, Iron Maiden, Jethro Tull, Frank Zappa, Blue Oyster Cult, Boston, Rainbow, Doobie Bros, Scorpions, Supertramp, Pat Benatar, WAR, Jan & Dean, Cher, Stevie Nicks, Carly Simon, King Crimson, J J Cale, Dire Straits, Little Feet, Def Leppard, B-52’s, X, The Cars, J Geils Band, and The Alan Parsons Project to name a few!

    1. Steinar says:

      Everyone of them, especially Styx.

      1. David Marcum says:

        Yes, definitely Styx. A total disappointment that they haven’t been inducted yet.

  38. Don Hillaker says:

    The Replacements! Its a Damn crime green day is in and the Matt’s are not! And obviously Big Star, Alex Chilton

  39. John O'Mara says:

    Johnny Winter

  40. Michael Rossi says:

    There are so many deserving bands in so many genres. Have they ever considered separating the awards into different categories? I think that would be great. To have nominees compete in rap, electronic, punk, funk, classic rock, progressive, etc. seems too wide and to me it is like having a sprinter compete against a race car driver, a swimmer, a martial artist and a gymnast. It doesn’t make sense. A rock n roll purist would raise concern over so many inductees that are outstanding but are never considered as rock music performers. That is my thought. Would it really be so difficult to place all associated genres in their own category?

  41. John says:

    Todd deserves more than any of the other artists. What a talent. I’ve seen him 10 times. Inxs ? Are you kidding me. The monkees were gilligans island w guitars. Come on Todd wrote, produced, and played ALL the instruments in several albums. Get real.

    1. Tom Ross says:

      It is elitist thinking like this that has kept a lot of deserving acts out.

  42. James Barr says:

    Duran Duran. 40 years and STILL producing vital music (witness Paper Gods). Plus Rio was one of the albums of the ’80s.

    1. Matt B. says:

      I have to agree. Duran was written-off as a video band early-on, but their music always included adventurous songs that defied current trends. The Chauffeur off Rio is an excellent example. And ten years later, they produced one of the few great non-grunge albums of the 90’s when they released the Wedding Album. Time will vindicate them.

  43. Gilbert Cortez says:

    Jethro Tull, WAR, and grand funk railroad.

  44. Paul says:

    Blue Oyster Cult!

  45. Michael Soldavini says:

    Bon Jovi may be the best selling band not I. How about some of the pioneers of the Brit Rock movement of the 90s like Oasis, Stone Roses, Charlatans, Blur, Pulp, Happy Monday’s/Black Grape, et al.

  46. Colin says:

    Moody Blues 1st, then we can get to the rest.

  47. John Webre says:

    Jan and Dean

  48. Carole Thorpe says:

    Neil Sedaka, Connie Francis, The Monkees, Billy Preston, Todd Rundgren, Three Dog Night, Moody Blues, and Carly Simon.

    1. Vicki Weber says:

      Finally someone mentions Connie Francis. 35 top 40 hits. Don’t forget Chubby Checker, only artist to have a record reach number one in two different years.. The Twist, of course. And Pat Boone who helped to bridge the acceptance of black music into American culture with his (pretty mediocre) covers. He had 38 top 40 hits.

    2. Tom Gabrielli says:

      YES on Neil Sedaka and Connie Francis! And., Pat Boone deserves it also.

  49. Will says:

    Cocteau Twins and XTC.

  50. Gary Gomes says:

    Sparks, Pere Ubu, Captain Beefheart and the Residents. May as well go for Magma and Henry Cow too.

  51. Jim says:

    If it weren’t for the early R&B groups there would lead be no Rock and Roll. The Ravens began to record in 1946. They were the first group to sing in the new R&B style. The Dominoes AKA Billy Ward and the Dominoes were one of the first R&B groups to cross over into the pop market in 1951 with 60 Minute Man. Over the years their lead singers included Clyde McPhatter, Jackie Wilson and Eugene Mumford. The Clovers were simply the most successful R&B group of the early to mid-fifties beginning with their number 1 hit Don’t You Know I Love You. If you know your history you know these pioneer groups belong in the Hall.

  52. Dean says:

    The Dells were not “proprietors of the Philadelphia Sound.” Their biggest hits were recorded for Chess/Checker/Cadet Records in Chicago.

  53. John Senorski says:

    John Mayall

    1. Bozo says:

      I appreciate most peoples comments and a vast amount would be right on the money. But lets go back and make sure that’ll if the worthy acts of the past are included before we move on to more modern music please. Get this stuff rectified! Then maybe the hall can consider the John Mayall of the world. I personally think he’s a douchebag. But others may hate the Beatles so Im all for each generation at their best. But lets get some of these glaring omissions dealt with.

      1. Bozo says:

        I sound like an idiot yes to Mayall. No to Mayer. Haha. Read before you speak.

  54. Ole says:

    Warren Zevon without a doubt!!

  55. Jeffrey Majerek says:

    Graham Parker and Joe Jackson…… Hell, Graham should be in for coming up with the album title: Squeezing Out Sparks. But, he’s had 40+ years of amazingly great/solid albums. Joe keeps getting better and better and his long-time (original) bass player Graham Maby may just well be one of the 10 best of his generation…… should be inducted with him (has also done great work with Marshall Crenshaw, Joan Baez, They Might me Giants, Natalie Marchant, Henry Lee Summers, Garland Jeffries, Ian Hunter, the Silos….. and, he recorded with Graham Parker.

  56. Ron Cordy says:

    Marshall Tucker Band, Moody Blues, Jethro Tull .

  57. Mary says:

    One word. Zevon.

  58. Liz says:

    Delaney and Bonnie!

  59. Julie says:

    What about Harry Nilsson!
    100% agree with Todd Rundgren as well. That man is amazing.

  60. Matt Jones says:

    John Hiatt, at least in the songwriting category. It could be argued that Bonnie Raitt wouldn’t be there if it hadn’t been for him. He’s been covered by many and has a great catalog of his own

  61. Mary Henry says:

    Definitely has to be Todd Rundgren. He has performed, written, produced, and innovated his way into the American Psyche! His personal body of work, his work with Utopia, as well as having the insight to produce Meatloaf’s Bat out of Hell (the 3rd grossing album of all time), and his help in finding them a record label makes him The Candidate this year!! And Todf is still turning out great records. He also is a regular with Ringo Starrs All Stars Band, and will tour with Yes this year.

  62. Bob C says:

    Moody Blues for starters. Seven album string starting with groundbreaking Days Of Future Past through Seventh Sojourn- hard to find an equal to that string. Godfathers of orchestral and mystic rock. Hits in 3 decades. And Justin Hayward, one of the best songwriters imho. Then Three Dog Night, Guess Who, Dan Fogelberg, The Cars, Jethro Tull, Pat Benetar… And how about Fanny, the first commercially signed all female rock group? Good musicians, songwriters, singers and four very strong albums, especially Fanny Hill. Blazed the trail for Runaways, Go Gos, Heart and other female rockers. Joan Jett wouldn’t be in the hall without them.

  63. Lenny DiBrango says:

    The Zombies. While they still walk this planet.

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