Every year around this time, the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame nominating committee submits their list of finalists of which five artists will be selected for future induction.  I always get excited each time but then always forget that the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame is a fuckin’ joke.  Instead of inducting bands that have truly made an impact on popular music, what seems to happen is that Jann Wenner and his cronies go with the bands on their personal favorites list.  If they don’t like the artist,  accomplishments like album sales and influences on other artists still won’t matter.  Jann Wenner is such an egotistical bastard that he even inducted himself into the Hall Of Fame.  I won’t discredit his contributions as founder and editor of Rolling Stone, but shouldn’t he be inducted when he’s bit older, or maybe when he’s dead?  I understand that listening to music is very subjective, and we all love to argue about who’s deserving to be in the hall of fame as much as we do about best songs of a decade, or greatest guitarist, etc.  But of any shrine to an art form or sport, the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame has totally missed the boat.  I respect the following artists, but of any bands in the Hall Of Fame, they are the best examples of musicians whose overall impact is questionable: Traffic, Frank Zappa, Buffalo Springfield, Sex Pistols, and The Talking Heads.   Traffic introduced the world to Steve Winwood, but have they really ever produced a meaningful song?  Frank Zappa might have been innovative, but for a guy whose best known song is Valley Girl, does he really deserve to be in the hall?  Buffalo Springfield only had one album with Stephen Stills and Neil Young and have only one relevant song (For What It’s Worth)!  The Sex Pistols are also known for one album, and it’s a fact that Sid Vicious wasn’t even good enough to play bass, so he performed without his guitar even plugged in.  I personally like the Talking Heads, but they are more known for their unique videos on MTV than their actual music. Only the creme de la creme should be in the Hall Of Fame: those that no sane person could argue such as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and Michael Jackson.

Kiss. Photo by Fredrik Kek.

Kiss. Photo by Fredrik Kek.

There is one band that has been left off every single year that should be in with no questions asked.  That band is KISS.  They not only haven’t been inducted, but have been left off the list of nominations every single year.  I will admit I’m a little biased, but most music fans admit that KISS should be ranked as one of the most influential bands ever even if they don’t like them.  In 1977, KISS was the biggest band in the world. They revolutionized the live stage show, had 30 albums go platinum, and were a tremendous influence on many bands.  Was KISS musically the most talented band out there?  No, but neither were The Ramones who only played three chords, and they are in the Hall!!  Do I agree with Gene Simmons attitude that KISS is more brand than band?  Absolutely not! What Gene never understood was that his music and image had to have substance in order to be able for him to profit.  If the Hall doesn’t want KISS in because of Gene’s demands to get paid for his costumes, that’s one thing!  But to not include them because critics don’t get their act, that’s nonsense.  No excuses, KISS should be in the Hall Of Fame!  Their image is synonomous with the rise of hard rock in the late 70’s and early 80’s.  BTW, while I’m at it, where the fuzz are Rush, Neil Diamond, Alice Cooper, and Bay City Rollers (just kidding!)

Another issue I have is that we are seeing Madonna and Grandmaster Flash entering the hall of fame, but their music is far from being rock & roll.  I don’t underestimate Madonna’s impact in the least, but her music isn’t rock & roll material.  Perhaps the name should be changed from Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame to The Hall Of Fame Of Popular Music?  The only rock & roll  contributions from the future hip-hop artists who’ll eventually be inducted is in the classic rock songs that they sample.  To make things more kosher, can we maybe press to avoid pop, dance, country, and hip-hop altogether?  If pop musicians from the 80’s are going to eventually become eligible, then how in the world is ABBA not in already?

Metallica. Photo by Mishka Gaikin.

The 2009 Nominated artists are Metallica, Run DMC, Donna Summer, The Stooges, Chic, War, Little Anthony & The Imperials, Bobby Womack, and Wanda Jackson.   Five of them are going to be inducted.  Logic tells me it’s going to be Metallica, Run DMC, The Stooges, Chic, and Little Anthony & The Imperials.   I have no issue with Metallica.  They revolutionized heavy metal, have had a productive career, and are still relevant.  I don’t really support hip-hop artists in the Hall Of Fame, but if you have to put them in, you need to include Run DMC.  They paved the way for current hip hop artists by being the first rap group to be featured prominently on MTV, and were influential in combining hip hop with hard rock (a la Walk This Way with Aerosmith).   Donna Summer was the queen of Disco, and I hope she gets her due, but I have a strange hunch she is going to have to wait another year.  If Donna Summer does get in, this might pave the way for more of those great disco acts.  I have issues with the other bands.  The Stooges were so overrated.  I’ve seen Iggy Pop perform numerous times on television including his abysmal performance at last year’s induction ceremonies, and I don’t understand why people worship the guy.  He might be known for his penis size and acting ludacrous on stage, but that shouldn’t buy you a ticket into the hall of fame.  Iggy Pop and The Stooges had three notable tunes (Search & Destroy, Lust For Life, and I’m A Dog).  Next!  Hey, I liked Chic, but they were only around for a few years in the late 70’s and you are telling me they are more deserving than the Commodores?!!  I commend Nile Rodgers for being a top-notch producer and Bernard Edwards might be one of the more underrated bass players of all time, but Chic as a band should not be in the Hall Of Fame. No way! Same goes for War, another band I admire, but don’t feel should be in the hall of fame.  You’re telling me War had more of an impact than a band like Chicago who still hasn’t been inducted?  No chance.   Little Anthony & The Imperials were good, but did somebody just realize in 2008 that they deserve a shot?  Please! Wanda Jackson and Bobby Womack, no comment!  And Jeff Beck is a renowned guitarist and collaborator with Rod Stewart, but he should not be in the Rock & Roll Hall Fame on his own merit.  Sorry!  How did Bon Jovi get snubbed in their first year of eligibility?  They are a first ballot hall of fame band, this is unacceptable.  But Jann Wenner never cared for them, so it’ll take some time but they will eventually make it.

My criteria for induction is simple: Is the artist still relevant?  Does the average music fan know who the artist is and what their contribution is to the music world?  How many hit singles and albums have they had?   Twenty five years after their debut, are they still seeing success?  I know that if your band has never been featured on the cover of the Rolling Stone, your chances are minimal.

When we get closer to the induction ceremony, I really think an article is necessary to truly examine the bands that deserve to be in the Hall Of Fame, and those that don’t.  I’m really bothered by the lack of intelligence from the so-called music experts!