Rock snobs, get ready to argue.
The Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame has just announced the nominees for their 2010 induction ceremony. Of these twelve nominees, five will be inducted. As usual, there is plenty of diversity in the nominees and there are a couple of head-scratchers here as well.
The 12 finalists are Swedish pop icons ABBA, prototype girl group The Chantels, reggae legend Jimmy Cliff, prog-rock turned pop supergroup Genesis, sixties (and early seventies) favorites The Hollies, the legendary KISS, hip-hop ambassador LL Cool J, Darlene Love (another girl-group icon), soulful singer-songwriter Laura Nyro, funk-rock mainstays The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Iggy Pop & the Stooges, and disco queen Donna Summer.
One bone of contention is the somewhat (OK, very) racist notion that some of these artists are not “rock ‘n roll”, since most of America thinks that rock ‘n roll is almost entirely a white male phenomenon (and you know this is true). However, most intelligent music fans are aware that rock ‘n roll is more or less an umbrella term for any popular music recorded in the past 55 or so years. My point being that everyone on this list can be considered rock ‘n roll in some way, shape or form.
Usually, the other bone of contention has to do with omissions. KISS fans have complained long and hard about their icons not being in the HOF, and I think the band’s chances are actually pretty good this year. However, people will always have beefs, whether it’s the HOF’s seeming phobia towards prog-rock, or their bias towards more pop-oriented (but equally legendary) acts like Chicago and Hall & Oates, or the fact that there’s no Joy Division, New Order or Depeche Mode in the HOF yet. Hey, synthesizers rock, too!
While I’m certainly aware of the influence that the Chantels and Darlene Love had on rock ‘n roll during its’ formative years, I also can’t say that I’m terribly familiar with their music, as my musical education pretty much starts with The Beatles and early Motown. Despite the fact that “The Harder They Come” is an amazing soundtrack, that’s really Jimmy Cliff’s only claim to fame, and plenty of that soundtrack was performed by other artists. I think ABBA’s way too lightweight to appear in ANYONE’s Hall of Fame, and while I love me some Laura Nyro, I don’t know exactly how influential she was in the grand scheme of things.
So, my final five (and I think the five that will most likely be inducted this year):
KISS: Because, yes, they do deserve it. They’re icons, and you don’t maintain a 35-year career without being talented. Even if Gene Simmons is a cocksnot. Besides, once they’re inducted, their fans will finally S.T.F.U.
Genesis: Peter Gabriel was one of the most influential (and theatrical) frontmen of his time, and the band’s Phil Collins-era hits were some of the most catchy and well-crafted pop music of their time.
The Stooges: Iggy is already in as a solo artist, yes? This is another situation where fans have complained long and hard about this. As unfamiliar as I am with their music, I can definitely say that many of my favorite bands have listed these guys as an influence.
Red Hot Chili Peppers: Although all the music they’ve recorded over the past decade has sounded exactly the same, there’s no denying the power of their early material. Their combination of funk and rock was wildly influential, and (for better or for worse), they helped kick off the whole rap-rock/nu metal era. Plus, they are one of the greatest live bands of all time.
LL Cool J: Another artist whose mediocre recent material may come back to haunt him. Yet you can’t deny how influential LL has been in the world of hip-hop. Along with Run-DMC, he broke down the doors for rappers to gain mainstream acceptance, and he was the first emcee to successfully bridge the gap between hardcore and pop-friedly. Besides, this dude is the Lazarus of hip-hop.
While I’m a Donna Summer fan, I can honestly say that the only disco acts that belong in the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame are Madonna (who’s in) and Chic (who aren’t). We’ll let her be the wild card here.
Who else do you feel should be included in the R&R HOF??
Check out the Hall of Fame’s official website here.