Thursday, January 11, 2007

Seven for the RockHall

Just in case we haven't had enough Hall of Fame chatter here this week, what with posts on the latest inductees into the Rock and Roll and Baseball Halls, someone asked me today what performers I believe ought to be in the RockHall, but aren't there yet. After all, I always mention the worthy players who fall short of election to Cooperstown every year.

The difficulty, of course, is that evaluating musical performance is infinitely more subjective than assessing athletic prowess — especially in a sport such as baseball, where statistics can be obtained for even the most obscure or minute aspect of the game.

On the other hand, I love a challenge.

Therefore, here's a brief, far from comprehensive list of bands and solo acts — seven in all — I believe should by now have been recognized by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I've limited the choices to acts who are already eligible under the Hall's criteria — basically, anyone whose first recording was released more than 25 years ago.

In alphabetical order:
  • Alice Cooper. I was actually surprised to see, when scanning the list of current enshrinees, that Alice isn't in the RockHall by now. Extremely influential even now (ask Marilyn Manson), and hugely popular back in the day.

  • The Doobie Brothers. On the scene forever, with more hits than you can shake your moneymaker at. Maybe the problem is the stylistic dichotomy — the rough-and-tumble biker bar band of their early hits, contrasted against the blue-eyed soul of the band's Michael McDonald period. Maybe it's the near-constant lineup changes (although that didn't keep out, say, Santana). But you can't argue with their level of success.

  • Genesis. Another group I thought was in the RockHall already, but for whatever reason isn't. Genesis, like the Doobies, enjoyed a bifurcated career: first, as a hardcore progressive rock band behind lead singer Peter Gabriel; then, as a more commercial hitmaking trio when drummer Phil Collins stepped to the forefront. The fact that Gabriel, guitarist Mike Rutherford (as leader of Mike + the Mechanics), and especially Collins went on to mammoth solo success doesn't alter the fact that the band itself is worthy of recognition.

  • Heart. Perhaps they're still struggling to overcome the old "Led Zeppelin with bosoms" stigma, but the talent of the Seattle powerhouse built around sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson deserves a place in the Hall. Easily the most storied and successful hard-rock act fronted by a female lead vocalist (Ann) and a female lead guitarist (Nancy) in the history of the genre. If Chrissie Hynde's Pretenders are in the Hall, Heart should be also.

  • Jethro Tull. Baffling again. I can only suppose that the Hall voters are still steamed about Tull winning the first-ever Grammy for heavy metal — which Tull is most assuredly not. A unique assemblage of talent, with one of the most inventive and distinctive frontmen in the business in Ian Anderson.

  • KISS. Go ahead and laugh, but just try and write a history of rock music in the '70s and '80s that doesn't feature them prominently. When a mainstream Hollywood feature film can be made about your fanbase (Detroit Rock City), you're big time, baby.

  • Donna Summer. I realize that some hardliners would be up in arms about the Queen of Disco finding a niche in the RockHall, but when you strip back the glitter-ball bias and concentrate on the talent — not to mention the star power — how do you keep her out? The woman sold in excess of 120 million records, for crying out loud. Somebody thought she was onto something.

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1 insisted on sticking two cents in:

Blogger Mr. Fabulous offered these pearls of wisdom...

And suddenly, I felt very old...

4:28 AM  

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