The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced its nominees for 2012 on Tuesday, sparking off another round of groans from rock fans worldwide as their favorite bands have once again been slighted. The same conversation goes on every year, as the Hall has repeatedly demonstrated a penchant for inducting critical favorites, however obscure or lacking in popular success, over artists with broader public support but less critical acceptance. Thus, Patti Smith and The Ramones are both in, but not Journey or Linda Ronstadt.
“The 2012 Nominees embody the broad scope of what ‘rock and roll’ means,” said Joel Peresman, President and CEO of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation, and actually, this year’s list is not as cringeworthy as some have been. There are some deserving artists that the general public can probably get behind this year – as well as some that will make most people say, “Why in the world would you want to put that artist in, but not [fill in the blank]?”
Here are the nominees:
Beastie Boys: Okay, right off the top, I’m not on board with this at all. I regard the Beastie Boys as primarily a rap act or a hybrid of rap and pop, but it seems an enormous stretch to me to call it rock. On the plus side, this band has had real marketplace success, and critics love it (or is that a minus to most fans?), but still, the bottom line is I don’t think it’s rock. And you could make a case for this band having been very influential in the trend of sampling, which I consider one of the worst things that has ever happened to the craft of songwriting in the history of recorded music.
That said, this is the band’s third nomination, and they have a large amount of support on the inside. They’ll inevitably be inducted, and this is probably the year.
The Cure: I don’t like The Cure in the least, but I can’t deny that it’s done with an air of quality, even if it wallows in a rather pretentious, precious sensibility. It’s original, influential, and has retained a large core group of die-hard fans over the course of decades. It’s only their first nomination, but I say The Cure should get the nod, even though I’ll mute my TV if they perform on the show.
Donovan: As I said the last time Donovan was considered, ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!!?????!!!!!????? Yeah, ‘cuz nothing says “rock” like ‘Hurdy Gurdy Man” or “Mellow Yellow.” If Donovan gets into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame before Humble Pie or Deep Purple, I’m finally going to snap . . . so don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Eric B. & Rakim: There’s no denying the influence . . . but there’s also no denying this is a hip-hop act, pure and simple. Why don’t we start a Rap Hall of Fame or a Popular Music Hall of Fame and put some of these acts like this, and Madonna, who don’t belong in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame over there instead? Maybe then we could make way for overlooked real rock acts like KISS, Humble Pie and the Steve Miller Band.
Guns ‘N Roses: This is a band that should go in and will absolutely get in, but I’d like to see them wait a few years and revisit this one. My biggest argument is, this is a band that will get in purely on the strength of one undeniable album, Appetite for Destruction. The entire rest of its catalogue is more miss than hit, and everyone knows it. So yeah, put them in, but I say make them wait. But I doubt that’ll happen . . . I bet Guns ‘N Roses sails in on the first try.
Heart: Absolutely, and what took so long? There’s a real shortage of female rock acts, and Heart should have been a no-brainer years ago. Put them in this year, and while you’re at it, apologize to them on live TV for overlooking them before.
Joan Jett and The Blackhearts: This must be the year for the Hall to put in real female rock acts instead of just pop/rock vocalists. Yes, Jett should be in – but not before The Runaways, the group that launched her along with Lita Ford. That was arguably the first all-girl rock act to play its own instruments and has never even been nominated. Putting Jett in before nominating them would be like putting Phil Collins in before Genesis. It’s out of order.
Freddie King: Considering the downline of his influence includes artists like Clapton and Led Zeppelin, this should be a shoo-in. Another one that’s long overdue. Let me get this straight, Madonna’s in, but not this guy?
Laura Nyro: This is Nyro’s third consecutive nomination. She must have some very strong supporters on the committee, and her work, while not spectacularly commercially successful, is very influential. I think this is her year.
Red Hot Chili Peppers: It’s their second nomination, and this is a band that will absolutely be in the Hall at some point. Since they’re hot again right now, it’s likely this is the year.
Rufus with Chaka Khan: An interesting nomination, and one that probably has some real support in voting circles, but I don’t think so, not this year.
The Small Faces/The Faces: Another act whose downline influence is probably bigger than its actual career, but I won’t count it out. I’d actually kinda like to see this band sneak in, if only to liven things up in the Hall a bit. At least this nomination isn’t predictable and boring.
The Spinners: Incredibly, this is their first nomination, and likely to be the last, since The Spinners are practically a foregone conclusion for induction.
Donna Summer: Always a bridesmaid, never a bride. This is Summer’s fourth nomination, and it seems like she has enough support to get nominated but not inducted. Part of it may be that everyone knows she is a tremendous singer, but nobody knows whether to call her disco, or pop, or label her in some gospel vein because of her beliefs. Her career doesn’t have one strong narrative, and that plays against her. She’ll eventually get in, but who knows when? Could be this year, could be in ten years.
War: This is an act that critics really like, but it’s hard to make a case for inclusion on the limited strengths of its career or influence. This second nomination gives War a distant shot at best.
Meanwhile, the list of artists still not in the Hall includes such luminaries as The Cars, Humble Pie, KISS, Judas Priest, Ozzy Osbourne (solo), Journey, Hall & Oates, The B-52s, Cheap Trick, Linda Ronstadt, Faith No More, Boston, Styx, Deep Purple, Steve Winwood, Carly Simon, Sting and many, many more.
Who would you like to see in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? Comment below!