14.11.16

ROCK & ROLL HALL OF FAME – 2017 Inductees




Once again I am called upon to vote for nominees to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, that worthy American Institution in Cleveland where the great and the good who produce the music we love are mounted like statues along ‘Route 66’. Some of those nominated have been up before, others are new, but as the years go by I cannot be alone in thinking that time has eroded the eminence of the nominees, of which this year there are 19, an unusually large amount. As ever I can pick five.
In alphabetical order they are: Bad Brains, Joan Baez, The Cars, Chic, Depeche Mode, Electric Light Orchestra, Janet Jackson, Jane’s Addiction, The J. Geils Band, Journey, Chaka Khan, Kraftwerk, MC5, Pearl Jam, Tupac Shakur, Steppenwolf, Joe Tex, Yes and The Zombies. It’s a mixed bunch to say the least, ranging from folk to prog, with pretty much everything in between – R&B, soul, AOR, punk, eletro, new wave, grunge, rap, you name it. I don’t think I have ever been faced with such a wide choice.
Interestingly, The Smiths – for whom I have voted in the past but who failed to be inducted – are not on the voter form this time around. Was Morrissey spectacularly rude about the HoF? If so I must have missed it. I’d vote for Johnny Marr any day.
But let us now consider who I can vote for. In the past I have nominated both Kraftwerk and Yes and I will do so again.
Townshend’s work on Who’s Next aside, Kraftwerk’s pioneering use of synthesisers is the foundation for modern dance music and in addition they wrote some lovely, sensuous melodies, of which ‘Europe Endless’ and ‘Neon Lights’ are supreme examples. Regrettably, as I noted before, only Ralf Hütter of the ‘classic’ Kraftwerk (Ralf, Florian, Karl & Wolfgang, all nominated) is still in the group and he’s alienated the other three by sustaining the lucrative KW franchise all for himself, and this might compromise their situation with regard to the ceremony in the event that they are inducted. There is no love lost between the four of them, not least because Hütter is fabulously wealthy and the others aren’t. Nevertheless, they deserve to be in there, even if the way in which they conducted their career was the antithesis of the clichéd rock'n'roll lifestyle.
I have some history with Yes, as can be seen from the two posts about them on this blog, and for them to be inducted would be a fitting tribute to their late bass player Chris Squire, the only Yesman to stay the course through dozens of personnel changes, and also to fellow co-founder, singer Jon Anderson, whose health has given cause for concern in recent years. Incidentally no fewer than eight former or active members of the group have been nominated: Jon and Chris, together with guitarists Steve Howe and Trevor Rabin, keyboard players Tony Kaye and Rick Wakeman, and drummers Bill Bruford and Alan White.
So who else? Let’s eliminate a few first. Perhaps shamefully (and this hasn’t happened before), I am insufficiently familiar with the work of Bad Brains, Jane’s Addiction and Joe Tex to consider them. Joan Baez is a folk singer with a wondrous voice and a renowned activist on the left side of the political divide but she isn’t rock’n’roll. ELO were never my cup of tea, ditto Chaka Khan, Janet Jackson and Tupac Shakur. Although I’m familiar with their stuff, I wasn’t much of a fan of The Cars, Journey or Pearl Jam.
That leaves six, of which I can pick three: Chic, Depeche Mode, The J. Geils Band, MC5, Steppenwolf and The Zombies. Well, it’s a crime that Nile Rodgers isn’t already a member of the HoF and Chic have been nominated before, so there’s one of my votes. Depeche Mode will have another chance. The J. Geils Band deserve to be in but it’s not a crime they’re not, not yet anyway. MC5 were America’s first punks, anti-establishment to the max, and I want to vote for them, especially now if you get my drift. As is well known, Steppenwolf coined the term ‘heavy metal’ but, ‘Born To be Wild’ aside, what else? The Zombies were great (and I had a passing acquaintance with the late Paul Atkinson when he worked as an A&R man for Columbia Records in New York in the 70s) and I want to vote them in.
So it looks like Chic, MC5 and The Zombies alongside Kraftwerk and Yes. Any Just Backdated readers care to differ and sway my intentions? I need to get my vote in by December 15, so don’t hang around.

14 comments:

  1. Chic and Kraftwerk certainly deserving. Not necessarily "my thing" but a huge and positive influence on others who are. (Bowie for one). Otherwise, Looks like everyone's gonna be nominated in the end until everyone gets one.

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  2. Yes, sooner or later it'll be standing room only. I suspect J Geils are a certainly because they know (or are admired by) the right people.

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    1. For me it s MC5,Steppenwolf, J Geils. Now that l call rock n roll......

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    2. For me it s MC5,Steppenwolf, J Geils. Now that l call rock n roll......

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  4. Chic & Kraftwerk are head and shoulders above the rest for me. I'd say Chaka Khan too but that one seems to be lost already

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  5. Hmmm sadly it looks like we are getting to the bottom of the barrel now that most of the big acts have been pretty much inducted by the Hall. My picks would be:

    1. Yes
    2. The Zombies
    3. Steppenwolf
    4. Electric Light Orchestra
    5. Chic

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  6. Do yourself a favour and buy a Joe Tex compilation, read this http://sirshambling.com/articles/joe_tex/index.php then vote for him.

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    1. Thank you, I have ordered an Anthology album and may revise my voting. CC

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  7. I'll ask this every year until he's in: why hasn't Nicky Hopkins been inducted as a crucial sideman?

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  8. Yes should have been in at the very beginning. Never understood the prejudice against them.

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  9. OK it's not yet midnight here:
    Use the TERM "Rock n' Roll" and NOT include J. Geils is a crime.
    J Geils is the only thing close to "real" RnR

    except perhaps Zombies (before my time though) an Joe Tex w/ whom I'm likewise not familiar but could there be some REASON? I like very much Yes, Rick Wakeman &tc but ELP more - and both those are PREFIXED by "art" or "prog" but I guess we live in times where language matters not ... plus I'm totally ignorant of how HOF works Lol!
    Glad Tidings & FANTASTIC blog BTW

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  10. apologies for the ex post facto remark - steppenwolf was another legitimate act if LIMITED in grooves to "magic carpet ride" & ? as pointed out, at least it DOES have a groove ... and MC5 - likewise just don't know anything about ... but the day janet jackson is a rnr HOFer is when subscription gets canceled

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