Yesterday, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame did the appropriate thing to take everyone’s minds off the horrifying scenes of the Las Vegas shooting gallery, as well as the untimely death of rock hero Tom Petty. The Nominating Committee released the list of nominees for induction into the Class of 2018. To me, a HUGE fan of the Hall of Fame and Museum, the list was strange. For the first time in over a decade, Chic was not nominated. Once again, would the RRHOF had inducted Donald Fagin without Walter Becker? No, Steely Dan is in. How about John Oates without Daryl Hall? No, the most successful duo in rock history went in together. What about only one of the Everly brother without the other? No way! But, since Chic was a disco band, let’s exclude the band, and thus Bernard Edwards and only induct Nile Rodgers! That was cowardly!
Once again, Motown artists have seemed to have stopped being nominated for induction. At this time, the RRHOF is still missing three important Motown artists. First, THE female singer of the pre-solo Diana Ross days, Mary Wells of “My Guy” fame is still sitting outside of the Hall. Also MIA in the Hall are the Miracles, who for some reason were left out of the Hall while lead singer Smokey Robinson was inducted. Go figure! And, finally, the last major Motown girl group who has been left out are the Marvelettes. Those ladies notched the iconic label’s FIRST number one pop hit with “Please Mr. Postman”. Of course, no one is working to get this fixed.
Now, I understand that the Baseball Hall of Fame does not induct the people who invented the curve ball, cut fastball, split-finger fastball, or any other pitch. But, they do induct the pitchers who successfully made one of those pitches their calling cards. Likewise, with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, except they do attempt to shine a light on innovators. The problem is they are missing some key pieces to the rock and roll puzzle. The RRHOF is missing such guitar innovators as Link Wray, Dick Dale and Duane Eddy. Power pop progenitors like Big Star, Todd Rundgren and Raspberries have long been ignored. The godfathers of punk, such as MC5, New York Dolls and The Jam, are all on the outside. Country rock would not have become the iconic genre it is today without Gram Parsons, the Flying Burrito Brothers, Willie Nelson, Patsy Cline and Merle Haggard. The funk still needs Chic, Rick James, Zapp and the Gap Band, while hip hop deserves Afrika Bambaataa, LL Cool J, Eric B & Rakim, De La Soul, Dr. Dre and A Tribe Called Quest. Need some female divas? How about Whitney Houston, Chaka Khan, Patti Labelle, Mariah Carey and Janet Jackson. Want some jazz? Throw John Coltrane and Herbie Hancock. Icons from the Fifties? The Rock and Roll Trio. The Sixties? Paul Revere & the Raiders, Moody Blues, The Zombies, Love. Metal? Bon Jovi, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Def Leppard. Okay, you get the picture.
So, here is the list of nominees of the Class of 2018. I have added song that best exemplifies each artist.
Bon Jovi – The Eighties hair metal icons from Jersey. “Livin’ on a Prayer”.
Kate Bush – The English chanteuse with art rock leanings. “Running Up That Hill”.
The Cars – The Classic Rock band with New Wave touches and pop smarts. “My Best Friend’s Girl”.
Depeche Mode – The synth pop band from the Eighties whose popularity rose as they became darker. “Personal Jesus”.
Dire Straits – Brought Bob Dylan-esque rock back during the days of disco, only to become one of the biggest bands in the world by 1985. “Money for Nothing”.
Eurythmics – A synth pop band with a soulful vocalist and multi-talented instrumentalist/producer. “Who’s That Girl”.
J. Geils Band – The premier American blues-rock party band. “Love Stinks”.
Judas Priest – The first twin lead guitar attack of heavy metal with a banshee wail of a lead singer, while dressed in leather. “You’ve Got Another Thing Coming”.
LL Cool J – THE biggest solo rapper of the Eighties. “I Can’t Live Without My Radio”.
MC5 – The overtly leftist punk/neo-metal band of the late-Sixties/early-Seventies. “Kick Out the Jams”.
The Meters – THE New Orleans funk band. “Hey Pocky A-Way”.
Moody Blues – Seems like the first band to successfully merge classical music pretensions with rock music. “Nights in White Satin”.
Radiohead – One of the more innovative and critically acclaimed bands still standing from the Nineties. “Paranoid Android”.
Rage Against the Machine – The overtly leftist punk/metal/rap band of the Nineties. “Testify”.
Rufus featuring Chaka Khan – Seventies interracial funk band fronted by huge-voiced Chaka Khan. “Tell Me Something Good”.
Nina Simone – R&B singer/songwriter and Civil Rights activist who transcended music in the Sixties. “Mississippi Goddamn”.
Sister Rosetta Tharpe – Often referred to as the first female rock star, this gospel/R&B singer/guitarist laid the groundwork for all future female (and male) rockers. “Strange Things Happening Every Day”.
Link Wray – The father of the power chord and one of rock’s first guitar heroes. “Rumble”.
The Zombies – Outside of the more famous British Invasion bands of the Sixties, the Zombies’ influence has grown exponentially as the decades passed with their pioneering brand of psych-rock that is popular today. “Time of the Season”.
Of these artists, I think Radiohead is a shoo-in, and Bon Jovi will win the fan’s popularity contest on the RRHOF website. So, those are the easiest to predict. After that, somewhere between three and eight more of these nominees will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2018. Personally, I think that this year is LL Cool J‘s year to finally get the call, as he is the only hip hop artist nominated. Another artist that I think will be inducted is The Cars, who have been nominated for the third straight year. Finally, since there is a highly regarded Netflix documentary about her right now, Nina Simone seems primed for induction, much like Joan Baez was last year.
After those five, it’s anyone’s guess. I know that Rage Against the Machine has the backing of Bruce Springsteen and Little Steven, so I would not be surprised if they get in. However, their resume is nearly the same as MC5, so who knows? The Eurythmics and Depeche Mode represent the English synth pop category, so only one of them will probably get in. I lean toward the band with Annie Lennox’ soulful vocals, plus I remember how big of a deal it was back in 2000 when they reunited for an album and tour. Something just tells me Eurythmics could be the first real MTV stars to get inducted.
And, as we all know, heavy metal is underrepresented in the Hall, so Judas Priest has a really good chance for induction. And, many do not remember just how big Dire Straits was by the time they quit making records. They were playing stadiums throughout the world in 1985 through 1989! However, this year is too loaded for their induction. The Moody Blues and The Zombies represent the dwindling remains of the original British Invasion, so they may cancel each other. However, the Moody Blues fan club has been petitioning the hall on their behalf for nearly TWENTY years to be inducted. That may finally sway some voters.
And, for me, that leaves everyone else. I love Kate Bush, but she always been a cult artist here. Likewise, I own loads of albums by the J. Geils Band, and if you want to party music, they are the band for you. But, unfortunately, they will not get in either. And, as far as Rufus featuring Chaka Khan is concerned, they will not get in. Three years ago, they were nominated, with the following two years only Chaka got nominated, so I think Chaka alone will be the nominee. And, as far as the last three are concerned, they will not get in unless they are rightfully inducted as pioneers, which would be an awesome way to get these super important influences: Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Link Wray and The Meters.
So, my basic five predictions are Radiohead, Bon Jovi, Nina Simone, LL Cool J, and The Cars. Now, my next tier would be Eurythmics, Rage Against the Machine, Judas Priest and the Moody Blues. Those who definitely will be waiting for another year for their induction include Depeche Mode, MC5, the J.Geils Band, The Zombies and Rufus featuring Chaka Khan. Then, those nominees who need some divine intervention for induction are Kate Bush, The Meters, Sister Rosetta Tharpe and Link Wray.
Now, I cannot wait until December for the announcement of the Hall’s Class of 2018 inductees. I really hope they induct more than five artists, since it makes for a way better show on HBO!