It’s the End of My Motown 150: The Top 50 Songs

2.16 Motown Magic

Very few record companies had the impact that Motown as had. Over the years, we had watched as artist after artist attempted to cover songs from the Motown cannon to varying levels of success, with few of them actually coming close to the level of artistic integrity of the original. So, where did the magic come from?

Some have opined that it was the studio, only to have artist after artist try to record there with little success. Others claimed it was their record producers, only to use one of those men to produce an album with little success. And artist after artist attempted writing sessions with some of the big songwriters of the day, only to leave the sessions stymied. So, what was it?

2.16 Stevie Wonder with the Funk Brothers

If you have watched the excellent-though-dated documentary Standing in the Shadows of Motown, you probably know the answer. You see, back in the post-World War II years, there was a migration of poor blacks and whites from the South to Detroit in search of jobs in the automobile factories there. Of course, when a huge influx of people enters an area, so does an influx in musical talent. So, when Barry Gordy Jr. decided to start his own record label, he went in search of the best musicians in the area to become his “house” band. These men were seasoned veterans of the Detroit blues and jazz scenes and were all virtuosos at their craft. The beautiful thing was that they were both black and white musicians who appreciated each other not only for their musical talents but for each other. For some reason, these men, who became known as “The Funk Brothers,” had a chemistry that extended beyond the studio, regardless of the color of their skin. And, they brought a spirituality to their sessions by praying before each one.

No, it wasn’t just the studio or songwriters or producers or songs, it was the musicians who brought it all to life that made Motown special. It was the Funk Brothers. And, this is true of all the great recording studios throughout the history of rock and roll. From Stax to Atlantic to LA to Muscle Shoals, all of the big successful recording studios and record labels of this era had crack studio bands with great chemistry. And the Funk Brothers, in my humble opinion, were the greatest of them all. That is why I have been proposing for the better part of a decade that the whole group known as the Funk Brothers be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

2.16 Funk Brothers recently

You know that The Temptations, The Supremes, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Four Tops and all the rest were unbelievably talented vocalists, and in the case of Gaye and Wonder, talented musicians in their own right. But it was the Funk Brothers who made those songs jump from the speakers. Those guys played uncredited on more hits than Elvis, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones combined. Yet, few know about them.

So, the next time you have a hankering for some Motown music and begin to listen to the music on your prefer mode of audio entertainment, remember that the music of this fabled label was arranged and played by some of the most incredibly talented musicians ever collected in one room. And they like to call themselves the Funk Brothers.

2.16 Motown record labels

So, let’s take at look at the work of the Funk Brothers, who can be found on all the classic music recorded before 1971. By 1972, Motown had left behind Detroit for the glitz of Los Angeles. Not only did Motown abandon Detroit upon their move, they abandoned their crack coterie of blues/jazz/R&B/funk players collectively known as The Funk Brothers.

Now, for the countdown.

2.16 50.Boyz_II_Men_End_of_the_Road

50. Boyz II Men – “End of the Road” (1992)

49. The Undisputed Truth – “Smiling Faces Sometimes” (1971)

48. The Supremes – “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” (1966)

47. The Temptations – “Cloud Nine” (1968)

46. Four Tops – “Baby I Need Your Loving” (1964)

2.16 45.Isn't_She_Lovely_-_Stevie_Wonder

45. Stevie Wonder – “Isn’t She Lovely” (1977)

44. Diana Ross – “I’m Coming Out” (1980)

43. The Miracles – “Love Machine (Part 1)” (1975)

42. Diana Ross – “Love Hangover” (1976)

41. Jackson 5 – “Never Can Say Goodbye” (1971)

2.16 cherie amour

40. Stevie Wonder – “My Cherie Amour” (1969)

39. The Supremes – “Baby Love” (1964)

38. The Miracles – “You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me” (1962)

37. Four Tops – “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)” (1965)

36. The Supremes – “Where Did Our Love Go” (1964)

2.16 35.boogie on reggae woman

35. Stevie Wonder – “Boogie On Reggae Woman” (1974)

34. Smokey Robinson & the Miracles – “I Second That Emotion” (1967)

33. Marvin Gaye – “Got to Give It Up (Part 1)” (1977)

32. The Miracles – “Shop Around” (1960)

31. Marvin Gaye – “Let’s Get It On” (1973)

2.16 30.Tracks_of_my_tears

30. The Miracles – “The Tracks of My Tears” (1965)

29. The Marvelettes – “Please Mr. Postman” (1961)

28. Barrett Strong – “Money (That’s What I Want)” (1959)

27. The Supremes – “Stop! In the Name of Love” (1965)

26. Stevie Wonder – “Higher Ground” (1973)

2.16 25.Easy_by_Commodores

25. Commodores – “Easy” (1977)

24. Jr. Walker & the All Stars – “Shotgun” (1965)

23. Martha & the Vandellas – “(Love Is Like a) Heatwave” (1963)

22. The Contours – “Do You Love Me’ (1962)

21. The Temptations – “Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me)” (1971)

2.16 20.Four-tops-reach-out-1966

20. Four Tops – “Reach Out, I’ll Be There” (1966)

19. The Miracles – “Ooo Baby Baby” (1965)

18. Mary Wells – “My Guy” (1964)

17. The Temptations – “My Girl” (1964)

16. The Supremes – “You Can’t Hurry Love” (1966)

2.16 15.Stevie_wonder-superstition

15. Stevie Wonder – “Superstition” (1972)

14. Jimmy Ruffin – “What Becomes of the Brokenhearted” (1966)

13. Martha & the Vandellas – “Dancing in the Street” (1964)

12. Edwin Starr – “War” (1970)

11. Rick James – “Super Freak” (1981)

2.16 10.ain't-too-proud

10. The Temptations – “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” (1966)

9. Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell – “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” (1967)

8. Marvin Gaye – “What’s Going On” (1971)

7. Jackson 5 – “I Want You Back” (1969)

6. Stevie Wonder – “Sir Duke” (1977)

2.16 5.Standing_in_the_Shadows_of_Love

5. Four Tops – “Standing in the Shadows of Love” (1966)

4. The Temptations – “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” (1972)

3. Smokey Robinson & the Miracles – “The Tears of a Clown” (1970)

2. Martha & the Vandellas – “Nowhere to Run” (1965)

2.16 1.i heard it through the grapevine

1. Marvin Gaye – “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” (1968)

And, there you have it! My Top 150 Motown Songs. Peace.

Day 2 of My 150 Favorite Motown Songs, #51-100

2.16 motown kids

When it comes to music, there are singles, album cuts and albums that have played an important part in the development of my musical tastes. However, the one thing that truly did more in my rock music development was a book entitled The Book of Rock Lists written by former Creem magazine editor Dave Marsh and Kevin Stein. Now, in the Seventies and Eighties Books of Lists were quite the rage, but no one had focused upon rock and roll. That book single-handedly changed everything for me.

Prior to reading The Book of Rock Lists, I mainly listened to Journey, REO Speedwagon and Styx, though I had been discovering artists like Cheap Trick, The Clash, Sex Pistols, Blondie, Devo, The Police, Parliament/Funkadelic and Chic. But, perhaps, nothing changed my musical life more than Chapter 33, entitled “Top of the Pops.”

2.16 Motown package tour

Let me begin by saying, I had no idea at the time the authors were referencing the great weekly British program of the same name with that title. More importantly, Marsh and Stein made an effort to list the best 40 songs and albums for each year of the rock era, which at the time spanned from 1955 through 1980. They used the criteria that each song and album had to have reached the Top 40 of Billboard’s charts for albums and singles. As I read those lists, I discovered that the definition of rock and roll was far more inclusive than I had previously been lead to believe. When I finished that chapter, I gained the confidence that my tastes in music were in line with some of my favorite rock critics. At that moment, my definition of rock and roll expanded to include my beloved Hall & Oates, and that rock and roll included not only poppish artists but black, jazz and country artists as well. So, instead of focusing upon a small, white (artist)-based sound, I was free to include disco, R&B, the Raspberries, southern rock, the Jackson 5 and folk musics in my definition of rock and roll. Suddenly, music went from a thing of relaxation and enjoyment to something of an obsession. And, it remains that way today.

It was while reading this book that I learned how an important of a role Motown played in the development of rock and roll both directly and indirectly. These men showed me the company’s importance by the number of singles and albums recorded by their artists found in their yearly lists in Chapter 33. Suddenly, this skinny lad from the flatlands of Central Indiana found it enrichening as he played Alice Cooper, followed by Thelma Houston, then Journey, Tom Tom Club, Kenny Loggins, Heart, Marvin Gaye, etc. while making mixtapes.

2.16 MJ steals Motown 25

This revelation influenced by DJ-ing as well. Suddenly, I found it musically amusing to watch kids dancing to dance tunes by Donna Summer and Frankie Smith, only to have songs by The Clash or Devo or, God forbid, Foreigner slid into the mix without anyone leaving the dancefloor. All of this was possibly due to The Book of Rock Lists, especially that now-fabled Chapter 33.

Rick James At Home

And Motown, especially that classic stuff from the Sixties, was still so good that kids of the early-Eighties continued to dance to those joyous, carefree songs. Plus, Motown seemed to just put a smile on the faces of those on the dancefloors. And, I’ve kept those memories locked with the sounds of those classic songs.

So, let’s get that countdown restarted, beginning with number 100 on my list of my 150 favorite Motown songs. 

2.16 100.The_Way_You_Do_the_Things_You_Do_-_Temptations

100. The Temptations – “The Way You Do the Things You Do” (1964)

99. Lionel Richie – “All Night Long (All Night)” (1983)

98. Teena Marie – “I Need Your Lovin’” (1980)

97. The Supremes – “Love Child” (1968)

96. The Temptations – “Runaway Child, Running Wild” (1969)

95. Stevie Wonder – “I Wish” (1976)

94. Rare Earth – “I Want to Celebrate” (1971)

93. Mary Jane Girls – “In My House” (1985)

92. Mary Wells – “Two Lovers” (1962)

91. Jackson 5 – “ABC” (1970)

2.16 90.quiet storm

90. Smokey Robinson – “Quiet Storm” (1975)

89. Stevie Wonder – “That Girl” (1982)

88. Diana Ross – “Touch Me in the Morning” (1973)

87. The Temptations – “Psychedelic Shack” (1970)

86. Martha & the Vandellas – “Jimmy Mack” (1967)

85. The Supremes – “Stoned Love” (1970)

84. Gladys Knight & the Pips – “I Don’t Want to Do Wrong” (1971)

83. Lionel Richie & Diana Ross – “Endless Love” (1981)

82. Marvin Gaye – “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)” (1964)

81. Rockwell – “Somebody’s Watching Me” (1984)

2.16 80.boogie down

80. Eddie Kendricks – “Boogie Down” (1973)

79. Jackson 5 – “I’ll Be There” (1970)

78. Gladys Knight & the Pips – “If I Were Your Woman” (1970)

77. Commodores – “Nightshift” (1985)

76. The Temptations – “(I Know) I’m Losing You” (1966)

75. Little Stevie Wonder – “Fingertips (Part II)” (1963)

74. Marvin Gaye & Kim Westin – “It Takes Two” (1966)

73. Stevie Wonder – “For Once in My Life” (1968)

72. Smokey Robinson – “Cruisin’” (1979)

71. Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell – “Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing” (1968)

2.16 70.Neither_One_of_Us_(Wants_to_Be_the_First_to_Say_Goodbye)_-_Gladys_Knight_&_the_Pips

70. Gladys Knight & the Pips – “Neither One of Us (Wants to Be the First to Say Goodbye)” (1972)

69. Stevie Wonder – “Uptight (Everything’s Alright)” (1965)

68. Isley Brothers – “This Old Heart of Mine (Is Weak for You)” (1966)

67. Four Tops – “It’s the Same Old Song” (1965)

66. The Temptations – “Ball of Confusion (That’s What the World Is Today)” (1970)

65. The Marvelettes – “Beechwood 4-5789” (1962)

64. Marvin Gaye – “Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)” (1971)

63. Dazz Band – “Let It Whip” (1982)

62. The Supremes – “Come See About Me” (1964)

61. Commodores – “Brick House” (1977)

2.16 60.master blaster

60. Stevie Wonder – “Master Blaster (Jammin’)” (1980)

59. David Ruffin – “My Whole World Ended (The Moment You Left Me)” (1969)

58. Diana Ross – “Theme from Mahogany (Do You Know Where You’re Going To)” (1975)

57. Eddie Kendricks – “Keep on Truckin’ (Part 1)” (1973)

56. Thelma Houston – “Don’t Leave Me This Way” (1976)

55. The Temptations – “I Can’t Get Next to You” (1969)

54. Gladys Knight & the Pips – “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” (1967)

53. Johnny Gill – “Rub You the Right Way” (1990)

52. David Ruffin – “Walk Away from Love” (1975)

2.16 51.three times a lady

51. Commodores – “Three Times a Lady” (1978)

I hope to finish this off this week. Peace.

Motown in 150 Songs, Day 1

2.16 Motown

Honestly, I think I was born with Motown ingrained into my DNA. Of course, I had no idea what Motown was when I was little. I simply knew what songs I liked and those I did not, though many of those grew on me as I got older. As I watch my grandchildren react to music, there is something innately programmed into us to want to dance. So, when I heard Motown artists, Mom said I would dance through the house.

As I got older, Motown’s music continued to move me. I distinctly remember being an elementary kid when Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On” was a hit. Since I realized early on that I lacked musical talent, I focused on the lyrics. And, “What’s Going On” spoke to me. I probably did not understand everything that was going on in the song, but I knew anguish and despair when I heard it. And, Marvin was in pain, and that knowledge moved me. Still, I did not know Gaye was a Motown artist.

2.16 Hitsville USA Studio & Museum

Eventually, I began to learn that this label called Motown was and continued to be a label that was home to many talented artists who I loved. I was the right age for Stevie Wonder to be a major artist on the radio, and old enough to watch a majority of my classmates get excited during lunch whenever the jukebox would play “Love Machine (Part 1)” by The Miracles. Through in Thelma Houston’s “Don’t Leave Me This Way” and a little live Marvin Gaye ditty called “Got to Give It Up,” and we’d have a nice soundtrack to our lunch period.

When I got to college, I immediately discovered that some of my favorite new wave artists, like Culture Club and The Style Council, had a Motown-fixation that was a definite influence on their music. With that in mind, I slowly began to accumulate some Motown music. And, whenever I read a rock history book, there was always large portions of the book reserved for this formerly Detroit-based label and its subsidiaries (Tamla, Melo-dy, etc.). It was then I learned that Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, The Temptations, Four Tops and The Supremes had all grown up together. And, that Stevie Wonder blew the whole “Motown Family” away as a pre-teen by playing almost every instrument in the fabled Hitsville U.S.A. studio at the Motown building (which was actually a small home).

2.16 Temptations

And during those same college years, I began to weave Motown songs into my party mixtapes, discovering these beautifully classic songs kept the party rocking. It was then that I realized I was not the only person in my age group who loved Motown, arguably the greatest record label with the finest array of musical talent.

Today, I am going to begin another of my series of Favorite Songs of an artist, genre or, like the next few days, a record company. Therefore, let’s no longer delay the countdown. Kick it!

2.16 150.Rhythm_of_the_Night

150. DeBarge – “Rhythm of the Night” (1985)

149. Bobby Taylor & the Vancouvers – “Does Your Mama Know About Me” (1968)

148. Stevie Wonder – “Overjoyed” (1985)

147. Rick James – “You and Me” (1978)

146. G.C. Cameron – “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday” (1975)

145. Brenda Holloway – “Every Little Bit Hurts” (1964)

144. Smokey Robinson – “One Heartbeat” (1987)

143. Eddie Holland – “Jamie” (1961)

142. The Velvelettes – “Needle in a Haystack” (1964)

141. Commodores – “Lady (You Bring Me Up)” (1981)

2.16 140.signed sealed delivered

140. Stevie Wonder – “Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I’m Yours)” (1970)

139. Smokey Robinson – “Just to See Her” (1987)

138. Michael Jackson – “Ben” (1972)

137. The Supremes – “Back in My Arms Again” (1965)

136. Commodores – “Sail On” (1979)

135. Shanice – “I Love Your Smile” (1991)

134. Marvin Gaye – “I Want You” (1976)

133. Jermaine Jackson – “Let’s Get Serious” (1980)

132. Mary Wells – “The One Who Really Loves You” (1962)

131. The Spinners – “It’s a Shame” (1970)

2.16 130.Love-u-save-jackson5

130. Jackson 5 – “The Love You Save” (1970)

129. Commodores – “Oh No” (1981)

128. Stevie Wonder – “You Haven’t Done Nothin’” (1974)

127. Boyz II Men – “Motownphilly” (1991)

126. Kim Weston – “Take Me in Your Arms (Rock Me a Little While)” (1965)

125. Lionel Richie – “Truly” (1982)

124. Marvin Gaye – “Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)” (1971)

123. Stevie Wonder – “I Was Made to Love You” (1967)

122. Diana Ross – “Upside Down” (1980)

121. Mary Wells – “You Beat Me to the Punch” (1962)

2.16 120.On Bended Knee B2M

120. Boyz II Men – “On Bended Knee” (1994)

119. Stevie Wonder – “You Are the Sunshine of My Life” (1973)

118. Rare Earth – “Get Ready” (1970)

117. Smokey Robinson – “Being with You” (1981)

116. Commodores – “Still” (1979)

115. Stevie Wonder – “I Ain’t Gonna Stand for It” (1980)

114. Another Bad Creation – “Iesha” (1991)

113. Lionel Richie – “Stuck on You” (1983)

112. Billy Preston & Syreeta – “With You I’m Born Again” (1979)

111. The Marvelettes – “The Hunter Gets Captured by the Game” (1966)


110. Michael Jackson – “Got to Be There” (1971)

109. Rick James – “Give It to Me Baby” (1981)

108. Four Tops – “Bernadette” (1967)

107. Bettye LaVette – “Right in the Middle (Of Falling in Love)” (1981)

106. Brenda Holloway – “You’ve Made Me So Very Happy” (1967)

105. Stevie Wonder – “Living for the City” (1973)

104. Bonnie Pointer – “Heaven Must Have Sent You” (1978)

103. Boyz II Men – “I’ll Make Love to You” (1994)

102. The Supremes – “I Hear a Symphony” (1965)

2.16 101.ain't no mountain

101. Diana Ross – “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” (1970)

Next time, let’s do 50 more. Peace.

Who’s Gonna Be Inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame This Year?

2.11 rock-hall-2021-nominees

At 0800 EST in the USA on Wednesday, February 10, 2021, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame announced its 16-artist Nominees List from which five to seven will become members of the Class of 2021 Induction Class for the Hall. And, every year, a coterie of rock music aficionados, loosely known as The Hall Watchers, will converse through various modes of electronic communication, though we mostly found on Twitter waxing poetic about our favorite artists we swear is being snubbed the most by The Hall’s Nominating Committee. I must say that this loosely organized covey consists of some very fine people with interesting occupations, all of whom have a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame fetish.

To be perfectly honest, I have learned a cornucopia of information about the inner workings and politics of the Hall, as well as gained some insight concerning the nomination process. Yet, for all the faults built into the Hall, I still love it. Back during my college days, I read an article in Rolling Stone magazine that the rag’s owner, Jann Wenner, wanted to head a monetary drive to open a Hall of Fame for the world of rock music. The vision of the place would be a museum with displays honoring artists from all eras, covering the pre-rock & roll Fifties up to and including the most current flavor of the moment. And, if you have ever visited the place, located in Cleveland, Ohio, it is truly magical. So much so that even my lovely wife, who only has a passing interest in music, found the Hall to be one of her favorite places we have ever visited, which includes her beloved Disney World. And, she still puts the RRHOF ahead of Magic Kingdom and the rest of the sprawling land containing the so-called “Happiest Place on Earth” (my boys, during their teenage years, would beg to disagree). The Hall, on the other hand, was just breath-taking.

2.11 RRHOF nominees meme

Over the years, we have told our friends that they would love the place. So much so that after the pandemic so been slowed enough, there will be a caravan of crazies from Central Indiana making our own pilgrimage of sorts to Northeastern Ohio to visit this I.M. Pei shrine to the most influential artform of the twentieth century. I really want this trip to be my entry back into the world of humanity.

Anyway, every year, my social media friends and I write our annual blogs or create our annual podcasts as to our predictions for the Nominee List for the RRHOF. And, every year, each of us praise some of the choices on the list and bemoan those whom have been snubbed. Personally, I love to see how many of the artists I predicted actually end up on the list. Now, I always have one artist that is a personal favorite of mine who I become known as that person’s biggest fan. Up until their their 2016 induction, I kept adding Cheap Trick’s name to my list, even telling my boys that I would boycott the Hall until the band from Rockford, Illinois were finally let into the place. So, since 2016, my boycott is over, and Cheap Trick is an inducted member of the RRHOF. Since that time, I have placed The Jam, my beloved artist Paul Weller’s FIRST induction-worthy band, on my prediction for that year’s Nominee List. Unfortunately, The Jam’s snubbing continues into 2021. C’mon people! Ya gotta induct The Jam, then solo Paul Weller, then, when the world finally catches up to the visionary work of his Eighties band, The Style Council. And, right now, I am suffering a little bit more each year The Jam is left off the ballot for induction. Watch out friends! I may have to turn up the heat a bit for this terrific first-wave punk band.

So, let’s review my list from 29 October 2020. On that day, I wrote a blog entitled “Will Anyone Listen to Me? My Picks for the Nominees List for the 2021 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.” First off, what a long, meandering headline! What was I thinking? No wonder few people actually read the damn thing! Oh, Christ! Anyway, who was on my list? Here it is! I predicted the Nominee List would consist of the following artists: Foo Fighters, Jay-Z, heavy metal gods Judas Priest, dark prog rockers King Crimson, German synthesizer pioneers Kraftwerk, 80s rap god LL Cool J, 60s political proto-punks MC5, 80s hard rock pioneer Pat Benatar, 70s funkateers Rufus & Chaka Khan, Seattle grunge gods Soundgarden, New Wave dance gurus The B-52’s, punk pop pioneers The Go-Go’s, my punk faves The Jam, rock’s greatest comeback queen Tina Turner and my other favorite, rock & roll producer/rocker/video visionary and all-around Renaissance man Todd Rundgren. That means that I got 6.5 correct out of my 15 choices, which, in my mind, sucks.

2.11 RRHOF

To begin with, how can Pat Benatar and Soundgarden get left off the 2021 after having Top 5 showings in the Fan Voting in 2020? That is an insult, especially to Benatar after finishing second in that balloting. Next, Kraftwerk was just ONE ballot away from getting an automatic induction into the Hall if they had made the Nominee List in 2021. This is known as the seven consecutive nominations rule. Get nominated seven times in a row, and you get an automatic induction. Guess we couldn’t allow that to happen, exactly the same thing the Hall did to Chic, whom have not been nominated since 2016 when the Hall, in its infinite wisdom, inducted band member Nile Rodgers while thumbing their collective noses at the rest of the band. That was bad form!

So, here are the 16 Nominees for the 2021 Induction Class for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. The five to seven nominees will be announced sometime in May 2021 with the induction ceremony to take place in Cleveland in November 2021. After many complaints, the Nominating Committee finally put together a very diverse list of men and women, straight and otherwise and of various nationalities and races. For that I am thankful and pleased. And, the quality of the nominees is terrific, covering many genres within the rock world.

And, the nominees are…

2.11 blige

Mary J. Blige. This is Miss Blige’s first nomination. She is the Voice of the Nineties and the diva from Generation X. What made her a more approachable diva as opposed to Mariah Carey is that Blige has much more street cred. She was never afraid of acknowledging that in her music, which transposed her peerless vocals against music grounded in hip hop. She is very deserving of this nomination, but it just is not her year…YET!

2.11 bush

Kate Bush. Miss Bush hit my radar in two ways. First, I had a pen pal from      Australia who was fanatical in her devotion to Kate Bush. Then, I saw her perform one very quirky near-art performance of her British hit song at the time on SNL. Of course, being a teenage male, I was taken immediately by her beautiful. Then, her unusual singing style immediately hooked me. In the Eighties, Bush developed a cult following in the US, while attaining star status in the UK and throughout the British empire. I still think her cult status here in the States will hurt her induction chances this year. Yet, I do envision her induction one day. Unfortunately, she is suffering due to the stupid backlog of worthy artists that needs to be rectified by the Hall ASAP.

Devo - 1980

Devo. If you were a teen in the late-70s/early 80s, you were taken by the whole performance art schtick of Devo immediately after seeing them deconstruct “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” on SNL  in 1978 and then again in 1980 when the performed a rousing version of “Uncontrollable Urge” on the late, great ABC late night sketch comedy show Fridays! A whole generation of computer geeks got sucked into Devo’s world, not unlike we got sucked into “Dungeons and Dragons” back in the day. This band is on the edge of getting the call and being left out again.

2.11 foo fighters

Foo Fighters. Nobody is surprised that Dave Grohl’s second band was nominated during their first year of eligibility. My older son has described Grohl as being the last of the traditional rock stars with a dynamic stage presence. The last thing about these Nineties alternative nation survivors is they are still creating excellent music, as heard on their brand new LP called Medicine at Midnight, which happens to be one of the best albums ever. The Foos are a slam dunk to be inducted.

2.11 go gos

The Go-Go’s. This band became a trendy pick for nomination after all the positive reviews and stories of their excellent documentary The Go-Go’s. By now, you know they were the first all-female band who wrote their own songs to have a number one album on Billboard’s Top 200 Albums Chart back in the spring of 1982. After Joan Jett and Heart, you cannot underestimate this band’s lasting impact. Just ask recent inductees Green Day who one of their biggest influences are. The Go-Go’s will definitely be one of that band’s bigger influences.

2.11 iron-maiden

Iron Maiden. Heavy metal has be unfairly marginalized. Sure, Sabbath, Zep and Metallica are all in, along with hard rock stalwarts AC/DC. but recent nominees like Judas Priest, Motörhead and Thin Lizzy have been unfairly passed over. Could Maiden’s first nomination be enough to get the boys in the Hall? I think it could.

2.11 jay-z

Jay-Z. Arguably one of rap’s greatest MCs, Jay-Z should be a slam dunk for induction during his initial year of eligibility. It doesn’t hurt him that his Mr. Beyoncé either.

2.11 chaka khan

Chaka Khan. This poor woman! Sometimes she has been nominated with her former band of funk masters Rufus, and other times as a solo artist. She should be inducted in both manners. Her non-induction should be remedied soon. Unfortunately, 2021 won’t be the year for her.

Photo of Carole KING

Carole King. Can you believe this lady has NOT been inducted as a performer yet? This has been one of the biggest outrages of the past 30 years. She should be in the Hall if she had only recorded Tapestry. When she is inducted, this will become her second induction, with the first being as a songwriter with her ex-husband and former songwriting partner Gerry Goffin. Many have been yelling sexism concerning her exclusion. I expect this oversight to finally be rectified this year.

2.11 fela kuti

Fela Kuti. Few artists of color have done more for the music of their country outside of Bob Marley and Jamaica than Kuti has done with funkified versions of his native Nigeria’s music. World music artists have long been overlooked outside of a couple of reggae studs. Fela’s nomination was the feel-good left field nomination we get each year. Now, people will stream his long-deserving material much like everyone (re)discovered John Prine after his surprise nomination a couple of years ago. Unfortunately, Kuti will not be inducted this year, meaning the backlog of deserving artists continues to grow.

2.11 ll cool j

LL Cool J. One of the first transcendent hip hop stars of the Eighties, LL has been overlooked for a very long time since he has been concentrating on his acting career. But, back in the day, he was every bit as good as Run-DMC and Kurtis Blow (another overlooked rapper). He was dominate in the Eighties, at least until Eric B. & Rakim and Public Enemy came along. And they inspired LL Cool J to greater heights with Mama Said Knock You Out. Unfortunately, with Jay-Z on the ballot, LL will be outside looking in again.

2.11 new york dolls

New York Dolls. So what?! They dressed up like women. Everyone does that now and again. However, not in the Seventies. Therefore, no one, especially in the Midwest, took the band seriously. If they had just debuted three years later, they would have been punk heroes. Instead, they are another of the proto-punk bands beloved by those in the know, like we love The Stooges (inducted in 2010) and MC5 (still not in either). This band is on the fence for induction.

2.11 RATM

Rage Against the Machine. The band took the political fury of MC5, The Clash and Woody Guthrie, set it to metal music with a guitar that could sound like a scratching turntable in hip hop and hip hop rhythms to create something totally new and unique. RATM is yet another band that is straddling the fence this year.

2.11 rundgren

Todd Rundgren. Rundgren is still one of my personal all-time faves, so I think he should be inducted. And, honestly, I believe things are breaking his way. He just might be inducted, whether he says he cares or not.

2.11 turner

Tina Turner. That’s right! She has not been inducted for her stellar solo career. Oh, she was inducted as part of Ike & Tina Turner along with her asshole ex-husband who made Tina into a punching bag during their marriage. But, Tina ran off in the middle of the night in order to escape Ike, resumed her career, and became one of the best artists of the Eighties.

2.11 warwick

Dionne Warwick. This woman made Burt Bacharach’s middle of the road music come alive, with a touch of soul. Dionne’s craft was one of vocal restraint and not fireworks as her niece, Whitney Houston, made as her calling card. Warwick is another singer that people will find surprising that she is not an inductee. Since becoming a witty Twitter user over the winter, Warwick’s presence is at an new high, which means that she just might get inducted.

So, which of the outstanding 16 acts do I believe will be inducted? Usually, when choosing, we only go with five acts, since that was the policy of the RRHOF that caused this massive backlog of uninducted artists. Personally, I believe there are four slam dunks: Jay-Z, Foo Fighters, Carole King and Tina Turner. My fifth is Todd Rundgren. If the Hall went with six inductees, as they have the past few years, I believe The Go-Go’s will get in. After that, I put the rest in this order of their chances: Dionne Warwick (7), Devo (8), Iron Maiden (9), New York Dolls (10), Rage Against the Machine (11), Chaka Khan (12), Kate Bush (13), LL Cool J (14), Fela Kuti (15) and Mary J. Blige (16).

This does not mean I dislike any of these fine artists. I just believe some of these people have a better chance of induction right now than some of the others. I can’t wait to discover just how wrong I have been!