Here we go folks! My Top 10 acts of the rock and roll era that have been the most unjustly overlooked of all the acts eligible for induction in 2022. Some may be a surprises, while others may not. Regardless, let’s get this thing rolling.
10. Joy Division (“Love Will Tear Us Apart,” 1980)/New Order (“Bizarre Love Triangle,” 1986). I snuck this one in on you. Then again, maybe not. Whatever! I pulled the old Parliament/Funkadelic-slash-The Small Faces/The Faces move by inducting two bands who having overlapping band members. Joy Division, that Manchester, England band that brought the lexicon of “mope rock” to the rock and roll dictionary. But, after lead singer and lyricist Ian Curtis killed himself, the remaining members of guitarist/keyboardist Bernard Sumner, bassist Peter Hook and drummer Stephen Morris were left without a front man. It was at this point that the band embraced the synth pop scene, added keyboardist Gillian Gilbert while Sumner took on vocals. The version named themselves New Order, taking them somber sound of Joy Division into the Eighties by giving their sound a more icy yet danceable feel. Both bands deserve induction and what better, and more efficient, way to honor the dual forms?
9. The Jam (“Going Underground,” 1980). My beloved Paul Weller’s first band was The Jam, a punk band who embraced the whole 60s mod scene that spawned such punk-forerunners as The Who and The Small Faces. The cool thing about Mods is that they NEVER forgot to embrace R&B music in their power poppish rock. Initially, The Jam were arguably the third most popular punk band in the UK behind Sex Pistols and The Clash. But since Weller had a mastery of melody, The Jam quickly outgrew the other two bands to become the biggest rock band in the UK. Unfortunately, just as The Jam were rising to mega-heights of the rock elite, Weller broke up the band to follow his muse in The Style Council. The Style Council lasted throughout the Eighties, finding success in Europe and the British empire. By the Nineties, Weller began a highly successful solo career that has lasted to this day. Honestly, I would be thrilled if all three versions of Paul’s career were recognized by the Hall and its voters, but I’d still settle for The Jam.
8. Dionne Warwick (“This Girl’s in Love with You,” 1968). As the cousin of Whitney Houston, you would think that Warwick would be yet another diva. But, alas, she is not. As a matter of fact, Miss Warwick was a master of the understated manner in which she sang. She could make you feel like you were listening to her perform on a summer evening on your front porch. That’s how intimate her singing vocals are. She was nominated for this past class (2021), but the nominees were so loaded, Dionne got lost in a numbers game. Here’s to hoping she receives her just reward.
7. John Coltrane (“A Love Supreme, Part 1: Acknowledgement,” 1965). So, the Hall has inducted Miles Davis and Louis Armstrong from the jazz area due to their influences on rock music. So, why hasn’t Coltrane, arguably the second most influential jazz artist behind Davis, been inducted yet? Let’s get this oversight corrected.
6. Dick Dale (“Misirlou,” 1962). Quite honestly, there are two major influences in how a guitar is played that still have not been inducted so far. Dick Dale happens to be the first. Dale is mainly known for his creation of what is known as the surf guitar sound. Without Dale, rock might not have ever had The Beach Boys, The Who and so many others.
5. Dolly Parton (“Jolene,” 1974). Arguably the icon of all musical icons, Dolly Parton is so revered as an artist, philanthropist and human being that she is able to transcend her status as a country legend to become a major influence on so many rock artists throughout history. Remember, Dolly is the songwriter of one of the rock era’s biggest selling hits, Whitney Houston’s immortal “I Will Always Love You.” The great thing is no matter how plastic Dolly’s persona seems to be, her personality is pure heart of gold country girl. Plus, Dolly kick started the whole COVID-19 vaccine research by donating a million dollars to the cause. Yet another notch in this universally beloved musical hero.
4. Link Wray (“Rumble,” 1958). Here is the other guitar hero to be left out of the Hall. Simply put, Wray developed the power chord that has become so ubiquitous in rock I really don’t think this brand of music could have survived this long with it. Think about it, everyone from The Kinks and The Who through AC/DC and The White Stripes have used it to varying success. It would be kind of cool to have Wray and Dale inducted simultaneously.
3. The Carter Family (“Will the Circle Be Unbroken,” 1935). While at the Hall back in June, I noticed all kinds of nods to the First Family of Country Music in displays and the Hall’s films about the history of rock music that you might believe this family band would be in the Hall, most likely as an early influence. Yet, the family that counted June Carter Cash, Johnny Cash’s soul mate, as a member of this talented coterie of gene-sharing musicians. Essentially, the Carter Family is often cited with popularizing hillbilly music into what we call country music. So, much like Coltrane, Dale, Parton and Wray, how can we have a shrine to music without these major influences?
2. Ozzy Osbourne (“Crazy Train,” 1981). Like I have stated several times, heavy metal continues to get a raw deal from the Hall. But, no one, and I mean NO ONE, personifies and saved metal than Ozzy Osbourne. He and his drunken/addicted antics of the early- to mid-Eighties are stuff of decadence legend. And it was a combination of those antics along with the terrific music he and the late-guitarist Randy Rhodes created, especially that Ozzy debut album, Blizzard of Ozz. That album continues to resonate with youngsters across the world.
1. Eminem (“Stan,” 2000). When Em burst on the scene in the late-Nineties, the world had a white rapper with a Marylin Manson-like psychosis that was totally fresh, very off-putting to parents, scary to the rest of the world and outright dangerous. Or, was it all an act? Regardless, there was music before Eminem and there was music after Eminem. All Em did was take Public Enemy’s and N.W.A’s penchant for controversy by telling the truth about what truly goes down in the white ‘burbs. And, that was shocking that the suburban underbelly was as scary as any Freddie Kreuger movie. And, please don’t compare Eminem to Elvis. The comparison ends with both being white men performing music first created by black men. Eminem was ACTUALLY dangerous to society.
And there you have it, my Top 150 rock artists who have been snubbed by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Hopefully, we will begin to see these artists get their long overdue recognition. Peace and love.