On February 2, 2022, the powers that be at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, under the relatively new guidance of former MTV leader John Sykes released their Nominee List for the Class of 2022 Inductees. Now, for the next couple of months, some accounting group, group of hired administrative assistants or maybe its just a bunch of college interns, will count and compile the votes on the submitted ballots from various industry movers and shakers, music critics and historians, on-air personalities, prominent rock stars and all previous living inductees as to the five to ten acts who will be inducted later this fall.
In case you have not seen the list of nominees, we have 17 nominees this year representing many genres and subgenres of rock and roll. In many people’s minds, rock music should be reduced down to what is basically played on classic rock radio. But, they are forgetting the whole “roll” portion of rock & roll. Then roll includes the R&B, dance and hip hop segments of music. Therefore, rock & roll is an all-inclusive term for the popular music that slowly became the most popular form since the mid-Fifties.
The nominees are as follows in alphabetical order: Beck, Pat Benatar, Kate Bush, Devo, Duran Duran, Eminem, Eurythmics, Judas Priest, Fela Kuti, MC5, New York Dolls, Dolly Parton, Rage Against the Machine, Lionel Richie, Carly Simon, A Tribe Called Quest and Dionne Warwick. Let’s take a look at the credentials of each nominee and their chances for getting in based on those credentials alone.
Perhaps, the biggest issue I have with the Hall is that they have spent the Aughts parading around as some exclusive club that is truly only around to celebrate Boomer’s long-past youth under the guise they are a living, breathing organism who will continue to do so. When former Rolling Stone founder finally stepped down as the head of the Hall, we may finally get this logjam of deserving artists inducted.
1. Beck. The Grammy award winning Beck got his first RRHOF nomination. While his status as a critics’ darling may have him leaning toward a first-year induction, I continue to teeter as to whether he will be inducted on his first time being nominated.
2. Pat Benatar. As someone who was a teenager during Benatar’s heyday, it remains troubling that she has yet to be inducted. She was a diva dressed up in a hard rock uniform with a tough as nails attitude. It’s acts like Benatar that piss off the general public so much.
3. Kate Bush. Go most anywhere around the English speaking world, and the name Kate Bush resonates as one of the true visionaries of rock music. But, her name hits the general American public like pigeon crap hits a statue. And, that’s a shame because she is as poetic and insightful as Joni Mitchell set to music as challenging and innovative as Peter Gabriel. I’m most grateful that her influence is growing by the year with millennials and Gen Z-ers discovering her catalog that Ms. Bush will soon be an inductee.
4. Devo. Boomers looked at them as novelty oddities, while Gen X saw them as the rock and social parodists they are. Once again, enough is enough and induct these visionaries from Akron, Ohio.
5. Duran Duran. My older son calls D-squared “The Beatles of the Eighties.” Personally, I always viewed them as the Pink Floyd of the music video. Regardless, their attempt to fuse the fury of the Sex Pistols with the dance/funk of Chic was successful and profitable, to the extent they just might be the most representative band of the 80s attitude.
6. Eminem. This man is arguably the only shoo-in of the nominees. Oh, sure, he continues to be a lightning rod for controversy, but rock and roll was never about being nice people. It was, and continues to be, about challenging the status quo of current music and norms.
7. Eurythmics. The 80s seemed to be all about androgyny. Duran Duran, Boy George and most of the heavy metal guys all looked like women, while Eurythmics lead vocalist and all-around sex goddess Annie Lennox took a more masculine approach to her image when the band first burst forth on MTV. Never mind that you could not hide her soulfully feminine vocals and curves, the total juxtaposition of her image and the rocker-in-a-corporation image of her partner Dave Stewart butted up against their icy synthpop based in rock sound.
8. Judas Priest. Here we go again. Another year and another nomination for this legendary metal band. Priest is exhibit 2 of everything that is wrong with the Rock Hall because of them being left outside looking in. Christ, just induct them so we don’t have to listen to Eddie Trunk for a year.
9. Fela Kuti. Talk about someone with absolutely no name recognition in the USA, this is the man on this year’s nomination list. But, if you just go listen to his groundbreaking Afrobeat funkateering, then you may recognize strands of DNA that runs through his music in the music of disparate artists such as the P-Funk collective, Talking Heads and their off-shoots after Remain in Light, Adam & the Ants, Bow Wow Wow, Peter Gabriel, among many others. He is likely to find his way into the Hall either as a Musical Influence or for Musical Excellence.
10. MC5. This proto-punk/metal band from Detroit are no strangers to the nominee list as this is their sixth nomination. So, put them in and move on! At this point I don’t really care how they get in, just do it! You can’t justify Rage Against the Machine’s induction since MC5 did it first.
11. New York Dolls. While I am bitching about MC5, this will allow me a seamless rant not wasted to go on about the other godfathers of punk, New York Dolls. You see, The Stooges are in the Hall and have been for years, so it’s only right that MC5 AND NY Dolls both find themselves enshrined. And, don’t get me going about The Jam…
12. Dolly Parton. Ever since I started caring about the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, I have never been able to figure out why some out-of-the-box influencers like Miles Davis and Hank Williams are in the Hall, but not others like John Coltrane, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Patsy Cline, Big Mama Thornton and this national treasure, Ms. Dolly Parton. Plain and simple, her song writing has influenced countless artists, and her primo example as a caring human being is head-and-shoulders above anyone else in the music industry. We must right this wrong!
13. Rage Against the Machine. So, you think hip hop has no place in the Hall? Well, folks, if it wasn’t for the turntable magic of hip hop pioneers Grandmaster Flash, Dr. Dre and the Bomb Squad of Public Enemy, then Tom Morello would have been just another Randy Rhoads soundalike. But, because he was influenced by those turntable scratches, then he innovated a whole new musical palette that continues to resonate to this day. Throw in the fact that the band combined the power of P-Funk, punk and metal with the rage of Public Enemy and MC5, and you have one of the greatest renegades of funk ever.
14. Lionel Richie. From 1977 to 1986, Lionel Richie was ubiquitous. He was on the radio, dominating the singles and albums charts, all over MTV and hosted the Grammys. Plus, he has spread so much goodwill throughout the music industry that you might be surprised that the co-writer of “We Are the World” is NOT in the Hall. Oh, and this is his FIRST nomination. What?!?!?!
15. Carly Simon. Boomers everywhere read the names on this list and came across the one and collectively gasped. Huh?! Carly Simon’s not in? That’s nearly as bad to them as Carole King’s and Tina Turner’s omissions. Most of you only know her “You’re So Vain.” But, isn’t that enough? Do not be shocked if she gets inducted. She may not be my first choice, or even my seventh, but stranger artists have gotten the votes (did someone say Percy Sledge?).
16. A Tribe Called Quest. A Tribe Called Quest is long overdue for induction, as they represent the last of the original blast of hip hop artists. While these guys were street poets, they were creating their beats not from James Brown or George Clinton but were raiding vintage jazz albums from the 50s, 60s and 70s for their sonic scope. Unfortunately, the list is long with many rap forefathers awaiting their moments (Let’s see. Hmmm, how about Kurtis Blow, Eric B & Rakim, Boogie Down Productions, De La Soul, Queen Latifah, Salt-n-Pepa and ATCQ from the first wave, followed by Wu-Tang Clan, Puff Daddy/Sean Combs/P Diddy/ Whatever his name is these days, OutKast, Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, just for a start.).
17. Dionne Warwick. In the 60s and 70s, Ms. Warwick was a smooth R&B singer. By the 90s, she had gone full crazy train by endorsing a 1-900 phone number for psychics, finally transitioning into the world’s favorite octogenarian Twitter user and SNL talk show sketch host. It’s time to induct Whitney Houston’s aunt.
That’s the list of nominees for induction as the Class of 2022 into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Of course, I will predict who is going to be inducted. Hell, that’s what the whole lead up is for. But, I will not only give you the names of seven acts who I think will get inducted, but I will identify a couple of spoilers, wild cards and dark horses on this list.
Let’s start with my sure things for induction, which are Eminem and Dolly Parton. After them, it becomes a free-for-all. Yet, sometimes, if you pay attention to the people in the know, they tend to tip their hats a bit. Therefore, I believe the Class of 2022 will also include Pat Benatar, Duran Duran, Dionne Warwick and Rage Against the Machine. That leaves one more spot. That one spot will be so interesting to see which act will fill it. After much deliberation, I will say Devo will round out the class nicely as it makes the class fairly diverse as last year’s was.
However, I think that Carly Simon could spoil Dionne Warwick’s spot, while Judas Priest does something similar to RATM. All of that means that Carly Simon and Judas Priest are my spoilers. My dark horses are Kate Bush and Eurythmics, since they represent the underdogs while maintaining a high level of artistic integrity and influence. Finally, the wild card in the bunch has got to be “Mr. Outrageous” (remember him using that word WAY too often while hosting the Grammys in the mid-80s?) Lionel Richie. People have been clamoring for the induction of his original group the Commodores. But, will the Hall pull a fast one as they did with Nile Rodgers and induct a solo man and not the band? Anything is possible these days.
And since anything is possible, why don’t we just induct all of these nominees? Honestly, we could do that for a good twenty years AND still have a logjam of acts awaiting their turn. See? I understand why you are frustrated, because I am too. Peace.