Last week, the 2010 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees were announced. At the onset of the year, I inducted myself into the world of blogging by scrawling down my humble opinions about the 2009 crop of Rock Hall inductees (“How to Get into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame”). Obviously someone in high-up places at the Hall read my blog and made some adjustments, albeit minor ones.
A year ago I whined about an apparent bias against progressive rock. This year Genesis has finally broken down that door. Hopefully, Yes, Rush, King Crimson, and others will follow. Now, do we get to see Gabriel on stage with Collins, Rutherford, and Banks? Performing something from Lamb Lies Down on Broadway perhaps?
I also complained about an overemphasis on R&B acts and, lo and behold, this year there are no one-hit wonder doo wop groups from the ‘50s on the list. Instead we have Jimmy Cliff, a reggae artist who is best known for the soundtrack for The Harder They Come, not exactly a must-have for the average fan.
Then again, if it were just about the fans, the Stooges might have prolonged their decade-and-a-half overdue entrance into the Hall. Amongst this year’s batch, no act has more “rock cred.” As architects of what became the punk movement in the ‘70s, Iggy & Co. also can lay claim to being the godfathers of most of the alternative music that followed. The Nirvanas and Pearl Jams that are shoo-in inductees within the next-half decade wouldn’t be here if weren’t for the Stooges.
I also lamented a year ago that being a true rock and roll act doesn’t seem to be a requirement. The Rock Hall made it clear long ago that they were more about popular music of the rock era than actual rock. As such, Abba isn’t exactly what people have in mind when they utter the phrase “rock and roll,” but there’s no question they belong in a pop music hall of fame.
Finally, there’s The Hollies, which sort of straddle the line between pop and rock, but do so in such a way that they deserve being regarded as one of the important bands of the British Invasion.
On the nonperformer end of things, apparently there was an all-out effort to correct some gross oversights. David Geffen, the man who founded Geffen Records and signed artists like the Eagles; Crosby, Stills & Nash; Jackson Browne; and Linda Ronstadt, wasn’t in yet? How about Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil, who helped define the “Brill Building” sound with classics such as “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’,” which alone should have been an automatic ticket to induction years ago. Similarly, the writing team of Ellie Greenwich & Jeff Barry, who crafted the Ronettes’ “Be My Baby,” and Ike & Tina Turner’s “River Deep, Mountain High,” have been astonishingly overlooked for years.
And when it comes to overlooked songwriters, how has Otis Blackwell been passed over for so long? Songs like “Great Balls of Fire” and “Don’t Be Cruel” are foundations of rock and roll and their creator wasn’t in the Hall yet? There’s also Mort Shuman, who along with Doc Pomus, wrote songs like “Save the Last Dance for Me” and “Viva Las Vegas.” Similarly, Jesse Stone crafted gems like “Shake, Rattle, and Roll” and “Money Honey.”
There’s still acts that need to be inducted (Kiss, Deep Purple, Rush, and more), especially in light of the head-scratching acts whose influence on rock and roll is questionable. Nonetheless, I tip my hat to some of the oversights which the Rock Hall has corrected this time around. I’m so glad I could be a voice of reason for you last year.