We’re about a month away from learning which five of the current nineteen nominees will be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame next year. Unfortunately, with only five acts up for induction each year, there is bound to be a number of those “on the cusp” acts that should be in the Hall but somehow just don’t make the cut for various reasons (and possibly might not ever make it in at all). Acts that have made an impact on the music world in their own way, but don’t achieve the “status” of some of the more critically acclaimed mainstream acts. Those that sell out arenas and have rabid fanbases, but aren’t commercially successful and don’t get the industry respect and cred they clearly deserve (see Phish and Rush—the latter of which finally got the nod in 2013).
Each year, when inductees are announced, there is always a heated debate post-vote as to which bands most deserved to be inducted, why this band should have made it over that band, and which act got the ultimate snub. This is prefaced by saying this isn’t about who most deserves to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame period. When it comes down to it, every act that on the list has a very valid argument for induction. This is more so one of our writers’ very subjective stance on which acts we believe should deserve to get the nod this year. Don’t agree with the list? That’s fine. Feel free to leave your own argument in the comments section. You’re entitled to.
Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Class of 2018 Nominees
Bon Jovi – Kate Bush – The Cars – Depeche Mode – Dire Straits – Eurythmics – J. Geils Band – Judas Priest – LL Cool J – The MC5 – The Meters
Moody Blues – Nina Simone – Radiohead – Rage Against The Machine – Rufus featuring Chaka Khan – Sister Rosetta Tharpe – Link Wray – The Zombies
Rage Against the Machine
While three-quarters of this renegade act is still regularly active (most recently Tom Morello, Timmy C., and Brad Wilk have teamed up with two other vitriolic MC’s in Public Enemy’s Chuck D. and Cypress Hill’s B. Real as Prophets of Rage), fans are aching for a reunion with socially-charged spitfire lyricist Zack de la Rocha. And in the current political environment, a statement made to the masses and at an event like this would carry some serious weight, as well as make fans across the world raise a fist in this township rebellion.
Rage Against The Machine brought mainstream attention to the plight of the Zapatistas of Mexico and cases of political prisoners such as Mumia Abu-Jamal and Leonard Peltier, while critiquing cultural imperialism, corporate America, and various domestic and foreign policies. Their music has not lost one ounce of relevance, despite having not released a new song since 1999. Songs such as “Bulls on Parade,” “Know Your Enemy,” “Wake Up,” “Killing In The Name,” “Freedom,” and “Guerilla Radio” have become anthems for the voiceless.
“Bulls On Parade”
Part of the Funk: Year One class, New Orleans’ own The Meters brought the second line grooves of the Crescent City to popular music. With deep bass lines from George Porter Jr., the tight and innovative pocket beats of Zigaboo Modeliste, severely funky guitar licks from Leo Nocentelli, and the sweet, sweet piano grooves and lead vocals from legend Art Neville, musically, this quartet is as tight of an act that has ever been assembled. Add to the fact that they are one of the most sampled bands in music—their music has been sampled by the Beastie Boys, Public Enemy, Cypress Hill, N.W.A., Ice Cube, Run DMC, Queen Latifah, and countless artists from a variety of genres across the board—a spot in the revered Hall amongst other legends is rightfully deserved.
“Sophisticated Sissy,” “Sissy Strut,” “People Say” and “Africa,” to name a few, have become funk classics. The band is fifty-plus years into their career, and despite some breakups over the course of that period, still perform the occasional show at events like New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, Jam Cruise, and as The Funky Meters with guitarist Brian Stoltze and Russell Batiste Jr. The group has backed legends such as Allen Toussaint, Paul McCartney, Dr. John, and Robert Palmer over the years. It would be a damn shame to not see these four musicians perform on stage in front of their peers in this most hallowed of musical ceremonies. Honestly, the fact that they are not in yet shows a serious flaw within the Hall’s induction system, which might need to be given a serious look. It’s time The Meters got the green light.
“Ain’t No Use”
[via John Malkovitch]
There is something so enticing about seeing Annie Lennox and David A. Stewart on stage together for this celebration, and rightfully so. The music of the Eurythmics is absolutely intoxicating, especially Lennox’s sultry voice. And with what was certainly a storied career in the mainstream, plenty of chart success and accolades (75 million records sold worldwide, to name one), this induction fits all the normal criteria looked at by the those in the position to make the call. Take a full listen to both Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of These) and Touch in their entirety—both are brilliant works created by brilliant musicians. While the two went on to have successful solo careers in their own right, with Lennox continuing her singing career while Stewart took on producer and writing gigs with stars like Mick Jagger, Ringo Starr, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, and more, the Eurythmics continue to have that mysterious pull that audiences still seek.
The J. Geils Band
Can these guys just get in already? “Centerfold,” “Love Stinks,” and “Freeze-Frame”—these songs have become rock classics over the last thiry-five years. Up for their fifth time, let’s make the move here. The Hall really missed the boat on this one, especially given the fact that founding member and namesake of the band, John “J.” Geils himself, passed away earlier this year. It would make for a touching tribute to Geils, and would certainly get the old-schoolers in the audience up on their feet and rockin’ along. The band might be lost on the younger generations, but are undoubtedly deserving of the nod. Time to make amends for this faux pas, albeit a late one.
The Moody Blues
Ultimate Classic Rock said it best by calling The Moody Blues “perennial victims of an unaccountable snubbing.” Originators of the symphonic prog-rock sounds that we have come to know from other Hall members (and fellow English acts) like Genesis, Electric Light Orchestra, and Yes, why has the group been constantly looked over? 1967’s Days of Future Passed pioneered the way for the aforementioned acts. Rolling Stone writer David Fricke calls it “one of the essential albums of 1967.” That is a bold statement, but certainly an accurate one.
The Moody Blues have essentially done everything that a band needs to do to make it into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame: they have gone platinum or gold eighteen times and sold over 70 million records worldwide. Plus, somehow hearing “Tuesday Afternoon (Forever Afternoon),” “Nights In White Satin,” and “Wildest Dreams” at their induction just seems too enticing to pass up. And let’s not look past the fact that Graeme Edge, Justin Hayward, and John Lodge are still playing together fifty-plus years later is deserving of the nod in and of itself.
“Your Wildest Dreams”
It would be really nice, and well-deserved at that, to see Nina Simone (born Eunice Kathleen Waymon) recognized for her various musical achievements via an induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. One of the most beautiful and powerful voices of her generation, the singer, pianist, and Civil Rights activist made no excuses for her beliefs on social inequalities and racial discrimination—the U.S. allowed such disgusting behavior from its citizens go on for too long, and the water simply boiled over the pot by the mid-60’s for a voice such as Simone’s to stay quiet.
“Mississippi Goddam” was a direct pointing of the finger to what was going on down South at the time. It’s also a song that Simone believed hurt her career, with the music industry clearly shying away from such commentary on the State of Affairs. It would be an extremely powerful performance on many levels, especially if the likes of Ms. Lauryn Hill and Erykah Badu paid tribute to their revolutionary foremother. It would also be a direct statement made at the serious regression on such issues this country has suffered in recent history.
(A controversial argument as to why they shouldn’t be inducted this year)
Arguably the most prolific and important band of the last twenty-five years, Radiohead is clearly a first-time nod, and more than likely will get in this coming year. But, for the sake of argument, it’s not necessary for them to be inducted this year. Their resume is as polished as it gets. 1995’s The Bends essentially defined the alternative rock genre at the time of its debut, and the gentlemen from Oxfordshire jumped the natural progress of the evolutionary spectrum when they released OK Computer in 1997. OK Computer saw the band take a complete 180-turn, turning to all things experimental, abstract, and eclectic, subsequently becoming one of the most important albums of all-time. Following that masterpiece up with albums like Kid A and Amnesiac, Thom Yorke, Jonny and Colin Greenwood, Ed O’Brien, and Philip Selway have never shied away from following the path that their creative minds have led them down. With 2007’s In Rainbows, they once again put out an album out that took a detour from their previous decades-worth of work, once again embracing their alt-rock roots.
Add to the fact that they are still dishing out some of the most creative and innovative music in what has been a “top that” career (just listen to 2016’s A Moon Shaped Pool), is there really a need to put them into a category of bands that, more or less, stopped putting out truly meaningful albums years before their induction? They have a while to go by the looks of it, and this induction would work better down the road when and if they ever start to actually slow down.
Even your most ardent of Radiohead fans would agree that this would be somewhat anti-climactic. Plus, do you really think the band themselves even care about getting in at this juncture in their career? Of course, they would be honored, but let this one simmer for, at the very least, a few more years. When that time comes, it will be one of the greatest and most memorable performances the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame ceremony has ever witnessed.
For the record, let’s be completely clear on this, nobody is saying that Depeche Mode, The Cars, Judas Priest, Dire Straits (one of my all-time favorite guitarists in Mark Knopfler), LL Cool J, and Bon Jovi—yes, even Bon Jovi—among others don’t deserve their place amongst their peers, because they all do. We can all argue about whether these acts are deserving or not, which is generally just based on whether or not someone actually likes said band. But logic and reason both dictate that all of these acts have proven their mettle to be up for nomination in the first place, having achieved some type of critical acclaim or accolade at one or more points in their careers. There is (hopefully) still time for them all to be inducted in upcoming years, but the case for the class of 2018 has been made for the above acts.
Place your own votes for which act/band should be inducted into this year’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Class below until December 5th, 2017: https://www.rockhall.com/fan-vote/2018-fan-vote