Ahhh, the good old Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
For an institution ostensibly designed as a means of honoring and enshrining the best of the best, and in so doing, wrapping up rock 'n' roll and putting a bow on it, the Hall and its doings sure have been a divisive force in pop culture.
This year’s list of nominees is no exception.
While most of that list seems fairly innocuous, what is most striking is the absence of certain artists who have been eligible for induction for a good long while, while others are riding a well-oiled slide straight into the hall pretty much as soon as they are eligible. (Eligibility, according to the Rock Hall’s rules, occurs 25 years after the artist in question’s first album release, but the Hall also claims that other “criteria include the influence and significance of the artists’ contributions to the development and perpetuation of rock and roll,” which is, of course, open to interpretation by those who do the interpreting.)
The full list of nominees for induction this year is comprised of Green Day, Chic, the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Joan Jett & the Black Hearts, Kraftwerk, N.W.A., the Marvelettes, Nine Inch Nails, Lou Reed, the Spinners, Stevie Ray Vaughan, the Smiths, Sting, War, and Bill Withers.
Like everyone else, I have my own opinions concerning the worthiness of these artists and in my opinion, these are the nominees deserving of 2015 induction:
Kraftwerk - Ground zero for creative electronic music. Completely deserved.
Chic - Long overdue. Bridged the gap between P-Funk and Prince.
Nine Inch Nails - Trent Reznor continues to challenge himself and his audience, and to break new ground in the process.
Lou Reed - This should’ve happened while he was alive. Better late than never.
Joan Jett & the Blackhearts - Connected punk to the great pop singles of the '60s. Like Phil Spector, with heavily distorted guitars.
The Smiths - Yes, absolutely. But if the band makes it, will Morrissey and Johnny Marr both show? Will hatchets be buried, or wielded?
Bill Withers - Timeless. Withers connected folk and soul with complete conviction.
Check back Wednesday for my thoughts on some of the other nominees - and other performers wh0 should already have their place in the hall.