Let’s Argue About the 2012 Rock Hall Nominees

Jeff Giles: This year’s class:

· Beastie Boys
· The Cure
· Donovan
· Eric B. & Rakim
· Guns ‘N Roses
· Heart
· Joan Jett and The Blackhearts
· Freddie King
· Laura Nyro
· Red Hot Chili Peppers
· Rufus with Chaka Khan
· The Small Faces/The Faces
· The Spinners
· Donna Summer
· War


Will Harris: Without getting into the inevitable debate about the definition of what rocks and what does not rock, if I had to pick a six-pack from the bunch to get in, I think I’d go with…

Beastie Boys
Guns ‘N Roses
Laura Nyro
The Small Faces / The Faces

Giles: Ian McLagan’s response: “It’s about bloody time.” He has a point.

Matthew Bolin: My five:

Beastie Boys
Guns N Roses
Laura Nyro
The Small Faces/The Faces
The Spinners

Rob Smith: I’m thinking GNR, Faces, Jett, Rufus, and Freddie King.

Jack Feerick: That’s quite the Kojak variety pack, there. A good mix of hip-hop and R&B in there as well — I guess the Hall is taking on board the complaints that they’ve been whitewashing the history of pop. A strong female contingent, too.

As for the inevitable jam sessions, I reckon a combo of the Chili Peppers and War would give an interesting perspective on funk in all its multifarious glory.

And I find myself strangely intrigued by the idea of Donovan backed by the Cure; a swirling heavy psychedelic “Hurdy Gurdy Man,” maybe. Possibly segueing into “I Feel Love” as Donna Summer takes the stage. That would fucking rule.

Thought: Who makes the cut for honoree invites? The combined total past membership of the Cure, Guns n’ Roses, and the Chili Peppers could easily fill the Hall’s auditorium all by themselves.

Best potential for ugly scenes: getting all the original members of Guns ‘n’ Roses in the same room. Wild card: Lol Tolhurst shows up and punches Robert Smith.

Michael Parr: Replace War with Rufus / Chaka Kahn and you’ve got my list. I’m also torn on including Guns ‘N Roses on their first year. I think they should make Axl wait as long as he made his fans wait for The Chinese Democracy. Nix the Guns and add Joan Jett and the Blackhearts.

Dave Steed: Axl will show up at 2 am when the busboys are cleaning up…Guns N’ Roses is an interesting one. I don’t really know what to think about that. Have they really had enough output to be hallworthy?

I think the Beastie Boys and Heart are in, and I can see them voting Rufus in. The Cure is also interesting — I mean, if Guns gets in, then the Cure should be there too.

Dw. Dunphy: I’m usually all up in arms about their choices but, oddly, I don’t have a problem with this bunch.

Kelly Stitzel: I’d be fine with any of them.

Chris Holmes: No Kiss? No Rush?

Scott Malchus: Where the FUCK is Stevie Ray and Double Trouble?!

At least Bon Jovi isn’t on the list.

Matt Wardlaw: Solid list that is pretty diverse, all things considered. And considering that the inductions are in Cleveland next year, I know that myself and Annie Zed would be very excited to see Heart and the Cure both make it in — we’re both big Heart fans, and she loves the Cure.

David Medsker: I’ve given up on Rush getting in. I’m glad to see that some “newer” acts are finally being considered, though I’m wondering why New Order hasn’t been considered yet.

Malchus: Don’t give up on Rush. Heart finally made the cut.

GNR will get in for sure.

Jason Hare: Agreed, because if there’s any chance that Slash and Axl play together, the show will be the highest rated in its history. And I think Heart is particularly overdue.

Holmes: Are they really, though? Is one excellent debut and two very good follow-up records the criteria for induction? Don’t get me wrong, I love Heart, but if they weren’t led by the Wilson sisters I doubt we’d be having this discussion.

Dave Lifton: I don’t care how great “Barracuda” or “Crazy On You” are. They should be permanently banished for “All I Wanna Do Is Make Love To You.”

Wardlaw: I think that their accomplishments in the ’70s, combined with a whole different set of achievements in the ’80s (an unbelievable rebirth) certainly make them more than deserving.

And I love the Brigade album, so fuck you, Dave Lifton…I’m making you a mixtape now of that song on 90 minute loop!

Jon Cummings: Apart from the inability to showcase too many acts during an induction ceremony, I don’t see how you make rational choices among this particular group. Nobody in this thread so far has given any love to Donna Summer, for example, but she was not only the biggest hitmaker on this list, but also probably the most influential artist (GNR be damned — I’m in the “they didn’t do nearly enough” camp). But how does one delineate the qualifications of the Beasties from those of Eric B. & Rakim? Skin color vs. longevity, perhaps? What about the Spinners vs. War? How do you choose? Is War a “rock” band because Eric Burdon played with them for awhile?

More than most years, the diversity and pop success of this year’s nominees reveals at once the scope of rock music and the intellectual vacuity at the heart of the Rock Hall nominating/election process. If only the Hall used some concrete criteria for selecting its inductees (chart numbers, critic-poll consensus, etc.) rather than leaving the stench of Jann Wenner favoritism at every turn. What we seem to be left with, besides that establishment favoritism — and having watched Timothy White at Billboard bestow made-up prizes and huge features on his favorite artists time and again (Billy Joel, Sting, Mellencamp), I can assure you it’s there — is an inconsistently applied ghettoization of genres (hip-hop is seen to qualify as “rock,” funk does occasionally, but disco doesn’t (even though the Summer/Moroder sound could be traced through a decade of synth-pop, much of it highly credible). Meanwhile, ’70s rock and ’80s alternative continue to get the shaft (if the Cure is nominated, which is a great thing, then where the fuck are the Smiths?), while the industry’s aging poobahs fill in the membership with more ’60s acts, “incluences” (Freddie King? Really?), and hip-hop acts to mitigate charges of racism.

I’m just ranting because I’m pissed off that Player didn’t get nominated. Again…

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  • Annie Zaleski

    Lol Tolhurst’s on good terms again with Camp Cure:

    That Heart isn’t being raved about as a sure-fire inductee is an oversight, right guys? Sure, the ’80s involved a lot of covers, but there is no denying Nancy Wilson’s guitar heroics, Ann Wilson’s powerhouse voice, their stellar ’70s/early ’80s stuff AND the fact that they still kick the ass of anybody they play with in 2011?

    I’m more saddened that the Smiths have never been nominated. They’re more influential than the Cure, at least in modern music.

  • RSUE

    I’ve been listening to this stuff Before You Were Born so I bring some perspective to this year’s lacklusted group.  Not a one of them launched a revolution or sold  a million lunch boxes.  As mentioned above the total lack of objective criteria used for selection means we’re always stuck with who  did or didn’t polish the right knobs, literally or figuratively.  The biggest hitmaker here: Donna Summer,   Artist whose music is still heard daily as commercial anthems: Donovan.  Artist I actually still listen to: The Spinners.  Gene Simmons can’t catch a break and on top of it he’s gotta get married.  Artist who was most royally screwed b the business: Laura Nyro, source of David Geffin’s unearned wealth.  I will admit however that now and forever you do indeed gotta fight for your right to party. 

  • Anonymous

    No Monkees nomination again? Blasphemy! 

  • drcastrato

    I would’ve bought a GNR lunchbox if they had them (and if my mom let me).

  • RSUE

    In a sideways step, the Kennedy Center for the Arts will honor Neil Diamond this year, author many Monkees hits.

  • Dennis Corrigan

    The Beasties, the Cure, Laura Nyro, Small Faces/Faces and Donovan.  I don’t think GNR had enough hall worthy output, but a reunited lineup would be the spectacle of the decade.

  • Anonymous

    We all have our own “I can’t believe they’ve never been nominated/inducted” list… mine begins & ends with Roxy Music, who to me point out the America-centric nature of the Hall. Roxy influenced countless bands (admittedly many of them British), and Bryan Ferry continues to be a brilliant interpreter of the pop canon. 

    Eh, I’ll pay attention to the R&RHOF again in a few years to see if Pavement’s been nominated.

  • Anonymous

    Annie beat me to mentioning the Smiths, although I’m a huge Cure fan and would have a hard time saying who has had more “influence” over the past 30 years. And if you mention New Order, do you actually nominate Joy Division instead? I need to go listen to “Love Will Tear Us Apart” and meditate on this.

    One other note: I don’t think it’s fair to compare Eric B & Rakim and the Beasties, suggesting one should get in over the other. Eric B & Rakim were pure, unadulterated rap, and were the masters of the game as long as they wanted to be. Beastie Boys came from rap, but also musically confessed that they were also into rock and punk and a lot of other genres at the same time. For overall impact, the Beasties probably get in on the first try, but Eric B & Rakim have to be recognized at some point as well.

  • Beyesn

    You guys are stoned as usual (and I’m jealous). List needs to be, has to be: Joan Jett, Small Faces, Spinners, Freddie King and Rufus/Chaka Kahn. 

    And… how long must I wait for The Jam/Paul Weller induction? 

  • Beau

    Until Rush — with its three-plus decades of platinum sales and legions of alternative rock gods naming them as influences — is in the Hall, I see no reason to take it seriously.

  • englishsunset

    The Moody Blues!

  • Jack Feerick

    …are a band, I think. You had something to say about them? Or is this the Tourette’s acting up again, causing you to blurt things out for no reason?

  • Jack Feerick

    Until Rush fans can talk about their enjoyment of the band without resorting to chest-thumping overstatement, I see no reason to take them seriously.

  • Jack Feerick

    Roxy Music is a huge omission, ’tis true. And Brian Eno post-Roxy deserves more than a spot in the museum — he deserves his own wing.

  • Anonymous

    The fact that The Monkees have been ignored AGAIN is both sad and pathetic. Their songs are timeless classics, and their reunion concerts still sell out, after forty-five years of performing together.  If that’s not “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame-worthy,” I’d love to know what is! 

  • Beau

    Not an overstatement at all. Most of their albums of the pre-Internet era went platinum, and the rest have gone gold. In the Internet era, they’ve produced multiplatinum DVDs. So that’s the first point I made.

    The second: Their documentary lines up plenty of notables to pay tribute — Billy Corgan, Taylor Hawkins (who played “YYZ” with Rush at a Foo Fighters concert), Les Claypool, Trent Reznor, etc. You could make a case for several prog-rockers influencing others (in a lot of cases, simply by encouraging them to overplay), but Rush pops up everywhere. They were on the Colbert Report well before Radiohead. They have a back-and-forth exchange with the “South Park” gang. 

    The argument in the past could’ve been that no one cared about them outside Guitar Player and Modern Drummer’s readerships. Now we know that’s not true.

  • Anonymous

    While some of their music has stood the test of time well, the Hall is more about innovation and musicianship, two things the Monkees don’t really have going for them.

  • Guest

    I disagree.  Micky Dolenz was the first musician to experiment with the Moog synthesizer, and his incorporation of it into “Daily Nightly” was innovative, to say the least!  As for musicianship, they played every note on their fantastic third album, Headquarters, which went to number one.  They fought hard for the right to play their own music, and dismissed Don Kirshner in order to do so, even though his songwriters provided them with a steady stream of hits.


  • Anonymous

    The previous reply was mine!  I don’t know why it was posted anonymously.  I proudly own it!  :)

  • Evan Jordan

    To a large extent, the lack of imagination in nominees is created by the same condition in the taste of the masses. Its a letdown for passionate music fans to see over-exposed, over-played, blue-chip rockstars eclipse their own favorites, but that’s who the most people love, which is what “fame” is.

    However, the inclusion of Donna Summer was inspired and well-deserved. Even though GNR weren’t prolific, they more than made up for it in innovation and infamy. And as for Beasties, Peppers and the Cure: not beloved of me but I think their absence would be glaring in no time. They’re total Hall of Famers (and The Cure makes me want to gag).

  • Brett Alan

    The Beasties and the Peppers are the most clearly deserving on the list. Donna Summer and War belong, too.

    Donovan is my personal favorite on the list…I’m glad he’s nominated, and I’ll be happy if he gets in, but I can understand if he doesn’t.

    At the top of my list of should-be-nominees are Tommy James and Chicago. Also, it’s insane that the Clovers and Wynonie Harris haven’t gotten in, although they probably belong more in the “Early Influence” category. And Rick Rubin really needs to go in in the non-performer category.

  • Jack Feerick

    See, you’re laying out this line that they’ve sold a fuck-ton of record and all the cool kids dig them as if that’s supposed to mean something. Like it’s  supposed to change anyone’s mind. How does that work? You know, I was on the fence about Rush until I found out that Trey and Matt like them — so they must be good!

    It comes off as a little defensive, is my point — and it seems to come froma  place of seeing musical taste as a zero-sum game: You don’t like Rush? A-ha! But look at these album sales! Look at all these celebrities who are avowed Rush fans! In the light of this overwhelming evidence, you must therefore now admit that you are wrong!

    Thing is, none of that matters to the enjoyment of music. I’m not looking to Billy Corgan, to Trent Reznor — or even to you, Beau, as cool as you are — for validation of my tastes. I’ve got a working pair of ears. Shouldn’t that be enough?

  • Beau

    It’s not about YOUR tastes. I’m not trying to make the case that YOU need to buy R:30, Moving Pictures and five other Rush albums right this minute. I’m making the case that the Hall is controlled by people with a rather narrow point of view (Jann Wenner doesn’t like prog-rock — we get it), and they’ve overlooked the influence Rush has had. It’s like having the Baseball Hall of Fame controlled by Yankees fans and not voting in anyone from the Red Sox.

  • Beau

    The argument against them would be that other forces did most of the songwriting and played most of the instruments. (Not “all,” as some people think to this day.)

    The counterargument: The Ronettes are in the Hall of Fame.

  • Anonymous

    Like starcollector mentioned, the Monkees were the first pop artists to put a Moog synthesizer on an album. Mike Nesmith has long been referenced as an early country/rock pioneer, one needs to look no further than his two self/co-written tracks on their debut album to notice this (imagine, country rock on a #1 album in 1966..), they were one of the first pop groups to put pedal steel on a pop album (1967’s Headquarters). They also had the best session men and songwriters at their disposal, mixing in with their own tracks. They got support/cred from all of the heavy hitters of their time (Beatles, Zappa, members of the Buffalo Springfield, which played on some of their songs), David Crosby, Tim Buckley, The Hollies, etc etc.)

  • citizenblaine

    In order of importance to Rock music: 1.) Donovan!  2.) Faces  3.) Joan Jett  4.) Heart  5.) The Cure  6.) Freddy King.   The others are all good, but they don’t matter to Rock.  Except GNR: pathetic unlistenable posers from day one.