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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

Thoughts?

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
Heart
Laura Nyro
The Small Faces / The Faces
War

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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