Who Got Into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?
Have you heard the news? The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has announced its 2017 inductees. It’s a diverse, eclectic group ranging from 60’s folk to 90’s hip hop. Here’s who got in:
- Joan Baez
- Electric Light Orchestra
- Pearl Jam
- Tupac Shakur
I like about half of the class. What strikes me as interesting is that some of the more deserving inductees weren’t rock and roll at all. Joan Baez was a folk singer, but her influence on the music of the 1960’s is tremendous, especially due to her associations with Nobel Laureate Bob Dylan.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame should certainly have included Tupac Shakur. There is no good reason to exclude hip hop. This is regardless of how you feel about hip hop music. Considering the breadth of other included genres, including hip hop just makes sense.
Given that, Tupac is one of the genre’s most important stars ever, he certainly has the Hall of Fame credentials. You simply can’t talk about hip hop / rap without talking about Tupac Shakur.
So he needs to be in the Hall.
Yes is one of the more important bands of the prog-rock sub-genre, and they should also be celebrated with inclusion in the Rock Hall. And Pearl Jam is probably the second or third most important rock band of the 1990’s behind, obviously, Nirvana, and perhaps Radiohead. Excluding them would be nearly unforgivable unless you want to reject the rock scene of the ’90s completely.
I’m less enthusiastic about the inclusion of Electric Light Orchestra and Journey for several reasons that I am not going to get into in this piece – though my reasoning is more about artistic merit than commercial success.
But this article isn’t about who got in. It’s about who didn’t.
WHO GOT SNUBBED?
So let’s get on to what this article is really about: the rejects. Now, I don’t have the space here to discuss every deserving artist who has been excluded from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. But looking over lists of artists who are not yet in, three jumped out at me as immediately unforgivable, and they range from heavy metal stalwarts to prog rock pioneers to even an outlaw country western star.
May I present to you, the 2017 Class of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Snubbed Artists:
It’s true that Iron Maiden have never had a mainstream crossover hit. But so what? They’re one of the most influential heavy metal bands in rock history.
These pioneers of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal have been eligible for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame since 2004, but so far, no dice.
A number of Iron Maiden’s albums have gone gold or platinum, especially in their heyday during the metal craze of the 1980’s. The band has released 38 albums overall, with a #1 album in the UK as recently as 2010. That album, named The Final Frontier, also reached #4 in the United States.
In the band’s storied history, they’ve sold more than 90 million albums. That means they’ve outsold all other heavy metal bands, and that’s including the blockbuster band Metallica.
Guitar World has said that Iron Maiden, who have played over 2,000 live shows, have “influenced generations of newer metal acts, from legends like Metallica to current stars like Avenged Sevenfold.”
Other legendary metal bands like Black Sabbath and the aforementioned Metallica are already in The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It should be Iron Maiden’s turn next.
Like heavy metal, progressive or prog rock is another genre that has a strange and often negative relationship with The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. And although deserving bands like Rush and Genesis have been enshrined, the same cannot be said for another group of prog rock pioneers, Jethro Tull.
Jethro Tull formed in Bedfordshire, Britain in 1967 carried by the current of the British Blues Boom. And although Jethro Tull began its life as a relatively straightforward blues rock band, they did not remain there.
Much of this stems from the zany mind of manic flautist, as well as singer, guitarist, and songwriter Ian Anderson. Anderson’s prog vision incorporated folk and hard rock elements infused with sometimes inscrutable lyrics.
In addition to Anderson, much of the band’s sound and vision stems from guitarist Martin Barre, who was with the band for nearly its entire history. A variety of musicians have handled Keyboard, bass, and drum duties, but Barre and Anderson were always the band’s rock at the center.
Although the band was far from being a critical darling in the prime of its career – late 1960’s, early 1970’s – they were a commercial smash. Their debut album Stand Up reached #1 in the UK in 1969, sparking their future success, and they never looked back.
In all Jethro Tull has sold over 60 million albums, 11 of which are gold and 5 of which have gone platinum. And Rolling Stone magazine has called them, “one of the most commercially successful and eccentric progressive rock bands.”
So come on, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Let the mad flute-man in!
Yes, he’s country music. Yes, he deserves to be in The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame anyway.
Johnny Cash is in, after all, and Willie Nelson is nearly as influential as his fellow outlaw country guitar slinger – if not even more so. Country legend and pioneer Hank Williams is in the Rock Hall as well.
So why not Willie?
Willie Nelson is essentially a master of all trades: singer, songwriter, guitarist, author, poet, actor and activist. Most people also consider him to be a true American icon.
Unlike the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Country Music Hall of Fame inducted Nelson in 1993. In 1998, he received the Kennedy Center Honors. He won a Gershwin Prize from the Library of Congress just last year. In other words, people recognize the man as a musical legend, maybe even genius.
Rolling Stone magazine also included him in their top 100 singers AND their top 100 guitarists lists. He may not be the flashiest guitarist ever, but he and his trusty steed Trigger know how to move a listener.
In terms of commercial success, Willie’s done well. He’s released 14 platinum albums. 18 gold ones. And generations of people love so much of the music that he’s created. Willie has written classics for others like ‘Night Life” and “Crazy.” He’s written classics for himself, like “On the Road Again” and “Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground.” And he’s even become one of the best interpreters of the American song catalog with tunes like “Blue Skies” and “Georgia on my Mind.”
So come on guys, it’s time to enshrine Willie Nelson where he belongs. Not to do so would just be, well, “Crazy”.
– Brian M. Reiser,