Another year, another batch of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominees who make me feel really old. Remember, you have to have released your first record 25 years ago to be eligible, so the fact that the Beastie Boys and Madonna (pictured in 1983, at the dawn of her recording career) qualify this year makes my joints ache. Along with Madge and the rap/rock trio, this year’s nominees also include disco titans Donna Summer and Chic, rap trailblazer Afrika Bambaataa, rocker John Mellencamp, and three acts that flourished back in the ’60s: Brit-beat hitmakers the Dave Clark Five, singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen, and instrumental surf rockers the Ventures.
Of these nominees, Madonna seems the only shoo-in, and maybe Cohen, a critical fave who remains still active and influential. Chic, the DC5, and Mellencamp have all been nominated before; they may get in this time on sympathy votes among those who felt they were robbed before. Summer deserves it, but the anti-disco bias that has kept Chic out could work against her, too. The Beasties will surely make it in eventually, but voters may feel there’s plenty of time yet for them. Bambaataa may not have a substantial enough body of work, and the Ventures may be too arcane.
I know, anyone who had any amount of real rock and roll attitude wouldn’t want to be in the Hall, but let’s play along and speculate on who will actually get inducted at the annual ceremony next March, who deserves to get in, and who should have been nominated but wasn’t. (C’mon, guys, the Replacements!)