This year’s crop of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominees have just been announced, and it’s the usual weird assortment of mega-band veterans and less-known innovators. So who will actually get inducted come April? I have no idea. But here’s my personal take on who I think deserves to get in. Disagree? Weigh in below!
Should they get in? Definitely. When Licensed To Ill came out in 1986, nobody could have predicted all that brat-rap bravado marked the launch of one of the next two decades’ major artists. But the album was a blockbuster (the first rap album to hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200), and the followup, Paul’s Boutique, remains one of hip-hop’s greatest achievements. They’ve been pumping out consistently innovative and entertaining albums ever since.
Should they get in? Yes. Dock points for the hair-spray-attack fashion crimes (is there a bad-hair Hall of Fame?), but this is one of the best bands of the past 30 years, from perky hits like “Close To Me” to moody masterpiece Disintegration.
Should he get in? Probably not. I like “Catch the Wind” and some other tunes just fine, but there’s a reason he’s never made the cut before: Donovan’s dippy sunshine folk just hasn’t aged well.
ERIC B. & RAKIM
Should they get in?: Yep. The narrow-minded will carp — endlessly — that hip-hop is not “rock and roll” and thus should be disqualified from consideration. But the R&R HoF isn’t just for long-haired power-chord guitar dudes. It’s always recognized a broad range of pop music, and hip-hop absolutely belongs. As do Eric B. & Rakim, whose Paid in Full once topped an EW list of the best hip-hop albums.
GUNS ‘N ROSES
Should they get in? Obviously. The glory years may have been few and Axl has tarnished the brand over the years, but it’s hard to imagine anyone arguing against their inclusion.
Should they get in? I’d vote no. There’s nothing wrong with these ’70s rockers turned ’80s balladeers, whose “Barracuda” and “Magic Man” still have a certain feathered-hair-in-the Camaro charm. But it’s the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, not the Rock & Roll List of Every Band Who Ever Had a Few Good Tunes. To me, they’re just not up there with the greats.
JOAN JETT & THE BLACKHEARTS
Should they get in? Nope. Even if you count Jett’s work with the Runaways and her classic single “Bad Reputation” (which you shouldn’t, since that was all pre-Blackhearts), she still seems like a stretch. Just because her biggest hit has the phrase “rock and roll” in the title doesn’t make her a hall of famer.
Should he get in? Will the R&R HoF ever tire of second-tier blues guitarists? Not a chance. Does this particular one seem like a total must-include? Not really. Still: pretty great.
Should she get in? She should. This eccentric ’70s songwriter seems like a natural for the HoF given her many hits (“Wedding Bell Blues,” “And When I Die”) and beloved albums, but somehow she’s escaped induction. Time to change that.
RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS
Should they get in? Personally, I’d leave their chest-beating frat-funk out. But they’re super popular and they’ve been around forever and they’ll almost certainly get in on the first few tries, so I’m not gonna fight it.
RUFUS WITH CHAKA KHAN
Should they get in? Probably not. “Tell Me Something Good” and “Sweet Thing” are great. Chaka Khan is a powerhouse. But Hall of Fame seems like a stretch.
THE SMALL FACES/THE FACES
Should they get in? For sure. How are they not in there already? Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake and singles like “Itchycoo Park” should alone be enough to guarantee a slot, and when you factor in later Faces triumphs like “Debris” and “Stay With Me” this seems like a bizarre omission. Hopefully this year that will change. (Side note: Why are these two very different-sounding bands lumped together? Hmm.)
Should they get in? You can certainly argue in favor of this ’70s soul group, whose hits include “Rubberband Man.” But I wouldn’t be too upset if they got passed over. Hard to imagine too many people are reading this thinking, “Yes! The Spinners!”
Should she get in? Even now some people scoff at disco, but Summer’s voice drives some massive pop classics, including “I Feel Love,” “Bad Girls,” and “Last Dance.” Her induction won’t shut up the skeptics, but her music endures and recognizing her would be a gutsy statement from the typically conservative HoF. Still, it’s hard to make a case for her when, say, Rush still hasn’t been nominated.
Should they get in? No. Good band, some classic songs (“Slippin’ Into Darkness,” “Low Rider”), not enough lasting impact to qualify for this particular honor.
So there you have it. I’m going to go listen to the Faces’ amazing “Debris” now, but let us know what you think below. Which of these acts should definitely get in? Who should never make the cut?
Follow me on twitter: @RobBrunnerEW
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