Wow, is it bitching season again already in Classic Rawk-Land? My, this year has gone quickly. It's a bit of a yearly tradition here on the blog for me to run down the list of nominees and provide commentary. In the past, I've also shared my thoughts on the hall, all of which you can find using this handy link if you're so inclined. But time is money, and I get that, so here's the Cliffs Notes: I enjoy the gossip and, in an evil sort of way, the endless whining aspect of the R&RHOF, but I have no deep emotional investment in the choices of Mr. Wenner et al. My personal R&RHOF lives in the record crates and hard drive I can see from where I'm typing this, and so should yours.
Right, then - on with the show! You wanted the best? Well, you got this instead:
Joan Jett and the Blackhearts: Wait a minute - the fuck? Joan Jett wasn't already in the Hall of Fame? I'm not being cute or simply cussing for effect here; I could have sworn she was. Good lord; Joan Jett is rock 'n' roll, and this is a total no-brainer.
Lou Reed: Lou's already in as a member of the Velvet Underground. On the other hand, he's also a lot more dead than he was the last time Annual Classic Rawk Bitching Season was upon us, so here he is as a solo artist. And why not? He made some great solo records and, as the equally late Joe Strummer once put it while he was still here, death is a star.
Green Day: Eventually? Sure. Before the Replacements, Husker Du or the Descendents? Sorry, wrong timing. I think Billie Joe himself might even agree with that.
Nine Inch Nails: Absolutely, and I say that as someone who admires Trent Reznor more than I actually listen to him. He pioneered a unique sound that has been massively influential and perennially popular.
Kraftwerk: Okay, here's a good lesson for the squadrons of inter-tube whiners: On a personal level, I find Kraftwerk's music almost immeasurably dull. But in the bigger world that isn't curated by my tastes alone, I'm aware that their influence has been vast. In? Absolutely; I don't have to enjoy their music to acknowledge their importance.
The Marvelettes, The Spinners, and War: All made some fine music, but all seem a bit second-tier for something called a hall of fame. There is a difference between "made a few good records" and "had a large influence and/or enduring popularity", and I do not mean that insultingly. Either is more than most accomplish, but it's the latter alone that should propel an artist into a hall of fame.
Bill Withers: It's easy to forget just how omnipresent Withers still is until you take a minute to stop and think about it. He absolutely should be in.
Sting: As a solo artist? Really? Is this year's TV broadcast sponsored by Sominex and/or ZZZQuil? Good god, no.
Stevie Ray Vaughan: **EDITED!** In the original version of this post, I argued against Vaughan's induction. My darling fiancee Rhea, who is much more into the whole blues-rock scene than I will likely ever be, really convinced me that I had severely underestimated the reverence that still exists for him, and I'm not too proud to admit when I'm really wrong about something. He's not my cup of tea - honestly, I need my blues-rock music to be an 80/20 percent split in favor of the rock half of the equation - but he's very much worthy of induction. (And lest ye gentle readers think I'm just that likely to roll over when a beautiful woman tells me I'm wrong, consider this: she also attempted - admittedly, with far less verve but still - to convince me that I was wrong about Sting as well. Fuck that noise.)
The Smiths: Really, I shouldn't even comment on this one, given that five seconds of Morrissey is ten seconds too much for me; for whatever reason, I've an aversion to his vocals and persona that's almost blinding. Still, I can't be a hypocrite: they have certainly had the large influence and/or enduring popularity I mentioned above. So yes...but also yuck.
Chic, N.W.A., and The Paul Butterfield Blues Band are all returning from last year, and you can read my detailed thoughts from then, which haven't changed, right here. In short: Chic should already be in, N.W.A. have a great shot and are deserving, and Butterfield isn't hall of fame material.
And that about does it until next year, dear fans of complaint. See you then!