Sunday, May 08, 2016

Blues Artists & The Rock Hall (Updated 2017 Eligibles)

Recent years have seen both Albert and Freddy King inducted. As well as Stevie Ray Vaughan.  But are there others?  The answer is a big yes, especially when you consider Early Influences.

So, I came up with some names that should be there.


In no particular order:

Charley Patton - He's the "Father of the Delta Blues".  So how did he slip by the Rock Hall.  An obvious choice for an Early Influence.  Howlin' Wolf and John Lee Hooker were influenced by him.

Sonny Boy Williamson II - There were 2 Sonny Boy's, but Sonny II was the giant.  A powerful harmonica player, he also wrote and sang some of the genres greatest sides on Chess.  Another should-be Early Influence inductee.

Junior Wells - Yet another influential Harmonica player of Chicago Blues  Wells is best know for his recordings with Buddy Guy and Muddy Waters.  Could be Early Influence, but didn't his own recording stride until the mid-60's.

Son House - Along with Charley Patton, another master of Delta Blues.  His slide-guitar playing alone influenced many.  Early Influence category.

Skip James -  Another excellent guitarist whose songs have been covered by everyone from Cream to Lucinda Williams to Gregg Allman.  Not as well known as others on this list, but still a seminal Blues name.  Early Influence category.

Mississippi John Hurt -   I wouldn't call it mellow, but Hurt's Blues were not of the gut-bucket variety.  "Warmth" is the word others have used.  Couple that with the fact that he was one of the genres greatest guitar players and Hurt is a strong candidate.  Early Influence again.

Big Mama Thornton - One of the great Blues shouters who also had an influence just as Rock and Roll was at its infancy.  "Hound Dog" was her ticket, and many female Rock & Blues singers were influenced by her.   Early Influence category.

Memphis Minnie - One of the early Blues guitarists, and a pioneer in that category among many of the women who followed her.  Somewhat forgotten today, but she was a popular presence throughout her life.  Early Influence category.

Sister Rosetta Tharpe - Probably more Gospel than Blues, but she did cut some records in the latter category.  Regardless, she's one of the best vocalists and guitarists from the early years of Blues and Gospel.

Blind Willie Johnson - Often called the most powerful Gospel meets Blues artist. Rough voice added to the drama of his best records.  He was also one of the genres best slide guitarists.  Early Influence.

Otis Rush - One of the originators (with Buddy Guy) of the West Side Chicago Blues sound and big influence on Eric Clapton, Mike Bloomfield and others.  His career didn't reach the legendary status of Buddy Guy, but among fellow players, his distinct playing was just as lauded.   

Slim Harpo - Harmonica (and guitar) player who also crossed over to the Pop charts.  His songs were covered by the Rolling Stones, Van Morrison, Grateful Dead, the Doors and others.   

Johnny Winter - Winter's death has definitely spawned an appreciation of his recorded output.  But most agree it was on stage that he excelled.  He was hyped early, and maybe he didn't live up to it on record, but his death convinces me that he was one of the best guitar slingers of his generation.  He'll go in first ballot.


Monday, May 02, 2016

Music Critics & The Rock Hall (Updated 2017 Eligibles)

Both the Baseball and Football Hall's have a writer's wing to honor journalists who have covered their sports.  Why shouldn't the Rock Hall?  There have been quite a few critics/journalists who have helped shape the way Rock music has been presented and perceived.

I actually thought of this back in 2006:
Music Critic Hall of Fame?

It's an interesting idea, and unless you count Jann Wenner, there are no music-related writers in the Rock Hall.

I'm also aware that just looking at some of these names will bring back bad memories if you can remember what artists (and their fans) they've ticked off over the years by a bad review.

Once again, I'm open to any suggestions on names that I missed.

Listed in no particular order:

Ralph J. Gleason - Co-founded Rolling Stone, and one of the first writers to cover Rock and Roll.

Dave Marsh -  Wrote for Creem, Rolling Stone and other magazines.  Has written many music books. One of the most controversial Rock critics.  Member of the Rock Hall Nominating Committee since its inception.

Robert Christgau - The self-proclaimed "Dean of American Rock Critics", his monthly Consumer Guide changed the way records were reviewed by future critics and music magazines. Wrote for Village Voice, Rolling Stone and others.

Ellen Willis - From 1968-1975 was Pop music critic for the New Yorker.  One of the first women Rock critics and one of its more influential ones through her many writings on music, politics and culture.

Greil Marcus - Although he wrote for Creem and Rolling Stone, it is probably through books like 1975's Mystery Train that Marcus made his biggest impact.  His music books were almost scholarly takes that few at the time were writing on Rock music.

Peter Guralnick - His many books on music covering genres like Country, Soul and Rock not only garnered acclaim, but set a standard for numerous other authors to follow.

Robert Hilburn - As chief Pop Music critic of the LA Times, Hilburn gave a distinctive West Coast flavor to music criticism.

Joel Selvin - Longtime San Francisco Chronicle critic (from 1972-2009). Like Hilburn, gave a West Coast opinion when the East Coast seemed to dominate the discussion.

Robert Palmer - Author of the acclaimed Deep Blues and Rock & Roll: An Unruly History.  He also appeared in the NY Times, Rolling Stone.  Produced Blues albums and made his own, too.

Jon Pareles - Chief music critic for the NY Times.  Also wrote for Rolling Stone, Village Voice, Crawdaddy.

Lester Bangs - Probably the most famous music critic. His writings in Creem and Rolling Stone had a huge impact on future critics.

Gloria Stavers - One of the first women to write about Rock music during her tenure as Editor-In-Chief of 16 magazine.

Lillian Roxon - Her Rock Encyclopedia was the first of its kind.  And she was one of the first women to write about Rock music in the 60's.

Nelson George - Wrote columns in Billboard and The Village Voice, and his books covering R&B and Hip Hop are widely acclaimed.  Has branched out into film work as a Producer and Director on African-American issues.

Richard Meltzer - His 1970 book The Aesthetics of Rock was one of the first Rock books that became an influential bible to many future critics.

Jane Scott - For 40 years was music critic for the Cleveland Plain-Dealer.  One of the first women to cover Rock and Roll during its early years.

Lisa Robinson - Started her career in 1969 and from there wrote for Creem, New York Post, New Musical Express, Vanity Fair.  Was one of the creators of Rock Scene from 73-82.

Kurt Loder -  A somewhat overlooked name from music critic's golden years, mostly because he is more well-known for his stint on MTV.  In the 70's/80's wrote for Circus before heading to Rolling Stone from 79-87.  Joined MTV in 1988.

Paul Williams - Created Crawdaddy, which was the first Rock magazine.

Nick Tosches - From the Lester Bangs school of Rock journalism, he wrote for Creem, Rolling Stone and others.  Also published great books on Country music and the Unsung Heroes of Rock.  His bio of Jerry Lee Lewis is an essential read.

Ben Fong-Torres - One of Rolling Stone magazines first writers.  Also appears in the San Francisco Chronicle.

John Rockwell -  Influential when he was the NY Times' chief Pop Music Critic.

David Fricke - Longtime critic for Rolling Stone, where he has written about a wide range of genres.

Nick Kent - One of England's most influential critics.  Wrote for the New Musical Express and then lots of freeelance work.

Jon Savage - Renown for being one of the first to write about Punk music in the 70's.  Wrote what is considered the definitive book on Punk, England's Dreaming.

Legs McNeil - Co-founder of Punk magazine, and author of music books on that genre as well as other music magazines.

Barney Hoskyns - British music critic who has written for tons of English magazines/newspapers as well as American ones.  Runs the website Rock's Backpages.

Ira Robbins - Co-founder of Trouser Press magazine, which was one of the first magazines to cover New Wave & Alternative Rock in the late 70's/early 80's.  Later on the Trouser Press books on those genres became essential for any music lover.

John Morthland - Worked at Rolling Stone and Creem. Writes about many genres.  His 1984 book, Best of Country Music is a definitive book on that genre.

Joel Whitburn - He's not a music critic, just the #1 record collector of chart records in the world.  But it's his Billboard chart books that every music critic and chart fan has to have on their shelf.  Before the Internet these books were a must have for radio stations, DJ's, Industry people and chart nuts like me.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Country Artists & The Rock Hall (Updated 2017 Eligibles)

The last artist with any Country music credentials to be inducted into the Rock Hall was Wanda Jackson in 2009 (early influence category). But she started out in the Rock field, before charting Country in 1961.  Before that pianist Floyd Cramer, who played on and released many charted Country singles,  was the last to be enshrined in 2003 (session musician).

So here's a list of Country acts that are in the Rock Hall:  Jimmie Rodgers, Hank Williams, Bob Wills & The Texas Playboys, Johnny Cash, Floyd Cramer, Chet Atkins and Bill Monroe.  You could also include Brenda Lee, although she first charted Pop.

Below I list a few Country acts that deserve to be in the Rock Hall. The naysayers will say these artists didn't "Rock" enough. And that Country has its own Hall of Fame. But the influence on "Rock and Roll" that Country music has continues to be underestimated.   All but the last 2 names are in the Country Hall of Fame.  And just for fun, a rating from 1-10 on their chances of induction.


Patsy Cline - Her Countrypolitan records reached across that market and crossed over to the Pop charts.  That she was one of Country's greatest voices, whose style  doesn't hurt either.  9

Willie Nelson - Unlike Johnny Cash, Nelson doesn't have a Sun era in his catalog.  But the Outlaw image + and his incredible catalog, which has been tapped by Rock artists, would make him an easy choice.  10

Glen Campbell - His early work as a session musician seems to be forgotten. But his polished Country/Pop crossed over between both in the late 60's/70's.      10

Conway Twitty - I bet no one remembers that Twitty was once a nominee, in 2005.  His early Rock and Roll records are underrated.  His run of Country hits in the 70's/early 80's was matched by few.    8

Kris Kristofferson - Probably more for his songwriting than his recordings.  Kristofferson changed the landscape in Nashville with his frank way of writing.  And his songs have been covered by numerous Rock names.    10

Emmylou Harris - The Queen of Americana, she sang with Gram Parsons on his 2 solo albums, before releasing a bunch of Country-Rock leaning albums that went on to become a blueprint  for that genre.  10

Dolly Parton - Jack White has covered her, and Lars Ulrich is a fan, so it's not too much of a stretch to see her get some support.  Outside of Willie Nelson, she's the biggest cultural icon on this list.  But, unlike Emmylou doesn't have some sort of Rock moment in her background.  8

Merle Haggard - One of the genre's Top 3 songwriters.  Haggard's catalog, much like Willie Nelson's, is diverse, although not as eclectic as Nelson's.  The "Bakersfield Sound", which he helped popularized, had elements of Rock in it, even if he never quite made "Rock" records.  Yet, his songs have reached many artists outside of Country.    8

Waylon Jennings - Personifies the Outlaw image more than anyone.  Some of Jennings best records contained more "Rock" elements than almost anyone on this other than Conway.    8

Buck Owens - Could be the most underrated Country giant of all time.  Hee Haw hurt his image.  Nashville waited forever to induct him into the Country Hall.  But he's one of the originators of the "Bakersfield Sound" (along with Merle Haggard), and those 60's records did indeed influence a bunch of Country-Rockers.    7

George Jones - The greatest of all Country voices, Jones had his Rock fans as well.  Every one from Keith Richards, Elvis Costello, James Taylor and Gram Parsons.  Jones cut some Rockabilly sides in the 50's that were pretty good, even if Jones never dabbled in that field again.   7

Garth Brooks - He wasn't just the biggest Country act of the 90's, he was also the biggest Pop act.  But his impact was mostly in the Country field, where it's still being felt today.  Some of his records did have a Pop/Rock feel to them, but I don't think it will be enough to get him nominated anytime soon.  7

Owen Bradley - Perhaps Country music's greatest Producer.  Behind the boards on those Patsy Cline hits and an architect of the "Nashville Sound".     10

Billy Sherrill - Architect of the Countrypolitan sound, he's best known for his work on records by George Jones, Tammy Wynette, Charlie Rich, Johnny Paycheck, Tanya Tucker and many more.  7

Steve Earle - If Emmylou Harris is the Queen of the Americana genre, than Earle could be the King.  Since breaking through in 1986 with Guitar Town, he's put out a consistent batch of critically lauded Country-Rock albums.  But being critically lauded rarely gets you in the Rock Hall.  8

Lucinda Williams - See the above comments regarding being a critical fave.  If Emmylou is the Queen of Americana, than Lucinda is a close second.  But the fact that she's been previously considered by the NomCom still doesn't mean she'll ever get in.   8

Thursday, March 10, 2016

R&B Artists & The Rock Hall (Updated 2017 Eligibles)

In the last 5 years, the Rock Hall has inducted 3 R&B oriented acts. Bill Withers in 2015.  Donna Summer in 2013 and Darlene Love in 2011.  In those 5 years the NomCom has put forth 14 names on the ballot:  Chantels, Chic, Chaka Khan, Janet Jackson, J.B.'s, Darlene Love,  Marvelettes, Meters, Spinners, Donna Summer, Joe Tex, War, Bill Withers, Chuck Willis.  Summer got in the year after she passed away.  And Love was put in after 3 tries.  The list of R&B names that have been left out in the cold is pretty impressive.  To their credit, the NomCom is at least trying. Most ballots average 3 to 4 R&B acts.   Below are a list of names that deserve more attention from the NomCom and voters.

Suggestions welcome:

Ashford & Simpson - Could also be considered in the Songwriter category.  One big Pop hit on their own, but a string of excellent albums in the late 70's/early 80's.  Recording career underrated.  But it's as songwriters where they were remembered most.  

Brook Benton - Benton was a chart presence from the late 50's to early 70's with a bunch of memorable hits that often crossed over to the Pop charts.  Somewhat overlooked by Rock historians, but his music still gets plenty of airplay.   7

Jerry Butler - Here's an interesting one.  Butler is in with the Impressions. His time there was brief.   His solo career was more distinctive.   Definitely one of the kings of Chicago Soul.   7

Chantels - One of the first Girl Groups, most likely hurt because they only had 4 Top 40 Pop hits.  But they have been nominated twice before.  The last in 2010.   6

Chic - We all know the story. 10X nominated, and the cruelest victims of the "disco sucks" crowd.  Somehow the Hall will have to get them in.   8

Chi-Lites - Eugene Record might be the most overlooked R&B name of the 70's.  He Produced and either wrote or co-wrote their greatest records.  And Chicago Soul is an overlooked genre anyway.  4

Clovers - First record came out in 1951, so they could be an Early Influence inductee.  A group I think most thought were already in.  Charted before label-mates the Drifters, and had just as many great hits.  8

Commodores/Lionel Richie - They skirted the Funk category before Lionel steered them toward  hit ballads.  Lionel's solo career alone is worth a nod, but the Commodores (along with Earth, Wind & Fire) were the biggest crossover R&B group of the 70's.  Both:  8

Roy Brown-  His "Good Rocking Tonight" was covered by Elvis and you can here his vocals picked up by the likes of Jackie Wilson, B.B. King and other a in the the 50's.  Early Influence. 8

Gap Band - Charlie Wilson might be the most exciting lead singer in an R&B band you will ever see.  And their hits were great too.  Big influence on Hip-Hop, but voters might think they didn't have enough Pop hits.  6

Billy Preston -  Not just for his own hits, but for his session work. Having played with almost every current Hall of Famer, he'd be a strong first or 2nd ballot inductee.  9

Rufus Thomas - A legend in Memphis as a DJ and his local records, he finally hit the national charts in the 60's when he signed with Stax. One of the most-liked figures in R&B history. 8

Whitney Houston - The most influential and biggest Pop stars ever, she might be considered too Pop for some backward-thinking voters.  But there's no denying her legacy.  Just ask Beyonce, Mariah Carey, Mary J Blige, Alicia Keys or any other female R&B singer that came after her.  9

Harold Melvin & The Bluenotes/ Teddy Pendergrass - Outside of the O'Jays, Melvin were the 2nd biggest act on Philly International.  With just enough crossover hits that voters could get behind.  Pendergrass' solo career was even more spectacular.  Until his auto accident he was the biggest male R&B act.  Hall & Oates are right.  The Rock Hall is lacking in Philly Sound artists.  Both:  7

Janet Jackson - One of the  biggest female Pop stars from the mid-80's/mid-90's.  Might suffer from voters thinking she was only as good as her producers (Jam/Lewis on most songs).  Nominated in 2016.  9

Rick James - Until Prince came along, James was the craziest R&B star on the planet.  His R&B/Funk mixed with Rock made for some powerful moments.  He faded in the mid-80's though before coming back near his death in 2004. But a key influence on Hip-Hop.     6

J.B.'s - Surprise nominees in 2016, more famous as James Brown's backing band in the early 70's then for their own funk records.   7

Ben E. King -  King, who died in 2015, is already in as a member of the Drifters.  But he had a good solo career as well.  Charting from the early 60's to mid-70's.  9

Kool & The Gang - Started out as a pioneering Funk band before charting numerous Pop hits in the 80's.  Such a long-running presence that it's amazing they've never received a nomination.  8

Patti LaBelle -  Not enough Pop hits, but with her group Labelle she had a magical one.  First started charting in the 60's.  And let's face it, there's no other female R&B singer as exciting to watch as her.  8

Nina Simone - Although mostly thought of as a Jazz singer, she cut plenty of R&B tracks, even Blues ones.  Her status has grown since she passed away in 2003.   9

Marvelletes - You know that old joke about the Hall:  eventually every Motown and Atlantic act will get inducted.  But there's a reason for that, they were all great.  Here's another one whose only problem may have been that they were somewhat anonymous. But I think they were one of the all-time great Girl Groups. And the magic of Motown could get them in.   Nominated in 2013/2014.   8

Meters/Neville Brothers/Aaron Neville - The Meters have been nominated 3 times.  Last in 2014.  They could just as well go in as a backing band.  Not having enough Pop hits has probably hurt them.  The Neville Brothers have never even been nominated, which is a NomCom travesty.  Like Dr.John they are a New Orleans institution that would go in first-time on the ballot. I doubt it will happen, but they could just nominate Aaron as a solo act, if they skip the Brothers.   How have they slipped under the NomCom's nose?   (Meters) 8  (Aaron)  9  (Neville Brothers) 9

Ohio Players - The best funk band of the mid-70's.  Had 2 #1 Pop hits, but may have faded out too soon for voters to remember their peak years.   4

Lou Rawls - Rawls made a great comeback in late 70's thanks to Gamble & Huff.  And it's those years that made him a household name.  But his first hits were in the mid-60's.  Could be his records are a little to jazzy for some.   7

Rufus with Chaka Khan - The best, if not most powerful female R&B singer of the late 70's/mid-80's, Chaka is the star of the show.   Nominated once in 2012.  And solo in 2016.    8

Spaniels - Funny how everyone thinks Doo-Wop has enough names already inducted.  But here's one that slipped by everyone.  They had a unique lead singer in James "Pookie" Hudson and their records were widely influential as the years went on.  First records came out in 1953, so another Early Influence possibility.  6

Spinners - They didn't record for Gamble & Huff, but thanks to the genius of Thom Bell their sound was pure Philly Soul.  First started making records in the 60's, but it wasn't until Phillipe Wynne joined in the early 70's that they hit their stride.  The greatest R&B group of the early 70's.  Nominated in 2012/2013/2016.  8

Stylistics - Like the Spinners, the Stylistics made their greatest records in the early 70's with Thom Bell.  Russell Thompkins Jr.'s falsetto was a force of nature, and the groups best songs were as smooth a Philly Soul as any other act of that time was producing.  7

Joe Tex - Already nominated 4 times.  Anytime he gets on the ballot their are smarmy remarks by people who don't know how great he was.  He had crossover hits and his talk-singing was wholly unique when couple with his best hits.  Underrated, and I give the NomCom credit for bringing his name up every few years.  8

Luther Vandross - The biggest R&B singer of the 80's.  Vandross' main selling point was his incredible voice.  Had some crossover hits, but maybe too much a presence on the R&B chart for some voters to remember them by.  7

Jr. Walker & The All Stars - Another Motown artist, but at least Walker's records weren't too coated in Pop.  "Shotgun" itself typified what Walker was trying to get too with his records. Bonus points for the sax solo on Foreigner's "Urgent".  4

War - Nominated thrice, the last in 2014.  Put on a War record and you were bound to hear a mix of everything:  R&B, Funk, Rock, Latin.  They were one of the biggest bands in the mid-70's.  And in Latino and Hip-Hop circles, quite influential.   7

Billy Ward & The Dominoes -  Could be Early Influence as first records were in 1951. Once nominated in 1997 (as the Dominoes).  Clyde McPhatter and Jackie Wilson were once part of the Dominoes and their records had crossover appeal, long before the big Rock and Roll boom of 1956.  But would be puzzler to most voters today.   9

Wynonie Harris - Another Early Influence name.  He first record was in 1945.  Harris made some of the most rocking R&B of the pre-Rock era.  Elvis covered "Good Rockin' Tonight".   Definitely an "unsung hero of Rock and Roll."    9

Dionne Warwick - I've heard it said that if she had stopped making records in 1970 she would be inducted already.  But she didn't and it's those Pop hits in the late 70's/early 80's that have made her seem too Pop for some.  But those Bacharach/David hits in the 60's are her recorded legacy.  8

Mary Wells - Nominated twice, but way back at the dawn of the Rock Hall in the 1986 and '87.  Wells has been hurt because her chart time was too brief that not even her Motown years has helped get her back on the ballot.   7

Diana Ross - She may not stand a chance getting in as a solo act, because the Supremes were so iconic, but she had a spectacular run on her own.  Factor in her Oscar-nominated performance in Lady Sings The Blues, her many Pop Top 40 hits and Diana turned out to be one of the biggest Pop stars of the 70's.   6

Barry White -  Some of the most lush, smooth dance records of the 70's came from White.  He crossed over with just about every record he put out during his peak years.  Often gets labeled as a Disco artist which is unfair.  He influenced that genre.  But his orchestral arrangements also reached many a R&B act in later years.   8

Chuck Willis - Nominated 6 times, the last in 2011 (after being left off the ballot since 1990).  Before he died in 1958, made some classic sides for Atlantic.  First records in 1951, so should be an Early Influence candidate. The NomCom keeps bringing him up, but voters don't know anything about him.   8

Johnnie Taylor - One of the signature voices during Stax's heyday.  Taylor had a long career (over 40 years) singing Gospel, Deep Soul, Disco and then in the 80's until his death, Chitlin' Circuit Soul.  Kind of underrated, but had the hits and longevity to make a good case for induction.  7

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Non-Performers & The Rock Hall (Updated 2017 Eligibles)

Producers, songwriters, executives, DJ's (plus a couple of session players) and whoever else had something to do with Rock history.  Below are some names that the Rock Hall has forgot or will get to eventually.  I've decided again to rate their chances from 1-10.  I'm open for suggestions on names that are missing.

Lew Chudd - Imperial Records founder from  1946-1964, which eventually had Aladdin and Minit Records under its wing.  At Imperial Chudd, along with Dave Bartholomew, signed Fats Domino and Ricky Nelson and other R&B and Pop acts.  Bartholomew was inducted into the Rock Hall in 1991.   7

Rick Rubin - Co-founded Def Jam records, which made its impact with many influential hip-hop artists.  Later started American Recordings.  There he produced Johnny Cash's comeback records.  As a producer beyond hip-hop and Cash, Rubin had amazing success with a bunch of artists.   10

Russell Simmons - Along with Rick Rubin, he co-founded Def Jam Records.  Even more so than Rubin, and probably anyone else, Simmons brought hip-hop into homes beyond urban areas through his clothing line, films, TV shows, etc.  10

Robert John "Mutt" Lange - A songwriter and Producer hit machine, Lange was the one many artists turned too when they wanted hit records.  Def Leppard, AC/DC, Foreigner, Cars, Billy Ocean,  Bryan Adams, etc.  In the late 90's he conquered Country music with his then wife Shania Twain.  9

Phil Ramone - Co-founded A&R Recording studios where as an engineer he helped advance recording techniques.  It was as a Producer on records by Paul Simon, Billy Joel, Barbra Streisand and others that he became famous.   8

Bernie Taupin - Wrote almost every Elton John hit in the 70's.  And then continued writing with him off and on from the 80's forward.  Elton was the biggest male solo act of the 70's and Taupin's lyrics had a lot to do with those songs becoming hits and classics.  9

Brian Eno -  His solo records in the 70's could qualify him as a performer, but it's as a Producer/writer on records by Talking Heads, David Bowie and U2 where Eno's reputation has endured.  10

Giorgio Moroder - One of the greatest Producer's during Disco's heyday.  His work with Donna Summer continues to influence to this day.  Had many movie soundtrack hits as well.   8

Arif Mardin - Quite possibly, the most underrated music Producer/Arranger ever.  Started his career in the Jazz field, but when he started Producing and arranging albums by Aretha Franklin, Bee Gees, Chaka Khan, Rascals and many others, he cemented his place in Pop music history.   7

Burt Bacharach & Hal David - Bacharach wrote the melodies, David the lyrics, and together, until 1970, they wrote and Produced some of the greatest Pop records of the era.  Their songs weren't just covered by other Pop singers, but Rock artists as well.  8

Thom Bell & Linda Creed - Producer, Songwriter, Arranger.  Bell was a Philly Soul triple threat.  At Philly International, his arrangements of Gamble & Huff's classics helped define the Philly Sound.  On his own, his production and songwriting credits (with Creed) on the Stylistics & Spinners classic 70's albums have proven timeless.  8

Ashford & Simpson -Could be contenders in the Performing category, but their credentials as songwriters is equally strong.  Legendary hits for Chaka Khan, Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell, Diana Ross, Ray Charles. Many oft-covered classics.   8

Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis - One of the most successful R&B songwriters/Producers ever, it was there work with Janet Jackson that made them famous.  Yet, before working with her in 1986, they were already writing hits for other artists.  8

Norman Whitfield & Barrett Strong- As Producer on many of the Temptations late 60's/early 70's hits, Whitfield and co-writer Strong pushed the Motown sound beyond its Pop roots and more towards the sound of the era.  Post-Motown, Whitfield scored Disco/Old School hits with Rose Royce.  7

Willie Mitchell - Took over Hi Records in 1970, and soon his Production and songwriting work with Al Green began crossing over to the Pop charts.  His productions on those Green sides proved to be influential with many other Soul records from that era.   9

Lee "Scratch" Perry - Maybe he didn't invent dub, but he took it farther than any other Reggae producer.  A prolific recording artist, it's his production work on tons of Reggae records that made sealed his reputation as an eccentric genius.  8

Sylvia Robinson - In the 50's she was part of the duo Mickey & Sylvia.  Had a solo hit in 1973.  But it was as co-founder of Sugar Hill Records that her legacy remains.  That label helped popularize Rap music on to the national charts.   7

Gloria Stavers - As editor-in-chief of 16 magazine, she was one of the first women rock journalists. Also photographed many of the musicians that appeared in the magazine.  8

Rick Hall - A songwriter, Producer but most famous as the owner of FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama.  It was there that Hall helped define the Muscle Shoals sound and where artists from Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, Percy Sledge recorded some of their biggest hits.  In the early 70's he had Pop hits with the Osmonds and Tom Jones.   8

Phil Walden - Co-founded the Southern music label Capricorn Records.  Started his career as manager for many Soul acts.   7

Bob Johnston - An in-house Producer at Columbia Records.  Produced 5 Bob Dylan LP's from 65-70. Also Produced classics by Simon & Garfunkel, Byrds, Leonard Cohen, Johnny Cash.   9

Neil Bogart -As head of Casablanca Records, he helped push Disco (with his signings of Donna Summer and the Village People) into the mainstream.  Also signed Parliament and KISS.  Before that he was an executive at Buddha Records.   8

Jimmy Iovine - Interscope Records founder, but it's his Production work in the late 70's/80's that made him. Patti Smith, Stevie Nicks, Tom Petty, U2, Dire Straits and Bob Seger are just some of the names he worked with.  And he co-founded Beats by Dre, whose ubiquitous headphones could be seen over many a music fans ears.  8

Bob Pittman - Founded MTV.   8

Don Cornelius - Soul Train founder, who helped put the sound of R&B into every home within a TV set.  10

Wolfman Jack - Along with Alan Freed and Casey Kasem, the Wolfman was one of the most famous DJ's in Rock history.  His syndicated shows were all about energy and his big personality.  8

Casey Kasem - Co-founded American Top 40 countdown show in 1970.  The show brought different genres of the Billboard Top 40 together.  Syndicated throughout the world, Kasem, outside of Wolfman Jack, was the most popular DJ in the 70's.  8

John Peel - One of England's greatest DJ's, who championed many different genres.  9

George Goldner - Founded numerous record labels in the 50's and 60's. As a Producer and Promoter,  those labels and his knack for finding talent resulted in hits for Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers, Chantels, Dixie Cups, Shangri-Las, Little Anthony & The Imperials.    8

Owen Bradley -  Perhaps Country music's greatest Producer.  Behind the boards on those hits by Patsy Cline, Brenda Lee, Conway Twitty among others.  An architect of the "Nashville Sound" which helped Country music cross over to the Pop charts.   7

Ralph Peer - Peer's field recordings in the 1920's of Blues & Country acts opened up those genres to wider audiences, which had a future impact on Rock & Roll.  He discovered Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family.  And later published numerous classics through his publishing company.  8

Tom Wilson - Produced mid-60's Bob Dylan albums.  Early Simon & Garfunkel, Velvet Underground, Mothers of Invention and others.  Before those he Produced Jazz LP's for Sun Ra, Cecil Taylor and others.   7

Joe Meek - He was more than just "Telstar".  Often said to be the British Phil Spector, Meek was constantly pushing the boundaries of early 60's Production techniques.  6

Bob Crewe - Although most famous for co-writing a bunch of Four Seasons hits in the 60's, he also produced hits for Mitch Ryder, the Toys ("Lover's Concerto"). Add to that co-writing "Lady Marmalade", "Silhouettes" and the Tremeloes' "Silence Is Golden", and Crewe remains an unsung figure in Rock history.

Ralph Gleason - There are no Rock critics in the Hall, unless you count Jann Wenner. Although Lester Bangs is the most famous,  Gleason is often considered the first and most important.  His main love was Jazz, and that's where he wrote most of his pieces. He even co-founded the Monterey Jazz Festival.  In 1967, he and Wenner started Rolling Stone and he started writing more about Rock music.   6

James C. Bracken, Vivian Carter & Calvin Carter- James and Vivian founded Vee-Jay records which housed Jerry Butler & the Impressions, Dells, Jimmy Reed, John Lee Hooker, Four Seasons and many more (even distributed, for a time, the first Beatles album).  One of the first successful Black-owned labels.  Calvin was Vee-Jay's A&R man and Producer.  9

Nathan East - One of the most sought after bass players from the mid-70's through the 2000's.  Played on records by Michael Jackson, Quincy Jones, Eric Clapton, Daft Punk, Phil Collins and many more.  9

Carol Kaye - A session musician who has slipped through the Hall cracks.  Bassist/Guitarist who played on many Phil Spector and Beach Boys sessions.  As well as records by the Monkees, Joe Cocker, Ritchie Valens.  A member of the L.A. based "Wrecking Crew".   9

Irwin Steinberg - Mercury Records co-founder who later was CEO of Polygram for 30 years.   8

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Women & The Rock Hall (Updated 2017 Eligibles)

As of the 2016 induction announcement, only 64 women have been inducted into the Rock Hall (or 7.9%, source  Not one woman was voted into the 2016 class.  I originally posted this after the 2015 induction ceremony. But nothing changed with the 2016 class. Which is sad and disgusting.

Below is a list of contenders.  I've included groups with female members.   And a rating on their induction chances. Because of what happened with the 2016 nominees, I've lowered some of my initial ratings.

All these artists are eligible for the 2017 induction ceremony.

Joan Armatrading -  A British singer-songwriter who never made it as big in the U.S. as she did in her home Country.  Her music touched on many genres, but lack of recognition outside of her most devoted audience hurts her chances.  4

Ashford & Simpson - Could go in as songwriters, but they had plenty of success on the R&B charts and one big one on the Pop chart ("Solid").  7

Bangles - The other big Girl Group of the 80's.  Lots of success, but just missing the critical acclaim that could get them on nominated.   4

Joan Baez - The most popular female folk singer, it's surprising that she's never even been nominated.  You would think her association with Bob Dylan would be enough.  Maybe there's a Folk music bias on the NomCom.  9

Pat Benatar - Benatar's stock has risen over the years since she's been eligible.  Her hits have held up since the 80's.  Not being a critical fave could hurt her chances, for now.   7

B-52's - Most likely being thought of as a Dance/Novelty band hasn't helped their cause.  Behind the lyrics lay some of the best beats of the New Wave and post-New Wave era, though.    7

Bjork -   Away from the Sugarcubes, Bjork may the most adventurous female singer of her era.  Too quirky for some voters?  Possible.    8

Kate Bush -  Bush's 80's/90's records  are often cited by many alternative female artists as a huge inspiration.     8

Mariah Carey - Selling tons of records won't get her in.  Not with Whitney, Janet and a whole host of other R&B singers left to induct.  4

Carpenters - Way too Pop for many people.   Still, Karen Carpenter's voice was loved by many more than Pop fans. And she did make Rolling Stone's list of 100 greatest singers.  But Pop artists like this remain a tough sell.   4

Chantels  -  Nominated twice in 2002, 2012, they were one of the earliest and successful female girl groups.  Hurt by not having many hits, and I think many voters know little about them.   7

Chic -  Nile & Co. always had 2 female vocalists in the band.  Not much else to say about their chances.  They've got to get in at some point.  10X nominated.  8

Tracy Chapman -  Hasn't released an album since 2008.  But for a few years in the late 80's/early 90's, she was critically loved and selling records.   6

Patsy Cline  - A member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, Cline has also had an influence on many Pop singers thanks to her crossover hits.   7

Judy Collins - The other popular female Folk singer of the 60's/70's.  But if Baez can't get in, her chances don't seem that great.   4

Melissa Etheridge - A well-liked figure throughout the music biz and especially among fellow artists.  Maybe a career resurgance could help her cause.  5

Eurythmics -  Annie Lennox was a groundbreaking artist who came along at the right time:  the dawn of MTV.  But she was also a fabulous singer who along with Dave Stewart came up with some of the best records of the 80's.   9

Fairport Convention - The great British Folk-Rock band not only had Richard Thompson (who deserves a nod himself), but Sandy Denny, who is often mentioned with the best singers of her era.  Denny left after their 3rd album in 1969, formed another band and did solo records.  6

Fanny - One of the first female rock bands signed to a major label, they released 4 albums on Reprise in the early 70's.  Although they had 2 Top hits, bigger success eluded them.   Still, their early success paved the way for many future women rock bands.   4

5th Dimension - Lots of hits in the late 60's/early 70's, but hit singles artists haven't always fared well with the Hall (e.g. Three Dog Night).  Especially Pop ones.   6

Connie Francis - Another singer who will be deemed too Pop by some, but you can't deny her many hits from the late 50's/early 60's.   7

Go-Go's -  One of the most popular girl groups of the 80's.  Might be too Pop for some NomCom members.    6

Lesley Gore  -  Her death in 2015 put her career achievements back in the limelight.  Her 60's hits were punch pop nuggets.   8

Emmylou Harris -  The Queen of Americana, she sang with Gram Parsons on his two solo albums before releasing a bunch of Country-Rock leaning albums that helped define the genre.  Also a member of the Country Hall.    7

PJ Harvey -  Major critical favorite who has been an Alt-Rock Indie favorite since her first album.  Like Kate Bush, she hasn't had many hits, but she continues to receive accolades for anything she does.   8

Hole - Courtney Love is a decisive figure for many people.  But she's had some great moments on Hole's albums.  Many will write off her mid-90's success as happening only because of Kurt Cobain's death.  And how much would Lord Wenner love to have Courtney Love accepting a Rock Hall honor.    6

Whitney Houston -  A musical icon who will be too big for the NomCom to ignore.  Not to mention how influential she was to future Pop/R&B singers.    9

Janet Jackson -   Right there with Whitney as an icon and hitmaking machine.  Passed up her first time nominated in 2016.  But she'll get in eventuallly.   9

Grace Jones - Remembered more for image than music, she had some good dance moments in the 80's.  Don't think her music will be enough to overcome anything else.  4

Chaka Khan -  Very few singers possessed her powerful voice, which anchored hits with Rufus and her own solo work.   Nominated once w/Rufus in 2012.  And solo in 2016.    8

Carole King -  King is in as a songwriter, but many feel her solo career is worthy of a slot all her own.  But I suspect the NomCom thinks the former is good enough.  Nominated once in 1989.  9

Patti LaBelle -  Here's a name that doesn't get mentioned much, but she has had a remarkable career.  Her Rock credentials lie with the records she made with Sarah Dash and Nona Hendryx as LaBelle in the first half of the 70's.  Her solo years since have been equally impressive.  7

Cyndi Lauper - Speaking of MTV era artists, Lauper was as big as they got on that channel in the 80's.  Her hits have outlasted her colorful image and videos.  And she was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2015.  7

Marvelettes -  Nominated twice in 2013/2015, they were a great girl group.  But they may suffer from Motown fatigue among voters.   7

Alanis Morissette - As big a female star as any from 1995 to the mid-2000's.  Hasn't been in the spotlight for a few years though.  One of those, like Sinead O'Connor, whose reputation could rise over time.   6

Stevie Nicks - She never topped her first solo album Bella Donna, but away from Fleetwood Mac she had enough hits that you can't disregard her chances.  But for now, her Fleetwood Mac induction will be enough for the NomCom.   7

Sinead O'Connor -   Talk about doing things your own way.  She was controversial and daring but had the talent to back it up.  Another name who I think will gain momentum down the road.   7

Dolly Parton - Not Rock and Roll enough for you?  Jack White has covered her, and Lars Ulrich is a fan.  Not much Rock in her catalog, but she's one of music's (not just Country) biggest icons.   5

Peter, Paul & Mary -  They were as popular if not more than Joan Baez in the 60's, and had more hits. Only one problem: they were seemed to be anti-Rock.  ("I Dig Rock and Roll Music" was not a tribute).  If the NomCom can get over that, then they have a chance.  6

Esther Phillips - Twice she's been nominated, but the last way back in 1987.  Another one of those who sang many genres, but never became as big a star as she should have.  4

Pixies - A group whose critical reputation has grown since their peak in the early 90's.  An influence on Nirvana and groups like the Strokes.  Bassist Kim Deal was the only female member, but she was an important one.  Sang mostly backup, but did sing a lead vocal or two.  She later went on to co-found the Breeders.   5

Pointer Sisters - Long-running hitmakers who peaked in the mid-80's.  Early hits were quite diverse.  They were the first African-American vocal group to perform on the Grand Ole Opry.  From the late 70's to the mid-80's they piled up a bunch of Top 40 hits. Again, might be too Pop for the NomCom.  4

Suzi Quatro - Before Joan Jett and the Runaways came this Detroit born rocker.  She had more hits in England than in the U.S.  Mostly remembered for her Happy Days acting gig, she should garner more respect. Oddly enough, in the States,  it was as Leather Tuscadero that many girls saw her as an influence.   3

Diana Ross - If Sting's solo careeer can get a nomination, then why not Ross?  Besides getting an Oscar nomination for playing Billie Holiday, she had 27 Top 40 solo hits, with 6 going to number one.  Doubt she'll ever get a solo nod, though.   5

Runaways - Joan Jett's 2015 induction may have either put an end to their chances of getting in or delayed it by several years.  6

Sade -  Hugely popular with a devoted audience, she pretty much became the voice of Smooth Jazz/Urban R&B formats.  Two genres that the NomCom has never addressed.   7

Salt N Pepa - The biggest female Hip Hop artists of all time.  That should count for something, considering their success paved the way for many female rappers.   5

Shangri-Las  - One of the 60's best girl groups, with some truly classic singles.  Matter of time before they got nominated.  Unless some sort of girl group fatigue (see Marvelettes, Chantels) has struck the NomCom.   7

Carly Simon  -  She never gets mentioned with Carole King or Joni Mitchell as an important female singer-songwriter of the 70's.  I think the faint critical acclaim has hurt her chances, but has some projects coming out in 2016 which could raise her profile.   7

Nina Simone - Talk about eclectic.  Simone dabbled in many genres in her lifetime.  She's the subject of a recent Netflix documentary and an upcoming biopic.  Her reputation continues to grow since her death in 2003.    6

Siouxsie and the Banshees - Led by Siouxsie Sioux, they were one of the first and  most successful punk-goth bands of the late 70's/80's.  Sioux was a captivating and colorful lead vocalist.  4

Sonic Youth  -  Kim Gordon as much a part of the success of this group as her ex-Thurston Moore.  A huge critical favorite.  But if the NomCom wants hits they should look elsewhere.  Like the Replacements, they never had any Top 40 songs.  But they will get nominated eventually.   8
Sonny & Cher -  Cher could get in on her own.  But her 60's hits with Sonny were pretty great, too.   Things going against her:  Campy 70's TV shows which caused her to garner minimal critical respect.    7

Tina Turner - Although inducted with Ike, Tina's solo career was just as iconic.  One of Pop music's greatest comeback stories, she became a legend as the 80's ended.   Again, if Sting and Lou Reed can get nominated for their solo work, Tina Turner (and Carole King) should as well.   9

Dionne Warwick  - Had she stopped having hits after 1971, when her collaborations with Bacharach/David dried up, she might be in already.  But the later Adult Contemporary hits have hurt her.   7

Mary Wells - An early 60's Motown hitmaker, she left the label in 1965 at her peak.  Her career never recovered.  Nominated way back in 1986, 1987.    7

Lucinda Williams - Right behind Emmylou on the Americana scale, she's also a huge critical favorite that has been previously considered by the NomCom.   6

Roberta Flack - Very popular throughout the 70's, but somewhat underrated in terms of impact.  Maybe a little to Adult Contemporary for the NomCom which has frowned on these types of names for the ballot  (e.g. Dionne Warwick).   4

Early Influence Candidates

Big Mama Thornton - One of the great Blues shouters who also had an influence just as Rock and Roll was at its infancy.  "Hound Dog" was her ticket, and many female Rock & Blues singers were influenced by her.     

Sister Rosetta Tharpe - Probably more Gospel than Blues, but she did cut some records in the latter category.  Regardless, she's one of the best vocalists and guitarists from the early years of Blues and Gospel.

Memphis Minnie - One of the early Blues guitarists, and a pioneer in that category among many of the women who followed her.  Somewhat forgotten today, but she was a popular presence throughout her life.  Early Influence category.

Below is a link to other genres that the Hall could improve on:
5 More Genres

Future Rock Legends

Email me for missing names:

Monday, February 08, 2016

Playlist for 2/8

Lee Michaels - Best of
Free- Highway
Jackson C. Frank  - s/t
Rudresh Mahanthappa - Bird Calls
Jorge Ben - Ben
4th Coming - Strange Things
Bikini Kill - Singles
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